The Top 3 Things to Know When Purchasing Used Equipment

The industry moves so rapidly with an onslaught of new gear that tempts us every year, and there will always be items that are worth the big-ticket expense, so seek out savings where they can be found. ... Read More.

The Top 3 Things to Know When Purchasing Used Equipment
Among the items that could be considered as a used gear purchase would be a RGBA LED batten, such as the Chroma-Q Color Force 72-inch fixture.
The Top 3 Things to Know When Purchasing Used Equipment
Among the items that could be considered as a used gear purchase would be a RGBA LED batten, such as the Chroma-Q Color Force 72-inch fixture.

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We’ve all heard the saying, “you get what you pay for.”

Sometimes, though, you just don’t have the money to get what you really want.

The more moving parts, the more time and energy you’ll have to spend maintaining it, and the more money you’ll spend on replacements.

Then what?

There are several options to consider. For me, I choose to purchase previously used gear.

Navigating the used gear market, though, can be tricky.

Knowing what brand-new items are selling for, so you can shop around, is just the first step. You must understand where to splurge and where you can purchase used. Of course, ensuring that you’re getting a fair price includes knowing how the previous owner cared for the equipment, and whether it is competitively priced.

If you’ve always been the one to purchase the latest model from the showroom floor, here is a quick guide if you find yourself needing (or wanting) to buy used gear.

1. Is the type of equipment worth the investment?

All gear falls into two categories: high and low maintenance. In my opinion, new purchases should be reserved for moving lights and lamped fixtures. The more moving parts, the more time and energy you’ll have to spend maintaining it, and the more money you’ll spend on replacements.

Purchasing used lighting equipment is an excellent option for things like static LED fixtures, cable, dimmers, truss, power distribution units—basically anything that doesn’t move. (Encourage your audio counterparts to do the same, for the equipment they are looking to purchase). Each of these items have a 10-year shelf life and will save you money as the years go by.

There are some items that I only purchase used. For example, power and data cable are two things that I will never buy new, and doing this saves me 10-20 percent.

Another piece of equipment that is worth comparing used versus new when looking what to buy is a console. With brand new models coming with their typically high price tags, it’s easy to save yourself $10,000, just by picking up one that has been previously used.

2. Shop around.

Just because you’ve decided to purchase previously-owned equipment, doesn’t mean that you have to settle. Do your homework to find the best option for your budget.

When writing this article, I did a quick search to provide some examples of how purchasing used can be a great option.


More About Alex Fuller
Alex Fuller has over 15 years of corporate, church, and live event experience. He spent four years at Saddleback Church before moving his family to northern California this spring. He currently serves Bethel Church and Bethel Music (Redding, California) as the lighting and scenic designer. His passion is to use the technical arts as an extension of worship.
Get in Touch: fullerlights@gmail.com    More by Alex Fuller

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

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