Know When to Rent & When to Purchase Your Trade Show Exhibit

When to rent and when to buy your trade show exhibit

Many articles have been written about the benefits of renting trade show exhibits (which there are many), but how do you know when you should choose to rent your exhibit, rather than own it?

Let's start with, probably the most important criteria for renting vs purchasing... How many trade shows you exhibit at each year!

The Number of Trade Shows You Exhibit at Each Year

If your company only exhibits at a few shows each year, then renting your trade show booth is most likely a more cost effective option than purchasing. With the cost of renting an exhibit being about 1/3 the cost of purchasing, along with not incurring the costs of storage and insurance, you can fairly easily exhibit at 3-4 shows and still be saving money by renting vs purchasing.

However, if your company exhibits at a number of shows per year (5+), then purchasing your exhibit might be the most viable solution. Just keep in mind that the purchase of your exhibit comes with additional costs such as storage, insurance and eventual refurbishment or replacement.

You Are a New Business or Wish to Test Different Booth Designs

New businesses are often operating under tight marketing budgets and just as often only have the need to attend a few shows for the first few years in business. That being said, saving money by renting not only gets you to the show floor by spending less on your exhibit structure, but also frees up additional budget to apply to your trade show graphics, marketing collateral and giveaways.

Additionally, if your business is new and hasn't exhibited before (or only at a few shows) - renting your trade show booth gives you the flexibility to test the waters with different configurations, graphics and designs. Once you've found a recipe for success, you can consider the purchase of an exhibit of the successful design. Kind of like A-B testing for the show floor. Cool.

You Company Needs to Exhibit at Multiple Shows - at the Same Time

Whether or not you currently own a trade show exhibit, there may be times when your company needs to be represented at more than one show at once - possibly in more than one country at the same time. Renting a secondary exhibit or renting more than one exhibit become a valuable solution in this scenario.

Your company may use their purchased exhibit at one show, and the rental at a different show, possibly overseas. Not only will you be saving by not purchasing multiple booths (which could be an absolute deal breaker) but you might also be able to avoid the costly price of shipping & logistics of getting your "owned" exhibit property overseas.

Upgrading and Changing the Design/Configuration of Your Exhibit

There comes a time in the life of every trade show booth or exhibit when it is in either need of refurbishment or your company has outgrown it all together. For most exhibits, this is typically around the three-year mark (depending on how often it's been used and how nice you've been to it).

At that time, if you own your trade show exhibit you'll be faced with the decision of whether it makes the most sense to refurbish your existing booth OR let it go and start fresh.

Another thing to consider is that over time (especially if your business is growing or your products lines shifting) you may simply outgrow your current trade show booth.

In either of these scenarios, the number of shows you attend, over the life of your exhibit will strongly dictate whether purchasing or renting is the best choice. But, you should consider that while renting, you're never faced with refurbishment or an  aging booth AND you can literally have a different sized booth at each show you participate at! You're never tied to a single structure for more than your next show!

Like to find out if renting your next trade show exhibit may be the best choice for your business? Give us a shout, we're highly trained at identifying the best trade show solution for businesses just like yours and would love to meet you!

DesignShop...we're YOUR Team!

Contact DesignShop

1 Start 2 Complete


"DesignShop was there at each step to make sure we were ready for the event. "

Jill Hepp, Director of MarketingAccel Performance/Mr. Gasket

Contact DesignShop