"I salute the monument builder
for his is the only work that will last."Oliver Wendell Holmes

FAQs on purchasing a monument

I’m intrested in cremation.  How does this affect my memorialization?

You aren’t the only one.  Cremation is the fastest growing trend in the death care industry and is projected to surpass traditional burial in the coming years.  While it definitely makes your local funeral home nervous about their role in the future, we memorialists see it as an opportunity.  We have products designed for those that will be cremated but also want the tradition of a cemetery plot, but we also realize cremation offers the ability to bypass “the designated area of burial” concept all together.  We offer solutions for your home, your business, your places of worship.  Anywhere that you feel a lasting memorial would be appropriate.  It’s a time of great creativity in our industry, and new products are being introduced every day.

What are the advantages of buying my memorial in advance?

The obvious one is that you now make the decision of your lasting tribute.  You’re in charge of the design, material and shape.  What you tell future generations about yourself, your family and your way of life is completely up to YOU.  But perhaps just as importantly, your survivors are not burdened with these decisions at the most emotional of times.  The passing of a loved one is one of the most traumatic events that we will experience.  Decisions are rushed.  Conflicts occur.  It’s the nature of assuming responsibility in times of grief.  But through pre-need memorialization, your family is free to operate with clear minds, review all options and hash out differing opinions.  Ultimately it’s the easiest path to come to the best decision for all involved.

My cemetery says that work from outside vendors is not allowed.  Can they do this?

That is a resounding “NO”.  Courts have ruled time and again cemeteries that bar work from competing retailers are in violation of anti-trust laws.  A private cemetery does have the right to establish “reasonable rules, regulations and specifications” for monuments in their cemetery, but they must abide by these guidelines themselves, and cannot be used as a barrier to entry against competing monument companies.  They also have the right to charge an installation inspection fee, but this fee must be applied to their sales as well and must be based on actual labor costs, generally no more than $75.  If you feel your cemetery is in violation of these laws, please see this website, http://www.monumentbuilders.org/consumers_advocacy.php, or contact us for more information.

Why purchase from a MBOC member?

The Monument Builders of the Carolinas is an affiliation of full service retail firms versed in the art of monumental ornamentation serving North Carolina, South Carolina and southern Virginia.  Each firm is family owned and operated, many over several generations.  We hold ourselves and our products to the highest standards and require benchmarks for membership.  Those retailers that do not meet these expectations are excluded.  As a result of our inter-associational networking and the educational opportunities presented at our annual workshops and conventions, we push ourselves to the highest levels of artistry and technological innovation.  Rest assured that when you’re buying from a MBOC member, you’re dealing with the best the industry has to offer, and we’re here to serve.

What should I know when shopping for a monument?

First of all, familiarize yourself with your cemetery’s rules and regulations.  Each cemetery is different, and certain types of monuments and installations are allowed in some and not others.  Second, learn the terms used in memorization and ask lots of questions so you can make sure that you are comparing apples to apples.  Your local monument retailer is well aware that this a “once in a lifetime” purchase and is more than happy to explain the basics of the industry.  The more you know, the better prepared you are to make the best purchase for you.  Finally, find a dealer that you feel comfortable with, is reputable in your community and is prepared to stand behind his product and service it after the sale.  For additional information, as well as a link to a glossary of monumental types, please refer to this link:  http://www.monumentbuilders.org/consumers_how_to_buy_a_memorial.php

I would like something truly special.  Am I restricted to what I see on display?

Absolutely not!  All the best memorialists are artists at heart and live for the day when a customer comes in that wants something unique.  Don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild, and we’ll take it from there.  Besides, your loved one was one of a kind.  We want their eternal tribute to be so as well.

What about the internet?  Can’t I get a monument online?

We all love the internet and use it everyday, Online shopping is a modern convenience and becomes a bigger part of all of our lives with each passing day.  But some products just don’t lend themselves to online retail, and monuments are chief among them.  While the lack of personalization and artistry are obvious, the biggest issues are practical ones.  The sheer size of most memorials requires special equipment and expertise to handle. Who is willing to accept receipt, and thus responsibility for this item.  What about cemetery requirements?  Does the online retailer take these into account?  Who services the monument and adds necessary lettering in the future?  Where do you go to if there is a problem?  The ugly truth is that online retailers have one goal.  Get that monument on a pallet and out the door.  Whatever happens to it after that is not their problem. 

But the biggest reason?  There are no better prices to be found than what your local memorialist can offer.  We all have the same overlapping supply chains so the costs of the stone itself varies little.  When you throw in the additional cost of shipping and handling plus another fee to someone on the other end to receive it and then install it, a monument purchased online can end up costing twice as much one bought locally.

So online doesn’t make sense?  What about funeral homes?

Many of members have productive relationships with different funeral homes in our areas, and there’s a chance that a monument purchased from your local funeral home is a MBOC product.  Before you buy, be sure you know who is producing the memorial and their quality of work. But it does beg the question.  Why include an extra middle man when you don’t have to?  Funeral homes serve a completely different role in the death care industry.  Memorialization is a side project for them and not their main profession.