When it comes to anything with technology, we usually don't think of buying used or even refurbished gear.
The nice thing about used lighting is you will more easily be able to purchase multiple fixtures…
Let me tell you, though, when it comes to lighting, buying used is the difference between paying $10,000 for a fixture or $6,000 for the same fixture.
When it comes to helping churches, who are searching for a new lighting system, I almost always recommend having them buy used, because budgets may not allow to buy new lighting.
In so doing, it's much easier to get more for your money, and when it comes to lighting, usually one fixture is not going to do the trick. The nice thing about used lighting is you will more easily be able to purchase multiple fixtures, and if you purchase from the right places, you will normally still get a warranty, along with having gear that has been inspected and or refurbished.
So how do we find used gear that's not going to arrive broken, or close to it, when we order it?
Believe it or not there are quite a few gold mines in seeking out really great quality used gear. One of those places is UsedLighting.com, and another is SolarisNetwork.com. Those are my two go-to sites when it comes to finding great quality used gear. Either site also offers warranties for most of the gear they sell. I highly recommend checking out the two websites, if you're in the market for some used lighting.
There are some instances, though, where something is not worth buying used. You may want to look into buying your more sophisticated fixtures new, because maintenance can be easier to maintain on a fixture that you buy new. For example, for lighting, such as static fixtures like LED pars, ellipsoidals (lekos) or strobes, they are always a great option to buy used. When it comes to buying items like moving lights, though, I would be a little more cautious.
Make sure there are fixtures available to look at, so you can make sure the housing doesn't reflect years of hard touring or rental house use. If the outside of the fixture looks to be in poor shape, it can possibly reflect the inside of the fixture as well. There are also lots of moving parts in such fixtures that can wear out fast, which can quickly cause your maintenance costs to rise steadily.
That being said, I have purchased full lighting systems through UsedLighting.com for local schools that include LED pars, moving lights, cables, and a console all from one place, all used, and for literally half the cost of a brand-new full system, and they are still operational with very low maintenance, except for lamps.
One thing that I recommend people do is when they are strongly considering upgrading, is to check the such used lighting websites frequently, because a site like UsedLighting.com is essentially eBay for lighting fixtures and gear. There are always new listings being added on a daily basis, and you may find a fixture that better suits your needs for less money that might not have been on the site a day earlier.
In the end, your search for new lighting gear doesn't have to break the bank, in your effort to upgrade a lighting system. You can also expand as you go, and thanks to websites like UsedLighting.com, it's easier and faster than ever to upgrade your system to something that's not cheap, but also not overly expensive. As a result, you can improve your worship space by truly enhancing the worship experience for your church's congregants, thereby giving you the ability to be more creative in your ministry's future.