This study demonstrates the feasibility of combining solid-phase extraction (SPE) with surface-assisted laser desorption/ionization (SALDI) mass spectrometry to determine trace quaternary ammonium surfactants in water. The trace surfactants in water were directly concentrated on the surface of activated carbon sorbent in SPE. The activated carbon sorbent was then mixed with the SALDI liquid for SALDI analysis. No SPE elution procedure was necessary. Experimental results indicate that the surfactants with longer chain alkyl groups exhibit higher sensitivities than those with shorter chain alkyl groups in SPE-SALDI analysis. The detection limit for hexadecyltrimethyl-ammonium bromide is around 10 ppt in SPE-SALDI analysis by sampling 100 mL of aqueous solution, while that of tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide is about 100 ppt. The detection limit for decyltrimethylammonium bromide and dodecyltrimethylammonium bromide is in the low-ppb range.