Our Church Lighting System Calculator provides you with a conservative price range for use in budgeting. The pricing provided assumes no equipment will be re-used and is based on commonly requested peripherals and capabilities. The calculator can serve as a great jumping off point for churches beginning the process of investing in new technology.
Use the sliders to input the necessary facility dimensions:
Stage Width (minimum): Enter the width of the stage in feet at its narrowest point. This is often the rear wall of the stage area.
Stage Width (maximum): Enter the width of the stage in feet at its widest point. This is typically the middle or front of the stage area.
Stage Depth (front to rear): Enter the depth of the stage in feet measured from the front lip to the rear wall. This measurement is usually taken at the center of the stage.
Stage Area (include steps): Enter the area of the platform in square feet including any areas in front of the stage that require front light. This might include an altar area, steps or areas for invitations and baby dedications.
Ceiling Height (over stage): Enter the ceiling height over the stage area in feet. Measure from the stage to the ceiling deck. For sloped ceilings enter an average height.
Ceiling Type: If your ceiling is relatively level, select "Flat". If your ceiling is pitched or angled such as an A-frame design, select "Sloped".
The Architectural LED Wash option may include a combination of fixed- and moving-head lights to provide color-changing options for the background of the stage. This may include wall wash, emphasis on specific architectural elements like organ pipes, truss or columns or gobo pattern effects.
Steps - Select this option to include front-lighting zones for the area directly in front of the stage. In many church stage designs this will include the front steps. These areas are often used for invitations, children's choir, and baby dedications.
Baptistery - Select this option to include provisions for front-lighting a baptistery area.
Cross - Select this option to include provisions for highlighting a cross built into the architecture of the space.
Backlights - Select this option to include provisions for LED colored backlighting of the downstage zones of the stage for color contrast. This option is important for dynamic stage looks, as well as, broadcast applications.
House Controls - Select this option to include provisions for control of the house lighting system (not included). The system includes the addition of preset button stations by the entrances and the ability to interface the included lighting console with the house lighting system.
You have the option to request a breakdown of the church lighting cost calculator. Click the blue "Email Me the Report" button located within the calculator and enter your contact information to receive a report that includes the calculator results and other valuable insights for churches considering investing in LED house lighting equipment.
DISCLAIMER: Once again, it's important to note that a wide range of factors can profoundly affect the price of a church lighting system. The figures provided are intended to provide a budgetary guideline to help your church begin the conversation. Do not use these estimates for establishing a final church lighting system cost.
It may seem like a simple proposition to get a quote for new church lighting technology, but there are numerous factors involved in determining the correct balance of cost and features to effectively meet your church’s needs. The process is so complicated that in many cases it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months for you to get a quote from a reputable company. Considering that most church’s work under bylaws that require multiple proposals for a given project, it can often take six months or more to gather all of the information needed for a final vote. Why does it take so long?
There’s a ton of information needed before an AVL company can even begin to talk intelligently about your specific church lighting needs including:
Churches often approach AVL companies without detailed project scope documentation, and it can dramatically slow down the process of getting a quote. If each company at the table has to farm this information independently, it’s going to take significantly longer to complete the process.
Once the AVL company has the necessary information from you, the stage lighting system has to be engineered to an extent that reliable design recommendations can be made. This design process should include:
The more time spent in pre-sales engineering, the more reliable your proposals will ultimately be. Proposals that are based solely on pre-packaged lighting systems, past experience or cost-per-seat formulas can be delivered quickly, however they should be considered carefully. Every project is different and you should expect your project to require some degree of custom engineering in order to be effective.
Unless your church lighting system has been fully designed by the end of the proposal phase, every quote you receive represents some degree of a guess at your needs. The first proposal you receive will rarely meet all of your requirements. In most cases refinement will be necessary, and in many cases some level of value engineering will be requested in order to meet the church’s budgetary limitations.
You should expect to require at least one revision in the proposal process. Three or four revisions is common, and we’ve seen it take as many as ten for the decision-makers in the church to finally arrive at a consensus. The revision process takes time and should not be rushed.
