Cemetery & Foundation Fees Explained

If you have been researching memorial headstones for graves, or perhaps have spoken to your cemetery about placing a grave marker, you may have come across the term “cemetery fee” or “foundation fee”.

In this quick article, we will dive into what this fee is, how to calculate it, and how it gets paid.

What Is Your “Cemetery Fee”?

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The term “cemetery fee” (sometimes referred to as “foundation fee”) refers to any fee that gets paid to your cemetery for any services rendered by the cemetery during the process of creating & installing a headstone.

This fee should not be confused with any fees you may have paid the cemetery previously to purchase cemetery plots or to hold a service.

The cemetery fee is completely separate from the past services you may have paid to the cemetery.

Your memorial will have to sit on a concrete foundation (think of the foundation homes are built on) to keep it from sinking into the ground. If your cemetery pours the concrete foundation, then your “cemetery fee” will cover the cost of the cemetery pouring your foundation.

However, some cemeteries don’t pour their own foundations (sometimes referred to as “footers”). If this is the case, then your monument company should be able to pour the foundation for your monument. This would then be considered your “foundation fee”, as you might not have any “cemetery fees” to pay.

In some cases, your cemetery might have an “inspection fee” or a “layout fee”, which are fees to inspect your monument for damage upon arrival and to mark off the correct foundation size at the plot, respectively. If this is the case, these fees would also be incorporated into your cemetery fees.




How To Calculate Your Cemetery Fee

If your cemetery will be pouring your foundation, often times they will have a calculated rate based on the size of the base of the monument (or the size of the marker if your memorial is just one single piece). You can ask your cemetery what this rate is, and then use it to calculate your cemetery fee based on the square area of the monument’s base or marker.

For example, if you were to purchase a standard companion upright monument with a base size of 48″ x 12″, then the square area of the base would be calculated as 576 square inches after multiplying the two lengths together. If you find out that your cemetery (or monument company if they will be pouring the foundation) charges 75 cents/square inch, then after multiplying the square inches and the rate together, your cemetery fee (or foundation fee), would come to $432.

Sometimes, cemeteries pour concrete foundations larger than the base of the monument. This gives an aesthetic look of a concrete border around the base of your monument. While this looks aesthetically pleasing to some, another reason for this is to keep mowers and weed eaters off the base of the monument.

If you are wanting to calculate your own cemetery fees, be sure to ask your cemetery if they pour the foundation true to the size of the base, or if they pour a border (such as 2″ in all directions) around the base of the monument.

Below are standard memorial sizes and areas in square inches, but sizes will vary from company to company.

Single Marker: 24″ x 12″ = 288 sq. inches
Companion Marker: 36″ x 12″ = 432 sq. inches
Single Upright: Base = 36″ x 12″ = 432 sq. inches
Companion Upright: Base = 48″ x 12″ = 576 sq. inches

How Your Cemetery Fee Gets Paid

In most cases, your cemetery fee (or foundation fee if your cemetery does not pour the foundation) will be collected by your monument company. It may be tacked on at the end of the invoice, or invoiced separately. In some cases, your monument company might elect for you to

remit your cemetery fees directly to the cemetery, especially if you are working with an online retailer where you add an item to your cart and checkout on the website.

It is important that you know whether your purchase with the monument company includes your cemetery/foundation fee, and if it does not, who it will be paid to, the cemetery or the monument company in a separate invoice.

We hope this information about your cemetery fees helps explains what they are and how to calculate them.

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