Collins Funeral Home Norwalk CT

9 Questions you should ask before choosing a funeral home (besides “how much?”)


There are many considerations in planning a funeral. At the time of a loved one's death it can be very difficult to make clear decisions. Here are some thought provoking questions to ask before committing to a funeral home.

1. How many people can your chapel hold? This can be a tricky question. At Collins we have two chapels that can accommodate 110 comfortably seated persons. While arranging seating, one should be mindful of the type of service to be held. For example if services are to be held in the funeral home it might be helpful to have one large room with unobstructed views or seating and not wrap-around ancillary rooms. Or it may be more convenient to have multiple adjoining rooms allowing people to gather as they would in someone’s home and not as in a hall. At Collins Funeral Home we have two large chapels and a lounge which we believe can accommodate almost any requirements a family might have. To judge if our newly renovated home has the best accommodations for your needs, we recommend that you take a look at our photos or come see our location yourself.

2. Are you handicap accessible? More than likely, if you are having a large gathering, there will be handicap people there.  The number and odds greatly increase in an older crowd. It is important to know that the funeral home not only has handicap bathrooms, but exterior access ramps. We offer both and all our public areas are on the ground floor.

3. How is the parking? Parking can be a concern for any size funeral. Here at Collins we can accommodate large crowds and our parking location makes it easy and convenient for funeral processions to depart. We have 53 on-lot parking spaces. We also have permission to use the 45 spaces in the adjacent lot during evenings as well as the 100+ spaces at the inn directly across the street.  We have adjacent on-street parking too. Additionally, we station staff outside to direct traffic and, at large funerals can request the services of traffic officers and arrange valet services.

4. Where are you located? The location of the funeral home can be vital to having things go smoothly.  Remember, you are inviting potentially hundreds of people to a location that maybe only some be familiar with.  The funeral home should be prominent and easily accessible from main roads and highways.  The funeral home should also be reasonably close to both your place of worship and cemetery if you are planning to have services at them.  Collins Funeral Home is located on a hilltop corner of the large intersection on East Avenue in Norwalk.  Our street connects directly to I-95 North and I-95 South, and is easily accessible from Rt-1, Rt-7, Rt-53 and Rt-57.  We are also next to many churches and synagogues and just a few miles from many cemeteries.

5. Can you create multimedia and printed materials? Live video, music and digital slideshows are not for everyone, but they are becoming a part of more and more services. If you would like these elements at your service, ask if the funeral home can provide them. At Collins we have displays for all sorts of digital presentations and can create the presentation or slide-show in house for you. We do most of our own printing also and will customize prayer cards and guest books for you. We also have a microphone and sound system throughout our facility as well as many easels and side tables for traditional displays.

6. Are you family owned? This may sound like a trivial question to some, but it is relevant: Funeral homes are somewhat unique as businesses in that very many of them are passed down from generation to generation.  They also tend to provide repeat service to the same families 80% of the time. What this means to you is that a family owned funeral home (that has been under the same management) for many years is likely to be serving the community well or they would not still be in business. Generational trust is rare in the business world. Unfortunately, many small funeral homes have been resold to large outside corporations. Most of these funeral homes do retain the original family name. It is fair to ask the director how long his or her family has owned and operated the business. The directors at Collins Funeral Home have loyalty not just to a profession but to 113 years of family heritage and to a neighborhood that they have been born and raised in for four generations.

7. Are the facilities well decorated and cheerful? A funeral is an important life event. The decor of the funeral home should be beautiful and tasteful, a reflection of the services being held. Collins Funeral Home has been fully remodeled in the past year. We contracted a professional designer to direct the work rendering our funeral home both functional and beautiful. We are very happy with the results, and think you will be too.

8. Why should I choose you? In fairness, most of us have a hard time asking such a blunt question, but if you don’t say it, at least think it, and listen for your answer during the conversation. I would answer something like: “We are a 4th generation, family owned and operated funeral home that has been serving the area for 113 years continuously.  We are competitively priced and have arguably the best facilities and location.”

9. Do I trust you to do the job well? This is the most important question you must consider. It is also the one you must answer for yourself.  You must decide if the funeral director is capable and attentive. I hope that our 113 year history of continued operation has given us the experience to serve our neighbors. But, to set your mind at ease, please give us a call and come down to meet us in person.
There are many questions individuals may have about funeral homes.  Many can’t be answered online, in texts, pictures, or videos.  We invite you to call us and meet our family and staff in person (please call so that we may give families privacy). You do not need to be considering a funeral to do so. Experience shows that it is helpful to know a director or funeral home before the time of death this is often why people repeatedly come back to one funeral home.