Renting or Buying Trade Show Exhibits: Pros and Cons

Are you planning for your next trade show? If so, then you’re likely busy deciding your trade show exhibits, giveaways, designs, etc. But have you decided whether you’ll buy your trade show booth or rent it?

Seasonal trade show participants prefer to buy their own booths, while regular and active exhibitors choose to rent. The decision of buying or renting depends on many factors apart from the number of times you’re participating in a trade show.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each option.

Renting: Pros

  • Can easily change the layout and add different graphics to the booth
  • Can have different booths at different events at the same time
  • No need to maintain, upgrade, insure and store the trade show exhibits
  • Cost-effective option as renting cost is less than the ownership cost
  • Can give a new look to the booth every time you attend an event
  • Can customize the booth by renting only what you need rather than purchasing the full set
  • Eco-friendly option as you are renting the resources used by other businesses rather than building and purchasing a new one
  • Easy to customize the booth according to the rules and regulations of various events. For example, some trade shows allow 10×10 feet space while others allow island booth of 20×20 feet size.

Renting: Cons

  • Can be expensive in the long run; if you’re exhibiting at several trade shows every year, then the cost of renting will be much more than the ownership cost over time
  • Quality can be an issue as many rentals may be damaged, depreciated or not in a well-maintained state
  • Customization is limited to an extent as an exhibit house can’t customize everything on a rental
  • Unavailability of your desired display and type of booth can be an issue
  • Chances of delays are high when a exhibit house is responsible for the shipping and delivery

Buying: Pros

  • Can customize the booth completely as many times as you want (if the budget allows) without any restrictions, unlike rentals
  • Cost-effective in the long run; if you’re an active trade show participant, then the ownership cost will be less than the amount you spend on renting multiple times for those shows
  • Can have complete ownership of how your brand is presented through the display as you own the booth
  • Can give your booth a one-of-its-kind design, unlike the similar looking displays of rentals
  • Your desired display is always available as you own the booth

Buying: Cons

  • Added responsibility and expense of maintaining, repairing, storing, shipping and installing the trade show exhibits
  • Can’t change the appearance of the existing displays if the design trends change
  • Initial cost of building and purchasing your own trade show booth is high
  • Expensive for businesses with a smaller budget
  • Have to purchase the whole set, irrespective of what you need

Consider all the pros and cons. Decide on your needs and priorities to find what suits you best. If you actively participate in many trade events, but have a tight budget, then renting the booth is a smart choice. If you have a flexible budget and prefer to participate in a few events, then buying the booth will be best for you.