10 Questions before buying a Headstone

Q: How much should your headstone cost?

The price of a headstone as you may guess is relative to whom you buy it from. There are many factors that can affect its price. Ultimately education will determine how much you will pay for your headstone. That means that the more you know the less likely you are to be swindled.

Most headstones will range between $388.00 to $7,000.00 depending upon the size, shape and color you chose. Most people, on average, spend between $400.00 and $1700.00 on a stone for 1 person. For 2 people the average is between $850.00 and $3200.00. Generally, there are 2 things that will determine the price of a stone; material and time.

1st material: The origin of the stone will affect the price as stone can come from as close as California and South Dakota or as far away as China and India. The more exotic stones will have to be shipped and taxed which will add to the overall cost. Competition will also contribute to the cost of the headstone. There are some granites that are “franchise” granites; which is a term used to describe stone that is exclusive to one quarry and if you want it you have to buy it from them alone. There are other granites that are available from many different quarries and they are competing for business which will drive the price down. Then you have international economics where countries will flood the market place with their product thus lowering the cost (i.e. China). The perceived value of a stone by the quarrier will also lend to its price. This means that if a company believes that its product, reputation or longevity adds to the value of their stone, the price will be higher.

Besides the stone itself the cost of the materials to engrave and install the headstone are subject to unpredictable changes. For instance most of the materials used are consumables and petroleum based. Rubber for templates, glue, adhesive removers, paint, electricity, and fuel to deliver the completed memorial.

2nd time: We need to remember that the stone being used wasn’t created in a lab, foundry or factory. It was created naturally over 1000’s of years and the process of turning that stone into a headstone is not as simple as popping it into the “Memorial microwave” as it were. It is heavy, dense, brittle and many times sharp, requiring great care and more than one person in its handling. It is also not a stick and go application. There are techniques and processes that require skill as well as time to make your memorial beautiful and lasting.

As a general rule drastic sale prices, of 30% and higher, 99% of the time indicate that an inexpensive stone is being marketed to the un or misinformed customer at a vulnerable and sensitive time. Beware of companies that employ high pressure salesmen and use complicated pricing formulas charging for each individual letter, designing, artist and carving fees as well as mileage or delivery charges to drive the price up.

At Bott and Sons we don’t over inflate our prices in order to offer sales. Our stones are “everyday affordable”. Which means that you don’t have to hope that your headstone needs correlate with a sale in order to save money.