Pros and Cons of Trade Show Booth Rental

Should you rent your trade show booth, or buy it?  Don’t make a decision without first reviewing the pros and cons of renting.

Doing a trade show is great advertising for your company, but like every marketing opportunity, there are expenses associated with it.  One decision you will need to make is whether to rent or buy pop up displays or a trade show booth.  There are obviously good reasons for both renting and buying, and which decision is right for you depends on factors such as how often you plan on doing trade shows, how easy it is for you to store your booth year round, and whether you have special needs for your display.

To help you make your decision, here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons of trade show booth rental.

PRO: Renting costs less up front. Purchasing your trade show booth means a hefty upfront cost, whereas renting allows you to spend a smaller amount every time you do a show.  Renting is therefore much better if you don’t plan on doing many shows, say, five or fewer.

CON: Renting can cost more in the long run. If you plan on doing a lot of shows, renting may actually cost you more over time.  Think of purchasing your booth as an investment; other than the cost of transporting it and storing it until your next show, you won’t have any further costs, as long as you keep it in good condition.  After a while, the cost of renting a booth for every single show will supersede the cost of the buying the booth.

PRO: Renting means you don’t have to store your display between shows. The cost of storage isn’t anything to sneeze at, especially if you don’t already have the space to store it — you’d have to rent a storage unit, which would quickly undermine the investment of owning your own booth.

CON: Either way, you still have to transport your display back and forth for every show. Renting doesn’t eliminate all the costs of owning a trade show display.  You’ll still have to pay to transport it back and forth to your shows.  People often think that the rental bill is the only expense you’ll have, but that’s not quite the truth.

PRO: You can change your display with every show. When you buy your own trade show display, you are making an investment, but you are also making it harder (or more expensive) to change your look with every show.  If you want to be able to change or expand your display as needed, especially if you’ll be going to a lot of shows and don’t want your booth looking the same at every show, renting becomes a much more viable option.

CON: Purchased displays are often easier and faster to set up, and can be customized for your needs. Don’t forget that when you purchase a display, it’s made for you, and will often be easier and faster to set up.  A rented display is often unwieldy and requires a lot more work for you to set up for your business, especially considering you probably aren’t familiar with the setup, which will make it take even longer.

PRO: You won’t have to buy a new display when yours wears out, or when you want to expand or upgrade. Although purchasing your own display is an investment in your business, it’s one you will have to make again and again.  For instance, if you are doing a lot of shows, you will need to replace your display regularly as it wears out.  In addition, if your trade show needs change, you will have to pay to expand your display, or replace it with one that better suits your needs.

CON: Your rental will have wear and tear from other companies using it. Don’t forget that when you rent a pop up display or trade show booth, you won’t be getting shiny new equipment every time.  Rentals are typically pretty well used, and may not be sufficient quality to stand up under the wear and tear as something that you might buy yourself.  A good rental company will replace their displays before they get too worn out, but this is still something to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy your trade show display.

When it comes right down to it, the biggest deciding factor in whether renting or buying is right for you is how many shows you intend to do.  If you are planning on doing a lot of shows every year, for instance, you will probably benefit from buying: You probably won’t need to expand often during a short amount of time, and you will get a lot of use out of your display.  However, if you only plan on doing a show here and there, you will be much better off renting.  Your display needs can change a lot from year to year, and if you are only doing one or two shows a year, buying may not be as good an investment as you might think.

There are lots of good reasons whether a trade show booth or pop up display rental or a purchased display might be right for you, so consider your options carefully before making a decision!

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