How Much Does an Office Cubicle Cost?

Last Updated on March 4, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Office cubicles are a popular solution for creating workspaces in modern offices. With their modular and customizable design, cubicles allow companies to efficiently divide large open office areas into individual employee workstations.

But what factors determine the costs of buying, installing, and maintaining these essential office tools? This guide examines the important considerations that can impact cubicle pricing.

How Much Does an Office Cubicle Cost?

On average, basic cubicles can start around $500 for refurbished options from liquidators, and go up to $2,500 or more for large, customized executive workstations from leading manufacturers. Many factors influence final costs.

Freedman’s Office Furniture, for example, offers modern office cubicles 5’x5′ 6-packs for $2,400.00.

Office Cubicles Overview

Office cubicles are complete workstation systems that provide employees with their own semi-private spaces within a large open office area. Cubicles typically consist of modular walls or panels that section off work areas, along with various components like desks, shelves, filing cabinets, lighting, and other features tailored to an employee’s needs.

Compared to private offices, cubicles offer a more affordable and space-efficient way to accommodate many workers in the same office footprint. They also allow for more natural light and collaboration than fully walled-off private offices. For these reasons, cubicles have become a standard and cost-effective feature of modern workplace design.

Factors That Determine Cubicle Costs

Several important factors can cause cubicle costs to vary widely. Companies need to understand these key considerations that impact pricing as they evaluate and budget for outfitting an office with cubicles:

Cubicle Size and Configurations

One of the biggest factors determining cost is the physical size and layout of the cubicles:

  • Cubicle footprints generally range from about 25 square feet for a basic workstation up to over 75 square feet for an executive-sized station.
  • Understandably, the larger the cubicle’s dimensions, the higher the price. A 75 sq ft station may cost 60-100% more than a 25 sq ft cubicle.
  • Cubicles also come in different configurations depending on the number and height of panels used.
    • Standard cubes have dividers on three sides and cost less.
    • More enclosed “quad” cubicles add a 4th privacy panel behind the worker but increase the cost.
    • Rising panel heights (e.g. from 5-foot to 6-foot dividers) also improve privacy while adding expense.
  • When budgeting, carefully weigh the increased costs against the benefits of larger cubicle sizes and more private configurations. A moderate size like 50 sq ft per station offers a good balance for many roles.

Construction Materials and Features

The materials used for cubicle walls, work surfaces, storage units, and other components have a direct impact on pricing:

  • Standard fabric-wrapped divider panels are the most budget-friendly, averaging around $800- $1,000 per standard cubicle workstation.
  • Glass or acrylic divider panels add visibility while maintaining privacy, but can add $200-500 per station to increase the average price to $1100-$1500 per cubicle.
  • Solid wood or metal panel frames convey a premium, executive aesthetic for 25-50% higher prices, putting the cubicle investment above $1500 on average.
  • Laminates vs. veneers for work surfaces and shelves also affect costs with veneers adding 10-15% typically.
  • Additional integrated features like lighting, tackable surfaces, and shelving can further incrementally add another $200-$500 per cubicle depending on how much is customized.

In summary, expect higher quality materials like solid woods or glass, and more complex integrated features to increase average cubicle costs compared to basic fabric-paneled workstations – often by 50% or more for high-end stations.

New vs. Used Cubicles

Brand-new cubicles purchased directly from a manufacturer or dealer are the most expensive option but offer full customization flexibility. New standard cubicles ordered directly start around $1,200-$1,500 each, with fully loaded designs reaching $2500+.

Alternatively, refurbished or used cubicles purchased secondhand, often from an office furniture liquidator after a company closure, provide substantial savings of 40% or more off new prices. This puts the average used station cost in the $500-$1,000 range. The tradeoff is less customization ability.

If budget is a major concern, used cubicles present excellent value. But new stations allow tailoring the workspace design to a company’s needs.

You might also like our articles about the cost of starting a business, using H&R Block, and renting an office trailer.

Cubicle Brands and Manufacturers

The brand and specific cubicle manufacturer also impact pricing to some degree:

  • Leading national brands like Herman Miller and Steelcase command around a 10-25% premium over lesser-known brands. This is due to their reputation for quality and expertise.
  • Mid-tier regional brands, though lacking the same name recognition, provide a good balance of value and reliability. Their prices are often 10-15% below the major brands.
  • Commodity or generic manufacturers offer significant savings of 25-50% less than major brands, or over $1000 per station savings. The quality is still acceptable but warranties are shorter.
  • Used office furniture dealers provide the deepest discounts, but often don’t reveal brand information and have limited configuration options.

The most premium cubicle scenario is a brand new, fully-featured design from Herman Miller or Steelcase. On the opposite end, an entry-level used cubicle from a discount reseller presents the most budget-friendly path. Consider the tradeoffs in quality, features, and flexibility to make the best brand choice.

Factoring in Customization and Design

Beyond the basic cost factors above, companies can also choose to customize their cubicles in ways that enhance employees’ efficiency, privacy, and comfort – for an additional expense:

Custom Cubicle Design Services

Some office furniture vendors offer full custom cubicle layout and design services for a fee, which can range from $200 per cubicle up to $2000 or more for an entire office redesign. This allows creating the perfect tailored workstation look and functionality.

