Let me get right to the point: A desk suitable for dispatch, known as a console, will cost somewhere in the range of $18,000 to $28,000 with shipping and installation. Yes, that is as much as a used car—and the reason for that is the specific needs the consoles meet and the amount of time they last under constant use. Let’s take a deeper look.
Why So Much?
At a minimum, a console used for a 911 dispatch center needs to feature sit-to-stand flexibility for long shifts, meet ergonomic standards for people of all shapes and sizes, and handle multiple monitors with ease. Many dispatch consoles do much more, improving communication, controlling sound, and providing much-loved creature comforts.
But why do they cost so much more than a $500 desk at an office supply store? Think about this: Dispatch consoles are in use 24/7/365—that’s 8,760 hours of use per year. And, on average, these consoles do that for 10 years. That’s 87,600 hours. For 87,600 hours, the legs are going up and down (on average) 2,920 times the desktop is being leaned on and spilled on, and IT keeps adding and switching out monitors.
Do you know what the cost per hour of using a $28,000 console is for 10 years? It’s about 32 cents an hour. That’s about $7 a day to ensure that dispatchers in life-saving positions have the equipment they need at their fingertips, are comfortable enough to get through a long and stressful shift, and can quickly adjust monitors to see crucial information. I’m talking about $7 a day for the Cadillac of consoles lasting at least 10 years—the daily dollar amount gets even better for the many customers getting 12 to 15 year out of even basic consoles.
Do you know what the cost per hour of using a $500 desk is for 10 years? Nobody knows because the desk wouldn’t last a year in a dispatch center (*rimshot please*).
Why the $10,000 Range?
As with cars, the cost of dispatch consoles can vary by thousands of dollars. The $18,000 to $28,000 range is mostly feature driven. Within that range, you’ll generally find three levels of consoles: basic, mid-level, and top-level. No matter what level you’re looking at, consider three things non-negotiable:
- Ergonomics: The console must be ergonomic—by which I mean meeting government standards not simply stating “ergonomic” as a feature. This matters because non-ergonomic conditions can lead to pain and injuries that harm morale and lead to absenteeism. Think carpal tunnel, tendonitis, lower back pain, eyestrain, headaches, and more. (Xybix consoles exceed ergonomic standards.)
- Performance Testing: The console’s strength and durability must be verified by a third party such as the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, aka BIFMA. This ensures that the console legs, door hinges, and drawer glides are strong and built to last, and that the desk can withstand those 2,920 trips up and down without tipping or easily wearing out. (Xybix consoles are BIFMA compliant.)
Warranty & Service: Although dispatch consoles are made to last, it’s the nature of manufactured moving parts that they eventually break down. To get back up and running as quickly as possible, look for a strong warranty and round-the-clock customer service access. Xybix offers the best warranty in the business and unmatched customer support.
The proper ergonomics, performance testing, warranty, and service help ensure the long-term value you should expect of dispatch consoles. Beyond that, let’s look at features.
Basic Dispatch Console: $18,000–$21,000
Basic, entry-level consoles should include:
- Dual-surface height-adjustment
- Focal depth adjustment for monitors
- Cable management, cables included
- Computer storage
- Side work surfaces
Mid-Level Dispatch Console: $21,000–$23,000
Mid-level consoles include everything in the basic option, as well as accessory options like:
- Personal climate controls (heaters and fans)
- Acoustical panels for sound control
- LED task lighting
- Data dock
- Personal storage
- Supplemental storage throughout the workspace
Top-Level Dispatch Console: $22,000–$28,000
Top-level consoles may be built custom for your space, include everything in the basic and mid-level options, and add features such as:
- Ability to save all settings for individual users
- Customizable LED light colors
- Personal lockers
- Filing cabinets
- Premium acoustical tiles
- Whiteboards or glass panels
- Status indicator lights
- Custom lit acrylic with etched logo(s)
Fair and Honest Pricing
When looking at estimates from dispatch console vendors, be sure all costs are included, not just the price of the console itself. The costs I’ve listed here include professional design services, shipping, and installation.
At Xybix, we do everything we can to offer and communicate fair and honest pricing. The price increases of recent years reflect the increased costs of materials and labor—not Xybix gouging for profits. We work closely with our customers to satisfy their needs at any budget. For more details on costs related to the above categories, see Xybix owner Ken Carson’s 2023 video below: