Key Considerations

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May you remember that though the roads we take can sometimes be difficult, those are often the ones that lead to the most beautiful view.

When purchasing a columbarium, there are a number of important factors that should be carefully considered prior to making a final decision. The following points may serve as a guideline to help you better plan for your project and stay on budget

  • Avoid purchasing too many niches at once. Empty niches represent your organization’s cash tied up in inventory. If at all possible, try to size your unit to be completely filled within 3 to 4 years. Use Sunset’s Columbarium Calculator as a useful tool to help you with this decision.
  • The columbarium can add significant artistic value to your property and your community. The objective is to wherever possible create a beautiful park and columbaria that encourages people to pay money for their loved ones to be there and to not simply scatter their ashes. Your money is well spent investing in style.
  • The two most expensive components of the columbarium are typically the roof and base. Thus the more niches you can fit between these two components, the lower your per niche cost will be. This implies that:

    Two-sided niches are more cost efficient than a single-sided unit.
    Higher columbaria with more rows of niches have a lower per niche cost than a smaller version with less rows.
    Cylindrical-shaped columbaria without decorative domes and/or moldings are generally lower-cost per niche than rectangular units.

  • The hardest to sell niches are the bottom rows because of both a perceived sense of lower status and the inscription is not at eye level. An investment in Sunset’s Ascension niches for the bottom row is an excellent way to turn the least popular product to sell into the fastest selling niches.
  • Niche sales are proven to be higher in beautifully landscaped areas with benches near the columbaria. Often these are the last items people think of, but they are an essential aspect to your profitability.
  • Make sure you adequately cover the cost of a foundation for the columbarium. Manufacturers do not typically include the foundation in their columbarium quote because the ground conditions vary considerably from region to region. The foundation can be a significant part of your overall columbarium investment and you should account for these costs up front.
  • Urn manufacturers are making larger urns as part of their portfolio for their own reasons and consequently older style columbaria niches that were dimensioned 9” x 9” x 9” are no longer adequate to suit most family’s needs. Cemeterians are finding it even harder to properly fit 2 urns into a standard 12” x 12” x 12” niche. Sunset can generally custom size your niche to meet your specific needs, but we are finding that for most cemeteries, a 12” x 12” x 16” design is perfectly adequate.