Ergonomic Features

Ergonomic desks, monitor arms, foot rests, keyboard trays and adjustable chairs can be incorporated to improve employee health and productivity. While not cheap, this can provide strong ROI long-term through reduced injuries. Some common ergonomic upgrades include:

  • Adjustable keyboard trays – $75-$250 per cubicle
  • Monitor arms – $100-$200 each
  • Ergonomic chairs – $300-$1000+
  • Sit-stand desks – $400-$1200 per cubicle

While costs add up, the entire ergonomic investment pays for itself if it prevents just a few employee injuries or lost work days per year.

Open vs Enclosed Layout

The amount of enclosure around each workstation can be tailored based on whether the company prefers open collaboration or private focus work. More dividers and privacy come at a cost premium:

  • Open cubicles with just 2-3 low divider panels run $800-$1200.
  • Semi-closed cubes with 4 standard panels average $1000-$1500.
  • Fully-enclosed stations with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors can exceed $2000+.

There is no one right layout for every company. The optimal balance depends on work styles and corporate culture.

Budgeting for Your Cubicle Investment

When estimating the overall project costs for outfitting an office with cubicles, be sure to budget for these additional elements beyond just the raw cubicle costs:

  • Space planning and layout services can cost $1,000-$5,000+ depending on office size and complexity.
  • Cubicle delivery fees often add $500-$2,000+ on top of base prices.
  • Installation and assembly costs if not installing yourself. Expect to spend $200-500 per cubicle for professional install.
  • Electrical work to power cubicle outlets and lights. Budget $5,000+ for an entire office.
  • Miscellaneous supplies like power strips, ethernet cables, and components for customization. Allow $50-$100 per cubicle.

A good rule of thumb is to multiply the base prices of the cubicles by 1.5X or more to cover all the secondary factors above.

Leasing and financing programs through vendors can help spread out upfront costs over time but expect to pay 10-20% premium pricing over a cash purchase. Renting cubicles short-term for a trial can be an option before fully purchasing.

Purchasing the Right Cubicles

Here is a condensed overview of the purchasing process once you have defined your office cubicle needs and budget:

Select the Right Vendor

Research and evaluate various office furniture dealers, liquidators, and refurbishers. Look for those offering the best value, service, customization options, and purchasing terms based on your needs. Get bids from 2-3 top contenders before deciding.

Get Multiple Price Quotes

Solicit bids from a few top vendors outlining your exact requirements. Expect quotes to range from $500 per basic used cubicle up to $2,500+ for customized new stations. Compare details carefully.

Negotiate for the Best Deal

Don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially when making a bulk purchase. See if vendors can shave at least 10% or more off initial quoted pricing or throw in additional upgrades or services. Just a 10% discount could save $1000+ on a 100 cubicle order.

Handle Logistics Meticulously

Make detailed arrangements for delivery, installation, electrical work, layout, and old cubicle removal. Try to lock in all related costs upfront in the main contract if possible.

Plan for Future Upgrades

Get cubicles that allow some reconfiguration flexibility. Leave physical room to add employees. Budget $500-$1000 per station for periodic upgrades over their lifespan.

Maintaining Cubicles Over the Long Term

Cubicle DesignThe initial purchase is just the first step. Properly maintaining your office cubicles ensures they remain functional and attractive for years before needing replacement. Budget around $200-$500 per cubicle annually for:

  • Cleaning and repairs to keep components looking fresh – $50-$100 per cubicle per year.
  • Replacing worn panels and surfaces every 4-5 years to maintain visual appeal – $100-$300 per cubicle.
  • Upgrades like new desks, chairs, and lighting to improve ergonomics and style over time.
  • Reusing cubicles when possible rather than throwing them out during office renovations.

With proper care and upgrades, quality cubicles should last 8-10 years in most office environments, providing strong ROI on the initial investment.

The Smart Choice for Workplace Success

Overall, cubicles remain one of the wisest long-term investments for companies looking to optimize their office layout and operations within budget constraints. When selected thoughtfully, and customized to balance functionality with cost, cubicles pay dividends through:

  • Efficient use of available space
  • Adaptable configurations as teams grow and shift
  • Improved employee satisfaction with a quality workspace designed around their needs
  • Enhanced productivity in a comfortable, ergonomic environment

By understanding the key cost factors, and budgeting accordingly, any organization can enjoy the myriad benefits of cubicles while making the most of their office investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of a single cubicle?

The cost of a single basic cubicle can range from around $500 for an entry-level used cubicle up to $2,000 or more for a new high-end cubicle from a major manufacturer.

The average cost of a new mid-range cubicle with standard fabric panels and laminate surfaces is typically $800 – $1,200. With customized features and ergonomic add-ons, a single cubicle’s price can approach $2,000-$2,500+.

Is it better to have an office or cubicle?

Whether a private office or cubicle is better depends on the employee’s role and work style. Cubicles allow some privacy for focus work but also more collaboration. Private offices provide executives and managers handling confidential matters excellent isolation.

Open desk layouts maximize collaboration for customer-focused roles. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, so companies should offer a mix of spaces.

What are the disadvantages of a cubicle office?

Some downsides of cubicles include reduced privacy due to low walls, more noise and distractions from surrounding colleagues, lack of sunlight from window access, and inability to fully personalize or configure the space.

Proper cubicle selection and office layout can help minimize these drawbacks. Allowing periodic work-from-home days also provides respite from the cube environment.

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