What do you charge for your headstones? How much does a headstone cost? While some clients do not want to talk about money when commissioning a headstone, for others cost is one of the first questions they ask. In this article, I explain how much you might pay for a headstone in the UK, and what factors affect the cost of a headstone.
People often ask how much a headstone will cost. What is the cost per letter? Does the cost of a headstone include fixing/installation? Do we have a price list for headstones?
Every headstone we make is a one-off, therefore we do not have a price list.
There are many variables that determine the cost of a headstone. Our headstones will inevitably be more expensive than off-the-shelf headstones, and the cost of our headstones reflects the quality of our work. You know you will be in safe hands and that you will end up with a beautiful headstone.
Factors affecting headstone cost:
1. Length and complexity of inscription
Some headstones only have the name and dates, while others have long poems on the back.
2. Amount of carving work involved- for example, is there an intricate carving on the headstone?
Some carvings are relatively simple and straightforward while others take many hours and are extraordinarily complex.
3. Type of material used.
4. Size. The taller the headstone, the more needs to go underground, and the more manpower required to handle the stone.
7. Distance- our prices almost always include installation. We install headstones all over the UK, including Scotland, but the distance from Oxfordshire will have an impact on the headstone price. We also charge more for the installation of headstones that require a base; whenever possible we install our headstones using the monolith method without the need for a base.
If the work is going overseas, additional costs would be packing, insurance, transit, and import duty, and the mason’s fees at the actual location to receive and erect the stone.
Do you charge per letter when pricing for a headstone?
As there are so many variables involved in pricing for a headstone, we do not quote per letter. If we started with a blank standard headstone and plugged a design into a machine that would work, but for our designs, the number of letters is not directly proportional to the price.
When is the payment for a headstone due?
We ask for an initial deposit of 20% to cover the stone at the point of go-ahead. The balance is then due on completion, which is on average 9 -12 months later. We do however make every effort to help anyone who is struggling to pay for our headstones. In the past, we have drawn up informal agreements to allow clients to pay in monthly installments for example.
Why do your headstones cost more than monumental masons’ headstones?
We are among the most experienced makers of fine headstones in the UK.
The cost of our headstones will be more than that of monumental masons, who typically make work ‘off the shelf’ using cheaper imported granite. The cost reflects the time taken to make a headstone. Each headstone takes well over a week to make, plus consultation time, design, and drawing, and some can take months.
-The initial consultation is not rushed. This may take place remotely or ideally, at the workshop. There may be an initial meeting and then a second or even third meeting before the design is decided. We like to include the client throughout the process so they can feel involved and are not subjected to any surprises.
-The design is drafted and re-drafted until you are happy- there is no limit to the number of designs I make.
-The headstone is individually made to order- we do not keep a stock of ready-made headstones. Each headstone is ordered to fit the inscription and not the other way around.
- The top of the headstone will be shaped and masoned by hand. There might also be a border of some kind or sunken face. This involves making templates. Any shape is possible.
-The inscription is drawn out onto the headstone by hand without any stencil or transfer. This takes time as the inscription may need to be rubbed out and redrawn several times to get it perfect. Sometimes this stage takes longer than the cutting.
-All the lettering and carvings are done by hand, with no machinery or shortcuts.
And finally… experience and trust
The workshop consists of three highly trained letter carvers who have all painstakingly learned the skill over numerous years, much of which has been passed down through the generations of the great makers, Eric Gill, and David Kindersley. As a consequence, our work is very much in demand and this will naturally reflect in the prices. We tend to have a waiting list of around 12 months from the point of order.
We put our clients first, and excellent service and care are our guiding principles. We stick to our deadlines and you can place your trust in our experience.
In 2016 Stoneletters won a Good Funeral Guide Award for the Best Maker of Hand Carved Headstones in an indigenous material.
In 2019 Stoneletters won the West Oxfordshire Business Award for Best Micro-Business.
For an idea of cost please get in touch with Fergus.
Fergus created Stoneletters Studio in 2003, after training at the Kindersley Workshop. He is a member of the prestigious Master Carver's Association.