When a person is starting a new business there are a number of up front expenses that have to be borne in order to get it up and running. One of those expenses is to replace or purchase a new light box sign. A brand new light box sign is certainly not a cheap item, and when replacing an existing business or light box sign the first thought that comes to many people's minds is that the best option for a cheap light box sign is to buy a used lightbox sign. At face value that has pretty solid reasoning behind it: there are a lot of lightbox signs already made, businesses are always changing out used light box signs for new light box signs, and there never seems to be there seems to be an unending supply of used lightbox signs.
However after searching to stock an inventory of used light box signs we have found that, at the end of the day, the best option is typically to go with a new light box sign or light box sign kit. Below are 6 reasons why it's smarter to purchase a new light bulb sign or light box sign kit instead of a used light box sign.
1 - Shortened Lifespan
When you purchase a new light box sign, you can expect it to last for a very long time if it is built correctly. But when you buy a used light box sign chances are the sign is a number of years old. Similar to a used car the expected total lifespan of the product is never going to change so you're purchasing something at the tail end of its lifespan and you can expect for it to last shorter then you would if it were a new light box sign period. Ballasts for lightbox signs are expected to last up to 60,000 hours, or about 20 years if they are run approximately 8 hours per day, so there is certainly an upper limit to the most expensive part of the lightbox sign.
2 - Less Efficient Lamps and Ballasts
Technology is growing at a frantic pace nowadays, and technology within signage and light box signs specifically is no exception. The standard lamps and ballasts used 10 years ago such as T12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts have long been overtaken by new, more efficient technologies. Now T12 lamps are not even legal per current electrical code: T5 lamps are standard and LED lamps are the gold standard. If you buy a sign that is 10 or 20 years old you're most likely buying the old components that come with it. These are incredibly less efficient than today's new standards.
3 - Additional Costs to Customize Your Sign
When you find a used light box sign chances are it's not exactly what you are looking for. Although people are always demolishing old lightbox signs there is not a single, huge, easily accessible inventory of used light box signs. The best place to find a used sign is typically Craigslist.com or from a liquidator who's auctioning off a failed business assets. When you do find a used light box sign that you want to buy it's not going to be exactly what you were looking for: the frame maybe a different color, a different size, or not exactly what you need. Once you get the sign you may have to spend some additional money to repair it or relamp it to get it to work in the first place. So suddenly you find yourself having to repaint the sign, paying someone to repaint the sign, or having to pay an electrician to replace the components or the lamps. The initial inexpensive cost of the sign is no longer as inexpensive as it initially seemed. With a new light box sign you can customize exactly what material is to be used for the frame, the exact size, and the lamp type that is catered to your exact specifications. In addition, chances are that the face of the sign is either in poor shape, cracked, or has an old logo on it that you now need to either peel off or replace altogether.
4 - Initial Costs Sometimes More Expensive than a New Light Box Sign
When someone is selling a used light box sign they are most likely one of two types of people: The first person selling used light box signs is a former business owner whose business has just failed and who is no longer in need of a light box sign. Not to generalize, but I don't know a lot of former business owners who are liquidating their business who are going to give you a screaming deal on any of their merchandise. Chances are they're going to want to make as much money back as possible, so when you review the pricing for the sign be sure to compare used light box sign pricing to similar new lightbox signs. Sometimes you'll find that they are even more expensive than a new light box sign. Another type of person selling used light box signs is either in the liquidation business or is n the salvage business. Both of those types of people are also looking to make a profit on the sign, so again, use caution when researching used light box signs for sale.
5 - The Quality of the Product is Not Guaranteed
When buying a used light box sign it is difficult to determine (especially when looking at one over the internet) the exact craftsmanship and quality of the sign. Similar to above, you really don't know the source of the sign: who is selling the sign, where did they buy from to begin with, and what are the standards of the manufacturer who made that original sign? When purchasing a new light box sign you know exactly who you're getting it from and there's typically at least a 1 year guarantee and a five-year manufacturer's warranty on all the electrical components. These warranties give you a guarantee that you will not have further costs down the road at least for the first year and most likely for even five years.
6 - UL listing
In some jurisdictions it is critical that you prove to the local city or county that your sign has a UL listing. When purchasing a used light box sign it will be very difficult to prove that you have a UL listing on the sign. Again, similar to above, you do not typically know who manufactured the original sign, what maintenance was done on the original sign throughout them life of the sign (and whether that maintenance met UL listing requirements), or even if there is a sticker still on the sign that will allow you to prove that it is a UL listed sign?
Those are our six reasons that we do not recommend purchasing a used light box sign. I hope you don't misunderstand, we have searched for used light box signs, and there are good deals out there. When the stars do align and you find exactly what you're looking for, in good shape and for the right price, you can find a really nice deal. If you do find this please let us know we'd love to hear about your story and we love to be proven wrong. Contact us through the website or leave a comment and tell us where you found your sign. We have done our own research, have looked into buying large quantities of used light box signs, and have found for the most part that when you find a used light box sign chances are one of the six issues will come up: either they're not in great shape, they will take a lot of work to get running or to bring the sign to your satisfaction, or the UL listing is not available to prove so that you can use your sign when a UL listing is necessary.
Another option that we would recommend, if you are looking to save money when purchasing a light box sign, is to review DIY lightbox sign kit options. The kits offer people who are willing to put in a little elbow grease the opportunity to save money by purchasing only the material and doing the assembly themselves. You will get a great new light box sign catered to their specifications and guaranteed to last for years to come.