We wrote this guide to tell you about the six important things that you will need to know when purchasing a headstone. We realize that for most of you, making a permanent purchase like this is very intimidating. After reviewing questions that we hear daily, and facts from monument dealers, we have broken down the information into 6 topics, to make it less confusing. Whether you purchase in a traditional store, or online, our information is to guide you in the process. Monument dealers will work very hard to make sure you are happy with your headstone.
VISIT CEMETERIES FOR IDEAS
Any good monument dealer, whether online or offline, is going to speak to you about the following five things, when discussing a headstone: size, color, shape, text and artwork. He or she will help guide you through the process. The best way to get ideas, is to visit local cemeteries. Look at the basic colors, as well as traditional and unique shapes. Take pictures of styles that you like, fonts, interesting etchings, and carvings so that you can show the dealer what you like. It is also important to know what you do not like. Remember, showing a picture, or sending one online will help the monument dealer understand your vision.
DO YOUR RESEARCH ONLINE
We would recommend doing the following:
1. Read about how to buy a headstone, just like you are doing now. Read articles, blogs, anything you can to make you feel comfortable with the process. There is a lot of good, free information out there for you. That is why we wrote this guide, to make it a little easier for you.
2. Ask friends and family who may have gone through this process before. Chances are that you know someone who has, and they may have some thoughts on the process.
3. Google “monument dealers”to find a local business that sells monuments. You will want to ask yourself the following questions as you learn about each store.
MEET WITH 2 to 3 MONUMENT SHOPS
Now it is time to visit 23 monument shops that you found online, or in your area. It is best to call ahead and make an appointment, as you need uninterrupted time to discuss many things.
Make sure you have the following information with you:
• The Name, City and State of the cemetery where the headstone will be delivered to.
• Information that will be inscribed on the stone. The correct spelling of the family name of the deceased, as well as the correct date of birth and date of death. If you are buying "preneed” it is still very important to make sure that the names and date of birth are correct.
• Any/all photos you have of headstones, carvings, anything that you will want to incorporate into your memorial.
Because of their years of experience, most monument shop owners are very good at speaking with customers and making them feel comfortable during a very difficult time of their lives. Most of them have dealt with thousands of people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. They understand the grieving process. We have found them to be very kind and compassionate people who truly want to help you make a true “memorial” to your family member. Occasionally, there may be a dealer who is just in the industry simply to “make a living”, but more often than not, the dealer is a true professional that takes pride in their craft.
TALK THROUGH THE BASICS
Here are the types of questions you will want to be prepared to answer when speaking to a monument dealer:
Who is this headstone for: What was he/she like?
The more information he/she knows about your loved one who passed away, the better he/she can paint a picture in his/her head head as to what your loved one would have wanted in a headstone.
Size of stone: What cemetery is this headstone going in? This is important for the monument dealer to know so that he/she can make sure that the sizing requirements are correct.
Color of stone: What color do you like? Headstones come in many colors, from light and dark grays and blacks to all colors of the rainbow: red, blue, green, pink, and more.
Shape of stone: Do you like more traditional shapes, or more unique shapes? Headstones come in basic square and rectangular shapes, and also come in the shape of hearts, shamrocks, tear drops, and much more.
Text and artwork: Are there any types of text and artwork you prefer? Do you want a carving or something more simple? Do you prefer block fonts or more scripted fonts? These are the types of things you’ll want to talk through.
Budget: What is your budget? This will help the monument shop owner guide you in your decision making. Remember that headstones can range in price from a few hundred dollars up to many thousands of dollars. Keep your budget in mind.
It’s very important to decide on a budget BEFORE walking in to see a monument dealer or buying online. Speak to a trusted family member if you do not know what type of budget you should be setting based on your own level of income, savings, etc.
The average headstone in New England costs $3,500.
Upright headstones can range from the low-end of $1,500 to $8,000+. If you’re looking to spend less, think about a flush or beveled marker, which typically cost $600 - $1,500. If you are looking for a bronze marker, be willing to spend $1,200 - $1,800. And if you’re looking for a mausoleum, be prepared for a $20,000+ price tag.
PURCHASE, PAYMENT, & INSTALLATION
At this point, you have decided on the size, color, shape, text and artwork on your headstone. You may have even added a sculpture and engraving. Now, it is time to pay for your headstone. BUT, BEFORE YOU DO, just remember: 1/3, 1/3, 1/3.
You should NEVER pay 100% up front for a headstone. Any monument dealer who is reputable should follow the following payment plan:
Understand that many times, there will be additional costs associated with the purchasing of a headstone. Here they are listed below so that you understand:
You just read “6 Things to Know Before Buying a Headstone” by HeadstoneHub. We hope that this guide has helped you.
We’d like to conclude this guide with our empathy and condolences to you and your family. As a team of monument makers who have been in the monument and headstone business for over 35 years, we have worked with thousands of families dealing with the loss of their loved ones. We know that these individuals have been survived by their children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, cousins and friends. And we know that while time heals all, certainly the loss of a loved one never truly goes away. We are here to help answer any of your questions.
HeadstoneHub has been designing and building granite headstones, monuments, benches, and urns for over 35 years. We are family owned and operated and stand by the quality, beauty, and craftsmanship of our memorials. HeadstoneHub is a Massachusetts based company that proudly serves the greater New England area.
Areas We Serve in New England:
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire & Vermont.
Or visit our showroom in Leominster, MA