A Warning about Cheap Church Chairs

Church Chairs / Worship Seating

About 20 minutes north of us is a church that purchased 200 church chairs about four years ago. We were unaware they were purchasing new chairs at the time or undoubtedly we would have assisted them in this project. Recently one of our associates was at this church for an event and he could not help but take a close look at those church chairs. Here is what reported:

“The chairs looked very beaten up! The fabric seemed to be balled up on most chairs I saw. The chairs were narrow, likely 18.5 inches wide, and when I sat down on them I bottomed out as the foam compressed right to the seat base. They were not comfortable at all. The church could not have been very proud of their church chairs and that purchase!”

Well, later we learned these church chairs were purchased online based totally on their price. The church did not know these chairs were produced by a foreign factory, then sold to an USA based “dealer” who simply shops foreign factories for the lowest price on cheap church chairs. The “dealer” then puts a trade name on the chairs and markets the chairs in such a way that the church concludes the “dealer” is the “manufacturer” of the chairs, versus in reality being a third party importer.

For the church up the road from us, they discovered all of this information unfortunately the hard way. They found out the warranty that came with their church chairs had been exaggerated by the church chair salesperson and they had no real recourse with the issues they experienced with their church chairs. By the time our associate visited their church, it was obvious the church had resigned themselves to the fact that they had made a less than prudent decision based on an attractive price point, and they were either going to continue to use church chairs that were uncomfortable to sit on and embarrassing to offer guests, or they were going to have to have to start the process over and actually purchase a quality church chair. So far they are making do with what they have!

In retrospect we would have encouraged this church and all churches considering the purchase of new church chairs to do three main things:

  • First, obtain church chair samples of any church chairs they are considering.

We have found that samples of quality church chairs are fairly easy to obtain at a reasonable price. If a manufacturer produces a quality church chair it is reasonable they are going to make it somewhat easy for a church to obtain and evaluate. And vice versa, if a dealer is marketing a cheap imported church chair, they may make it more difficult and expensive for the church to obtain and evaluate. But once you have the sample church chairs, the quality chairs will be obvious.

  • Second, work with a representative of a true manufacturer versus a third party importer.

There is a huge difference between a true manufacturer of church chairs that owns the tooling, the molds and the quality control procedures versus a third party dealer who just purchases church chairs from the cheapest producer and then brands them and resells them. There is a huge difference between a true manufacturer of church chairs that provides a solid church chair warranty they stand behind versus a third party dealer who provides a church chair warranty inundated with fine print favoring the dealer. There is a huge difference between a true manufacturer of church chairs who moves some production offshore to save churches dollars versus a third party importer who just purchases church chairs from the foreign factory who has them available for the cheapest price that month. Understand that difference and choose accordingly.

  • Third, understand how little $10.00 more for a quality church chair amounts to over 20 years of use.

The church north of us compared prices online and chose the church chair with the lowest price for their church. The sad thing is that for as little as $10.00 more per chair they could have purchased a great quality church chair that would last 20 years instead of just a few years. With 52 Sundays a year over 20 years, that amounts to 1,040 Sundays. When you divide those 1,040 Sundays into the extra $10.00 of purchase price to obtain a quality church chair, that amounts to less than ONE PENNY a Sunday. We find that when most churches understand just how little it does cost to have a quality church chair over a cheap church chair that will last far, far longer and provide such a higher level of comfort and a much more pleasing appearance, the $10.00 per chair is very easy to come up with.

We hope your church will not experience what the church north of us did with their church chair purchase.  There certainly is no reason to if you follow the three practices above.  You can also try Church Chair Finder, it is a service we provide which connects your church to quality chairs at the best possible price.