Trade Show Exhibits: Should You Buy or Rent a Booth?

Blue and white example exhibit booth with two tables with stools set up for meetings or demos

No matter where you may be on your trade show journey, sooner or later you’re going to have to make a crucial decision: should you buy your trade show exhibit booths or rent them? Making that decision will require you to consider many different factors beyond just cost. It involves envisioning where your business will be in the future and what you hope to get out of your trade show efforts.

If you’re not sure which option is best for you, let’s explore some of the benefits of each.

Rental Benefits

  • Flexibility: Renting gives you more flexibility. Once you’ve purchased trade show exhibit booths they are what they are, unless you put the time and effort into changing it. With trade show rentals, you can use different sizes and designs to accommodate different venues or just to experiment. This is especially useful if you’re just getting started and haven’t yet determined what type layout will work best for you.
  • No Shipping or Storage Fees: Trade show booths take up a lot of space, and storing them can be a real headache. Shipping them where they need to go is also expensive and labor-intensive. A rental can usually be acquired reasonably close to most venues, but you will still need to account for the venue’s drayage costs.
  • Reduce Maintenance & Avoid Liability Concerns: You won’t have to worry about normal wear and tear with a rental, because you’re only using it once or twice, and insurance will usually be included with your rental.
  • Easier to Meet Venue Regulations: No two trade show venues are the same, so you will often experience different rules and regulations from venue to venue. Renting allows you to easily choose booths that pass any rules or regulations set by venues. Renting can also make it easier to attend multiple trade shows at the same time in different places.
  • Allows for the Use of Modern Designs: Renting allows you to be as innovative as possible from incorporating newer technology to implementing better design practices. This innovation can help you adapt as your audience’s needs evolve.

Benefits of Buying

  • Complete Control Over Customization: Obviously, when your trade show exhibits are your own property, you can do what you want with them. You can build on them, add extra shelving and lighting, attach signage, and leave it the same from show to show. This can help you to build brand recognition if you attend a lot of trade shows.
  • More Cost-Effective Over Time: If you attend many trade shows and plan to do so for several years to come, then it’s usually cheaper in the long run to purchase your own exhibit. This is especially true if you don’t foresee needing any major changes to your trade show exhibits.
  • Ideal for Larger Booths: If you can accomplish your objectives with a booth that is 10 x 10 or smaller, which is quick and easy to set up, then renting will usually cost less. But if you need an exhibit larger than that, the expense of setup labor and electricity makes buying the more sensible choice.

How to Decide?

It all comes down to how your business is going to use trade show marketing. If you’re just starting out, then renting your trade show exhibits makes more sense. When you start out with a rental, you’ll better understand what type of exhibit you’ll need as far as size and design are concerned, and whether trade shows are going to work for you.

If you plan to attend many trade shows, and you don’t need to make frequent changes to your design, then purchasing your exhibits will probably be more cost-effective in the long term.

Get Help From GraphiColor

Still need help making a decision? Ask our experts at GraphiColor. We’ve been designing, building, selling, and renting trade show exhibits since the 1990s. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and we’ll walk you through the processes of both buying and renting trade show exhibits.

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