Flat Pack Furniture Assembly prices explained

We have all been there. You’ve moved to a new house or rented an apartment and now need somewhere to put your stuff. You’ve finally decided between the Kullen, the Songesand and the Koppang (IKEA chests of drawers). You’ve lugged them home and now you’re faced with putting them together. Some people are good at this; some even enjoy it. Some of us though, are not – a friend of mine once put together a flat-pack wardrobe so that it was completely upside down when finished.

If the thought of following pages of ‘simple’ instructions and trying to determine which camlock screw is the right one, give you an uncontrollable facial tick or you’re on Step 39 in the construction of your Hemnes and there still isn’t a right angle in sight – don’t worry. There are Firms and individuals out there who specialise in flat pack furniture assembly. In the remainder of this page we’ll endeavour to explain the costs involved and what you’ll get for your money.

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Typical Flat Pack Furniture Assembly Times

Construction times can vary obviously depending on the complexity of what needs putting together but if you’re paying for an hour, we advise you to try and get your money’s worth by ensuring the engineer is busy for as much of that hour as possible constructing more than just one small item of furniture.

Here are some typical assembly times for the more common indoor and outdoor flat packed items:

  • Chest of drawers – somewhere between 30mins and 1hour 30mins depending on whether it’s more than two sets of drawers
  • Wardrobe – a two-door wardrobe will take between 60 and 90mins
  • Simple dining chair – 10 to 15mins each
  • Dining table – 30mins to 1hour dependent on size
  • Sofa – somewhere between 1 and 2 hours depending on whether it’s just a sofa or also a pull-out bed
  • Bookcase – a small one is likely to be no more than 30mins but a larger varietal could take up to 1hour
  • TV cabinet – a simple stand is no more than 30-45mins but a more elaborate affair could take up to 2hours
  • Trampoline – a small one is likely no more than 45mins but one of the large round ones with safety netting could take as much as 2hours to complete
  • Desk – 1 hours for something straightforward but maybe rising to 2 hours if it is a more complex computer desk
  • Bed – single beds up to 45mins and doubles up to 1hour

To turn that into money terms, if we pick an average (excluding London) hourly rate of 30 then the costs for construction of the above items looks as below BUT remember your likely getting charged the full first hour anyway, so bundle up items for assembly if you can:

  • Chest of drawers – between £15 and £45
  • Wardrobe – £30 to £45
  • Dining chairs – £5 to £7.50 each
  • Dining table – £15 to £30
  • Sofa – £30 to £60
  • Bookcase – £15 to £30
  • TV cabinet – £15 to £60 depending on the complexity
  • Trampoline – £22 to £60
  • Desk – £30 to £60
  • Beds – £22 to £30

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What Else Do I Need To Consider?

here are a few other things to consider before getting your flat pack assembly specialist on the line:

Do you have enough space?

The assembly specialist will need room to work in order to construct your item. Generally something approaching a meter all the way around the item to lay out the various parts and blister packs containing wooden dowels, camlocks, screws, etc. If there isn’t sufficient space in the final resting place of your items then they’ll need a room close by where they can construct and carry through as appropriate. Some items are also provided in more than one box. Your VittsjÖ coffee table, for example, is two nested tables each with a glass top – so quite a bit of space is needed to unpack and assemble the contents of the various boxes. You will also need to bear this in mind if you are doing home renovation at the same time as purchasing items for assembly. As if you are renovating your kitchen through kitchen wrapping or kitchen rewiring for example, you will need to make sure there is enough available space for assembly.

What manufacturer did you purchase from?

IKEA are accredited with inventing the concept of flatpack furniture and they are certainly the name that comes to mind when the term is mentioned. However, there are others like Habitat, Argos, Homebase, MFI etc. that also sell flat packed goods. Unfortunately, they are not all same in terms of ease of assembly – a quick interrogation of the web and you see testaments to the fact that, for example, an MFI wardrobe is deemed to be a lot more time-consuming to construct than its IKEA equivalent. Your assembly specialist will likely want to know who made the items so they can factor this into their quote.

How far does he / she have to travel?

if you are in the countryside or outside the normal travel distance for your flat pack assembly specialist then they may charge you for the extra journey time. Similarly, if you live somewhere that incurs a congestion charge, that may also be added to your charges. Some specialists can simply come round on their bike but others will have vans with tools and if they can’t park at your premises then you may well be asked to meet the cost of their parking as well. In some cases, you may request that the items are picked up by them on your behalf and if so, it is likely that a delivery charge will also be incurred.

How many people are needed?

In most cases, one person will be sufficient to construct your item. However, larger items like double beds and the larger wardrobes may need more than one person to help construct and move around. If you have ever had to move a double mattress or a large wardrobe on your own then you will understand why. If more than oner person is needed, expect to pay twice the hourly rate but to mitigate that two people can generally achieve more in one hour than just one and so reduce the time and therefore the overall cost.

Disposal of packaging

Once your item(s) have been constructed you will be left with the cardboard, polystyrene, plastic wrap and whatever screws and dowels were unused. Getting disposal of this as part of the assembly service can be a mixed bag so best to ask upfront if you require it taken away. Most assembly specialists will likely flatten everything out and carry it to wherever your regular rubbish is collected from. Some may offer to take the packaging away with them for free or for a small charge. In some areas, it will cost the assembler to dispose of the waste and so they will look to pass that cost along to the customer. In cities, like London, it is not unusual for flat pack assemblers to arrive on a bike and so have no means to take away the leftovers. Our advice is to ask upfront so there are no surprises.

Do you need old furniture removed?

if you have bought a new piece of furniture to replace something already in your home then you may want that old item disposed of as part of the service. Like the above advice on disposal of packaging, ensure you make this expectation clear when engaging a Firm or individual to construct your furniture. You might be fortunate and they will take it away for you but in some cases, it may cost them to do so and a charge will be levied separately for this additional requirement.

If the thought of following pages of ‘simple’ instructions, gives you an uncontrollable facial tick or you’re on Step 39 in the construction of your Hemnes and there still isn’t a right angle in sight – don’t worry.

Flat Pack Assembly Frequently Asked Questions

Can I hire someone to dismantle flat pack furniture?

Whether you are moving and need to take items with you or just need to deconstruct something because you replaced it – there are circumstances where you need to dismantle flat pack furniture. The costs per hour are likely to be similar and the time needed will obviously vary. For example, deconstructing a bedside table is a lot simpler than taking apart a wardrobe with sliding doors.

I started to construct it myself but now I am stuck – can someone help me?

This happens a lot more often than people think. The costs are still the same in terms of hourly rate but there may be some reverse engineering needed to get construction back on track which may make the job a bit longer.

How do I know the Firm or Tradesperson is qualified for the job?

There are not any specific qualifications or certifications needed in the construction of flat pack furniture. That said, the best guide is the experience level of the firm or individual you employ. Most will advertise – even down the number of items they have put together – their experience level and if they have not it is best to ask before you engage them on your job.

What is the alternative to flat pack?

Flat-pack furniture has it’s benefits – it’s quick and easy to achieve the style that you want. However, an alternative is to hire a carpenter to create custom furniture. This is of course, much more expensive (for example this bespoke wardrobe company in Kent company starts at £2k), however, you’ll achieve the exact look you want, in the exact place you need (handy for awkward spaces!)

Rich Crossley
Having spent 30 years working all over the world for top-tier investment banks, I’ve owned and developed houses all over the world – Europe, the US and Asia. I’m now based back in the UK and involved in the property industry – oh, and I’m a keen DIY enthusiast!
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