Rent or Buy your Trade Show Display

One question many trade show exhibitors have is “Should we rent or buy our trade show booth display.” The answer depends on three key factors. The first, if you exhibit in multiple trade shows each year, then owning your trade show exhibit may be your best option. Additionally, to rent or buy depends whether you have a place to store a trade show booth. Third, if you also have someone that can oversee the care and maintenance of your new custom trade show display.

Multiple Shows with a active Show Schedule

If you attend trade shows and exhibit in multiple shows each year, you will want to determine how competitive and dynamic your industry is. If your industry is not very dynamic then your booth may remaining competitive looking for many years. A tip here – the construction industry is a good example of this. If your industry has an active social media presence, like CES for example, your industry is likely fast paced, dynamic and evolving quickly.

Storage and Logistics Capabilities:

If you have a corner of your warehouse and a loading dock then shipping, receiving and storing your custom trade show booth will not be a burden. So, if your industry is not dynamic and you will have a low cost option to store between shows, then purchasing your trade show display should be looking like the cost effective way to go.

Care and Maintenance Staff:

Third, and possibly most important is whether there is someone in your company ideally suiting to maintain and oversee the install and dismantles of your booth. This is critical as most damage occurs in the few minutes of handling between unpacking and assembly, then disassembly and repacking.

What if you want to make small changes? This will be costly if you need to ship your custom exhibit crates back to the booth builder for changes. This requires shipping, unpacking and full assembly of your custom exhibit so that changes can be made and fitted. Remember, custom trade show displays come with custom packing designed for the original booth parts, so a design team from your exhibit builder will need to develop a new plan for how space is used in the shipping crates, and whether or not it’s best to simply add an additional shipping crate.

What you really need is a hard working – hands on – jack of all trades person that understands in detail how your booth is made, what are its fragile weak points and how handling and packing will effect wear and tear. If you have the other two and this rare third key factor then you are absolutely a good candidate for buying and owning your trade show booth display.

Most display booth damage happens during install and dismantle handling on the trade show floor. The rush to get the booth installed or dismantled can lead to cutting corners on care and packing. With proper care, a new booth can last many years, but they rarely do. Purchased trade show displays either fall behind newer innovative design trends, or they take a beating in handling and shipping.

Trade Show Booth Rentals

Advantages that come with display rentals

If the reality is that your company or small business is not equipped in all of these areas then custom trade show rentals with an experienced rental exhibit builder may be your best option. Renting your trade show booth display  will provide the necessary expertise and resources in these key areas. Your comparison should be in the overall total costs related to using your trade show display over its entire lifetime, and not just the sticker price. One third of most companies trade show budget goes to logistics and show services, so its easy to see how these factors could make an overall difference in how cost effective your trade show marketing program is.

If you exhibit in fewer trade shows each year, renting versus buying a new custom trade show display might be more overall cost effective. Trade show exhibit rentals have evolved to give you a cost effective custom trade show exhibit look across multiple shows and demanding show schedules, without the risk, stress and hassle associated with owning your own booth display.

Choosing the right rental partner is certainly important. You’re not looking to rent a repurposed used booth. You want a design team that understands your business and show floor competition. You need a design team committed to quality materials and focused on efficient engineering with a versatile rental inventory. This is how you have an effective first trade show rental and continue to save even more money show after show!

You will want to consider all these costs:

The booth rental price, minus the custom graphics
The cost of the proposed custom graphics
The amount of graphics you likely can reuse for 3-4 shows
The dimensions and weight to ship your booth to and from your next 3-4 shows.
The cost to safely efficiently install your booth rental display considering that much may require Union workers at differing experience and skill levels.

Consider that more complexity adds time. Consider that trade show AV, electrical and anything suspended from the ceiling is a much higher labor rate.

Talk with one of our rental consultants, meet our team and learn how we provide support and limit your liability in the three key areas mentioned above. With their help, build a realistic budget based on your goals, then look at all the costs to rent your display booth, with graphics, flooring, AV, shipping and the show service fees to handle and install your booth. This will lead you to the target price you should be looking to pay.

When you rent from Exhibit People, we serve as your Exhibit Manager from concept to completion. Trade show exhibit rentals are our specialty. We have a vested interest in the safe return of your rental booth. We know how to complete all the proper forms on time, track the show schedule of deadlines, place orders in advance to reduce costs and catch errors resulting in install delays.

Exhibit People’s design team know how to get your trade show rental booth delivered next to your booth space on time for the install, for the best price. Our core strength lies in that we know how to stage the materials so our team works fast and efficiently to reduce labor costs. Moreover, We know our AV components and we make sure your content plays on queue.

Hopefully this trade show tip is helpful and you now better understand your options in renting versus buying a trade show display. Today, with greater health and safely concerns, a trade show rental could do more than just minimize the time and effort you spend on the trade show floor. Less time and effort results in less stress, less time in lines and crowds and more rest and focus. Just the recipe to keep your bodies immune system strong and ready to do your best trade show marketing, while attracting a stack of new business cards – yes even in our home town of Las Vegas!

Here’s what matters:

  • Rent for Flexibility to Change on a Dime
  • Rent to Test the Waters
  • Rent to Avoid Capital Expenditures
  • Rent for Hassle Free Convenience

Key Features

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Designing and installed trade show booths in events across the country, and we’ve been doing it for years
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Our exhibit designers are also project managers Our exhibit designers are also project managers
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Smart trade show rental solutions put your money Smart trade show rental solutions put your money


This would be possible but first we would want to make sure you are aware with all the assembly and packing to be sure before we calculate a purchase price.

You would have the option to buy the booth, including the rental inventory used during your rental, or we can build that same booth new for you, it would be your choice. Naturally selling you the booth you rented would be easiest and cheapest but you may not want scratched crates or extrusion that has been used on other jobs. If you want it perfect we will generate a proposal for a completely new booth.

We can tell you this has happened only once in the last 9 years. It not common but it may be a good decision for some companies that first choose to rent.

Quick two minute video.