Like all industries, the AVL market is driven by demand. Most churches operate on a seasonal cycle with Christmas and Easter as major drivers for AVL upgrades. Some churches slow down in Summer, and many have year-end budget deadlines in October. These ebbs and flows can make it difficult for AVL companies to respond quickly to requests from churches, especially the last-minute requests that are common in our industry.
When AVL companies are swamped with a glut of proposal requests, they can often become bogged down. Many lack efficient systems for managing an onslaught of proposal requests, and the lack of efficiency can render exceptionally long lead times for proposal delivery.
Waiting for church stage lighting quotes can be extremely frustrating. The process is long and complicated, but you don’t want to rush unnecessarily. These systems involve a significant investment of time and money and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Getting organized and understanding how the process works represents your best opportunity for speeding things along without sacrificing quality in the process.
It’s not uncommon for the process of getting quotes for a new church lighting system to take weeks, if not months. It can be extremely frustrating for church staff or tech team members who have finally been given the greenlight to start investigating upgrades to have to wait.
They key to speeding up the process is for you to get organized. In the previous section we explored the reasons that it takes so long to get a proposal in detail, and information gathering represents your best opportunity to help move things along. Below is a list of documentation you should prepare in order to make the process of getting quotes go as smoothly as possible:
Any reputable AVL company is going to need to understand your budgetary expectations and the timeframe for your project before they invest their resources into a proposal. In many cases you will be looking to the AVL company to help you figure out the budget, but if they understand the nature of sales at all, they will want to be sure you have realistic expectations before moving forward.
We’re working to make this part easier for churches by developing groundbreaking tools like the Church Sound System Cost Calculator and the Church Lighting System Cost Calculator. These interactive calculators will provide you with unqualified ballpark budgets based on the information you provide.
Additionally, you should be prepared to discuss your timeframe for the project including any time needed for committee meetings, approvals and fundraising campaigns. As we discussed in the previous section, there is an ebb and flow to working in the church world, and your selected AVL company will need a clear understanding of where your project might fall in their project schedule.
Just so you know, our experience is that a church that can’t answer these two simple questions is not statistically likely to move forward with the project. By knowing your budget expectations and thinking through your timeline, you will help the AVL company move forward more quickly with your project.
For new construction you will need to provide a current set of architectural drawings for the AVL company to work off of. These drawings are extremely important to the church lighting design process. You’ll need to provide a floorplan drawing at absolute minimum, but there are other drawings that are necessary to determine what lighting technology will be required.
For a renovation project, the same drawings will be needed. While measurements can be taken manually in the facility, it requires a significant investment of time to travel to site to produce this documentation. In almost every case, providing an as-built set of drawings to the AVL company will substantially decrease the time required to produce a proposal. If the drawings can’t be located at the church, copies can typically be acquired at the local courthouse where the documents were originally filed for permits. In the case of extremely old structures, copies may not be available.
The architectural drawings should include (at minimum):
Note: Many times it seems like the church is unwilling to take the time to procure copies of the architectural drawings. Ironically, the time lost by AVL companies trying to acquire the information contained in those drawings is a multiple of the time it would take for the church to track them down. This delay is then multiplied by the number of AVL companies from which you are seeking proposals.
In addition to the drawings, on renovation projects the church should provide extensive pictures of the site including:
Make a list of the specifics you require for the lighting system. Include the following information:
Provide a detailed list of any lighting equipment the church currently owns that should be considered for the new system. The AVL company will review the list and make recommendations about what can be re-used and what should not be included in the new systems.
Include quantities, manufacturer and model number for each piece of lighting equipment. For incandescent light fixtures be sure to note the wattage and color temperature of the bulb.
Take the time to make a list of all anticipated system inputs and outputs. For lighting include control positions and output locations at all lighting positions.
Without these lists there is no way an AVL company can anticipate all of your church’s needs.
Take the time to write out a short description of what you hope to accomplish with the project. Be sure to include your vision for the new system, any problems you have experienced with your current system, the internal decision-making/approval process for the church, and anything else that might be relevant to the successful completion of the project.
Once you’ve collected all of this information, combine it in a package that can be easily delivered to the AVL company. By completing this work up front, you will ensure your needs are communicated effectively while significantly reducing the amount of time required to deliver a reliable proposal.
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