How to Install Commercial Lighting on a Shoestring Budget

Installing commercial lighting can be an expensive endeavor, but with some planning and cost-saving measures, you can install quality lighting in your commercial space on a limited budget. Here are some tips for installing commercial lighting affordably.

Assess Your Lighting Needs

Before doing anything else, take the time to assess your lighting needs. Consider the following:

Choose Energy-Efficient Fixtures

Selecting energy-efficient LED lighting is one of the best ways to save on commercial lighting. LEDs consume 40-80% less power than traditional lighting and have long lifespans of 50,000+ hours. This saves on energy and replacement costs over time.

Consider installling LED tubes to replace existing fluorescent tubes. They provide the same brightness using a fraction of the energy and fit into most existing fixtures.

LED panels also offer energy savings for ambient lighting needs. Compare wattages and lumens when choosing LEDs to ensure adequate light levels.

Take Advantage of Rebates and Tax Incentives

Many utility companies and state/federal agencies offer rebates and tax incentives for installing energy-efficient lighting like LEDs. These can cover 25-50% of equipment costs. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency lists available incentives in your state.

Shop Secondhand and Salvage Materials

Check architectural salvage warehouses, habitat for humanity Restore locations, and used restaurant supply stores to find discounted secondhand lighting fixtures to repurpose. Vintage fixtures can add character while saving you money.

You may also be able to salvage lighting from a previous space or renovation project to reuse. Just be sure to upgrade bulbs for better efficiency.

Use Lower-Cost Fixtures and Bulbs

Focusing lighting on the most essential areas can allow you to reduce costs by using lower priced fixtures and bulbs in other areas:

Install Fixtures Yourself

Hiring an electrician is often one of the major lighting installation costs. If you are comfortable working with electrical, consider installing lighting fixtures yourself following all safety precautions. This will involve getting the necessary permits.

Of course, some complex installs like track lighting may still require hiring an electrician. But you can likely handle basic fixture replacements and new installations in finished spaces on your own.


The bottom line in lighting your commercial space affordably is focusing light where it's needed most. Assessing your needs, using energy-efficient technology, taking advantage of incentives, sourcing discounted fixtures, and DIY installing can potentially cut your lighting costs in half while still achieving quality illumination. With smart planning and resourcefulness, you can install great lighting on any budget.