The Actual Cost of a New Desk

Updated: May 24, 2019

You've decided. It's done–you're done. You are due for a replacement to the old, not-so-reliable-anymore scrap of wood panels you used to call a desk.

Old wooden desk and typewriter
A desk similar to that which I used to work. Estimated manufacture date–Right after trees were made.

I've been there and know the deal–parts of particle board are randomly found on the floor where screws used to hold fast. There's a remarkable 'wobble' whenever you move your hands across the surface.


In fact, you wouldn't mind if an extremely isolated tornado came (while no one was there, of course) and swept up the crate that your co-workers often wept over in your honor.


The decision is simple, and hopefully you have your sinking fund in place so your budget doesn't even break a sweat.

But the decision obviously invokes the next–what will I do about a new desk?


Ahhh...Here's where big thinking needs to come in to play to get the most bang for your buck.


Costs Incurred to the Furniture Dealer

Big rig mac truck 18 wheeler
Who else has a hankering to watch Over The Top right this very moment?

As you begin to check your local furniture showroom know that the final cost of that desk is determined by a couple things. The furniture dealer you purchase it from will influence the cost a little (obviously they have to make something from the sale), but there are many other moving parts that affect the cost before it gets to your office.


The main factors which influence the cost to the dealer:


• Where the furniture is manufactured (domestic versus foreign)

• Shipping charges to the dealer

• Quantities of that desk ordered per shipment (usually a cost advantage to dealers ordering several versus one of something)

• Whether the desk comes pre-assembled or flat-boxed


All of those charges are ones incurred by the dealer themselves (not you), so that's nothing much to consider when searching for the best priced desk–simply some helpful knowledge about the costs involved.


Costs Incurred to the Consumer

Before you think, "Well this one's easy–whatever the dealer wants to charge as their profit."–it's not completely accurate. While that's not necessarily wrong–even more factors come into play.


Here are the major costs incurred to you–the consumer:


Sales Tax


Assembly; national office supply stores will likely charge $80 to $200 depending on the cost of the desk. More complex desks or ones which are in many, many pieces can take up to 6 hours to assemble if you're not used to the process. Remember to factor the time into the cost.


Delivery; depending on the furniture dealer, you may very well be passed a delivery charge. Alternatively, you could haul it yourself, but to some this is even more costly in effort (desks a