It is, as you’ll probably guess, an impossible question to answer, at least without a lot of experience (and trial and error), and I still get it wrong sometimes.
Different makes, with their various ranges, are all likely to take a different amount of time to assemble, and each piece within every range is unique. Working conditions can vary, too, and the best thing a customer can do to help is to have the boxes in the right place, with enough space to work in.
But there is one thing I’ve noticed, at least with IKEA and probably with most self-assembly furniture, and it will give you a rough idea. It’s a ‘per box’ method of estimating my time to build each piece. Each box will, on average, take me around 30-40 minutes to unpack and assemble. So, if your chest of drawers comes in two big boxes, allow about an hour or so. A Pax wardrobe from IKEA that comes in one box will take me about 40 minutes, including hinged doors but not counting extras like drawers.
That means there’s a big disparity between ranges from the same manufacturer. For example, a Hemnes piece from IKEA takes longer than you might expect, for its size, because it is built from a lot of smaller pieces (and so may arrive in several boxes). An eight-drawer Hemnes chest comes in three boxes and takes me about one and a half hours by the time I’ve put together the cabinet (two boxes) and all the drawers (the third box).
When finished, it will look something like this (other colours are available):
You might be wondering how long it would take you to do the same, and that’s impossible to say. A lot of my job is down to practise and experience, and I’ve no way of knowing how yours would compare, but I’m guessing you’re less experienced, assuming you have the same basic level of competence (and not everyone does). With experience comes fewer mistakes, less risk of damage and less wasted time, too.
For information, here are the instructions for that Hemnes chest.
You also need a certain amount of strength, depending on the size and weight of the pieces. Most important in this context is a strong and healthy back, since most bigger items have to be turned and lifted a few times as you build them, and they get heavier each time you add more parts to the whole…
(You might consider lifting one box on its own, then think about lifting two – or all three. The packaging weighs very little, so that’s roughly the final weight of the finished item.)
But you needn’t worry about that if you get me to do it all for you. At £40 an hour you can save your back and your time, and put aside any worries you might have about getting it right. Enter your details in the form on this page and I’ll get back to you.