Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Confused? Where is the Rundle Monument Co.?
- Where to purchase – Funeral Home or Monument Company?
- What the cemetery didn’t tell you.
- Can I install a memorial stone myself?
- How can I save money on a memorial stone?
- What about future lettering – a death date?
- What about guarantees and/or warranties?
- What if I want to match other stones?
Confused? Where is the Rundle Monument Co.?
The business calling itself “Rundle Monument Co.” today is not the same company that was known as the Rundle Monument Co. of twenty years ago. Today, Mastercarved Memorials is the company that owns the previously known Rundle Monument Co. (See History). It owns all the records and equipment of the old Rundle Monument Co. as well as those of Cody Memorials and the Schaubel Monument Co. Mastercarved Memorials kept the best of these other companies to form what it is today. The business that calls itself the present Rundle Monument Co. started a few years ago and the only thing the present company has in common with the old company is the name of the owner: Rundle. The present Rundle Monument Co. appears to be a storefront business that does not employ any full time skilled stone craftsmen.
Where to purchase – Funeral Home or Monument Company?
Other than preparing a person for burial, providing facilities and or transportation, a funeral home arranges all other things to be done by others. That is their job. They are good at it and we need them. A few work through local monument companies to offer memorial stones and related services. However, the trend is for the funeral home to simply purchase the memorial stone from a large corporate conglomerate that produces memorial stones on an assembly line. Make no mistake, these funeral homes and manufacturing firms have two main purposes. One is to make money for their stockholders and the other is to provide an easy way for the funeral home to sell inexpensive memorial stones. Neither reason is a benefit for the person who cares about the memorial stone they are providing for a loved one and for future generations to read.
On the other hand, the monument company specializes in memorial work. When you deal with a local area monument company or a funeral home that is working with the area monument company, you are dealing with someone whose future depends entirely upon your satisfaction – the word of month effect. The monument company is the one that is completely familiar with memorial stones and related services. They know more about what should and should not be done than anyone else. They are the ones that do the work as well as the ones that sell it. Nothing could be better for the consumer than talking with someone who has actually done the work and has that hands-on knowledge gained from the personal experience of working with stone.
What the cemetery didn’t tell you.
Generally, people get very little information from the cemetery management, when they purchase the grave space(s), concerning the placement of memorial stones on the grave space(s). After a burial, sometimes the family will discover that they will not be allowed to memorialize as they had planned because of the cemetery regulations. Often they are required to pay an additional fee before they can erect ANY memorial stone at the gravesite. We suggest that you get a written copy of the cemetery regulations and/or consult with the area monument builder before you purchase. DO NOT rely on what you think can be done, what someone else has already done or on what others might tell you. The regulations for memorial stones are changing constantly and ONLY the cemetery personal or the area monument builder will have the latest information. They are the people that deal with the placement of stones on a daily basis.
Can I install a memorial stone myself?
The simple answer is “yes” in most cases. However, there are a few cemeteries that require this work to be done by a recognized, insured monument builder and it is always a good idea to have the experts do the work. But, when allowed, if you get a few instructions from a monument builder and if you have the needed equipment, you can do it yourself. Most monument builders will be willing to help you. The only thing you need to remember is that if the monument builder does it, they generally guaranteed it.
How can I save money on a memorial stone?
This is a little like saying “How can I save money on a surgical procedure?” Are you really sure you want to? We understand that no one wants to spend more than is needed and everybody wants “a deal”. Regardless of your budget, the best qualified persons to meet your budget with a quality memorial stone are Certified Memorialists at your area monument builder, either directly or thru the funeral home who works with them. Find out who actually makes the memorial stone you are about to purchase. Stones are a little like jewelry. You get what you pay for and even though things may look the same that does not mean they are. Working with a Certified Memorialist is your best bet for getting the most for the least.
What about future lettering – a death date?
Simply adding a death date to a stone can be done by almost anyone who has a basic amount of equipment and knowledge. Many funeral homes offer death date engraving as part of the funeral services. To do it properly requires some expertise and someone who cares about what they are doing. In an ideal world, the added engraving should be a near perfect match to the existing lettering in style, size and color. This can only be done by the stone’s original engraver or someone who has actually done area engravings for years and years. This is the long established area monument builder. Funeral homes often hire some traveling stone engraver, whose daily pay depends entirely on the number of engraving he (or she) can get done in a day, or a vault company. This is quick and easy for the funeral home. If the funeral home is taking care of this, insist that they use an area monument builder and get the name of the firm they are going to use. Check it out; after all you are paying for it. Stone erasers don’t exist so if it’s not right it is always going to be that way. Often it will be less expensive when working with an area monument builder.
What about guarantees and/or warranties?
A guarantee or warranty is only as good as the firm issuing it. If you must go to court to enforce the guarantee, it will end up costing you far more than if you just hired someone to fix the problem. The bad guys know that and they depend on that. So the bottom line is that you really need to know the firm that is actually producing your stone. If they are local they will be worried about their local reputation. If they are not local than you really need to have confidence in who sold it to you and hope that they will make the situation right with you.
What if I want to match other stones?
This is a common occurrence. When you go “shopping” for the memorial stone, you need to have a photo of the stone(s) you want to match. It is also very helpful if you can have a rubbing (paper impression) of the stone as well as the measurements. (Your local monument builder can help you with this.) The thing you need to decide is whether you really want to match or just be similar. There is a BIG difference between matching and similar and that can have quite an impact on the price. Memorial stones that were created in the last 40 to 50 years were probably more standardized that the stones done prior. Matching some of old stones that were one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces of art could be quite expensive today but you might be able to do something similar very reasonably.