There are many factors for a church to consider when purchasing church chairs as worship seating. I will be discussing several of those factors over the coming days with additional articles. But with this article, we’re going to talk about what seems to be the most important consideration for the majority of churches today: Price, Price and Price! With the economy stalled now for the past three to four years, churches overall have seen a decline in the dollars they have to work with for capital improvements, such as new worship seating. As a result, ads for “low-cost” church chairs have captured the attention of many churches. So let’s talk about what is taking place with “pricing” for church chairs across the country in our day.
- Really Low-Priced Church Chairs: Over the past few years a couple of major companies have begun importing church chairs at a high volume. They have great buying power in China because of their size, and they bring chairs to our country in large quantities. As a result, they have some stunningly low prices. However, there are trade-offs that come into play. The lack of long-term warranties, the need for the church to assemble the chairs, and the lower quality of the product itself become obvious over time if not immediately.
- Similar to the Above but a Bit More Expensive: In our day it has also become common for far smaller companies than those in #1 above, to be approached by overseas manufacturers about carrying their product. The premise is, “We will make the chair and you will import it and you can name it whatever you would like!” The chair then becomes a private label product for smaller companies. However, because they do not have the same buying power as the larger companies, their pricing may be a bit higher for the same level of chairs referred to in #1 above.
- Better Quality Import But Even a Bit More Expensive Still: There are a couple of companies that do utilize off-shore production for their church chairs, but they are able to maintain proprietary control over the entire manufacturing process. For example, they own the dies used in the production cycle, they frequently visit the overseas production facility, they have rigid production standards and quality control, and the facility produces chairs only for them. Pricing is a bit higher because of the costs associated with producing a higher quality church chair, but warranties are greater and honored, the chairs are fully assembled, and companies like Church Furniture Partner are able to bridge the price points for this level of chair to assist churches.
- Mostly Domestic Produced but Expensive for the Quality of the Chair: There are a few church chairs that are manufactured to some degree in a domestic facility. These companies though face the challenge of producing a chair that will be cost-competitive with the best offshore produced chairs. Our experience has been that unfortunately means some trade-offs in quality. Whether using screws instead of t-nuts, or foam that is not as high standard as a church might like, or a myriad of other factors, these companies often resort to taking steps for competitive purposes that are not as favorable for churches. We find that the assumption that because these chairs are mostly domestically produced, they will be superior, is really not valid.
- Domestically Produced and Very High Quality but Quite Expensive: And finally, there are some chairs that are phenomenally constructed and manufactured in a 100% domestic process, but they can cost twice the price of where we started in #1 above. For example, the Apex Church Chair (Metal Frame) from Uniflex is a stunning chair! There simply is no better product! And if a church can afford these chairs, they will be very happy for many years because of the quality throughout. Church Furniture Partner will provide these chairs to your church at the lowest possible cost, but they will take a bigger bite from your budget. But we do recommend the Apex be a chair for a church to consider from a long-term viewpoint.
I hope this overview is helpful to you and your church. And please understand, at whatever price point your church needs to be at with their church seating purchase, working with Church Furniture Partner will save you dollars. Please contact us for more information!