Determining whether to own or rent a trade show booth is a critical decision—and is one that will require you to consider a number of factors before you can make your final decision. Some of the factors that you need to consider include:

  • Company Goals
  • Budget
  • Trade show Locations
  • Strategy Testing
  • Exhibit Frequency

The following are some of the questions you have to ask yourself prior to making any decision:


1. How Much Money Is at My Disposal?

Owning a custom exhibit requires a hefty investment, which in many cases can be as much as four times what it would cost you to lease a booth. Not only do you have to consider the purchase price,  you also need to consider where the display will be stored. Typically, it costs $2 per month for each stackable square foot or thirty-five cents per month for each non-stackable cubic-foot.

Industry experts estimate that the ongoing repair and maintenance services of a purchased exhibit after each exhibition can range from 3 to 5 percent of the total exhibit’s value. When renting, you will not have to worry about dealing with ongoing ownership-related costs, e.g., insurance premiums, recurring maintenance, monthly storage fees, and warehouse handling. Another essential benefit that comes with renting is the fact that the trade show display rental service provider will provide you with a bundled package. A bundled package is one that comprises of exhibit hardware, installation, and dismantling services, shipping, flooring, graphics production, furniture, and audiovisual equipment.

As a client, a bundled package not only provides you with significant cost savings, but it also helps ensure that the exhibition process will kick-off seamlessly.

Pro Tip: If your budget is limited, it will be best to rent. Companies or organizations with higher or flexible budgets can opt to buy.


2. How Often Will I or Do I Exhibit?

If your company exhibits once, twice, or a few times a year, renting a custom exhibit will be your most viable option. In addition, leasing the booth will make it possible for your company to occupy different exhibition booth sizes at diverse shows depending on what you are exhibiting, and what you hope to achieve from the exhibition.

This means that you will not be limited to a single size. For those that attend shows regularly or hold exhibitions on a monthly basis, it may make more sense for them to purchase an exhibition booth, as opposed to leasing. You can then look for a third party company to help you with the installation and dismantling process after each show.

Pro Tip: If you only exhibit once or twice a year, it will be best for you to rent. Companies that attend more than 5 shows in a year should consider buying as opposed to leasing.


3. Are You Looking to Test New Strategies?

Does your company regularly test its marketing and advertising strategies? If so, it may be a good idea for you to test your trade show tactics as well.

You can test everything from your messaging, booth size, collateral, and signage. You could also test your lighting, exhibition layout, graphics, and hardware. If you test trade show strategies on a frequent basis, it may be best for you to look for a trade show display rental.
However, if you think you are ready to make a long-term commitment, and no longer see it necessary to try out different exhibition approaches, then acquiring an exhibition booth may be the best option for you and your business. Plus, having your own exhibition booth greatly reduces the total amount of time that you have to spend working with designers in a bid to plan the overall exhibition layout.

Pro Tip: Rent a booth if you are regularly testing new strategies, either for marketing or exhibition purposes. Buy if your company engages in limited testing.


4. Where Will I or Do I Exhibit?

Once you have determined the total number of events that you plan to attend on an annual basis, you will need to start mapping out each show’s geographical location. From the map, note down the locations where you spend most of your time in any given year.

If you find that you only exhibit within a single region or state, then your transportation costs are likely going to be very affordable. This means that you will easily be able to transport the booth, and its accompanying hardware from one show to the other with ease.

However, if your organization exhibits nationally, e.g., in Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Orlando in a single calendar year, it may be more beneficial and cost-effective for you to lease, as it will help do away with freight shipping expenses.

Pro Tip: Companies that exhibit regionally or within a single state should consider buying. Those that have to travel around the country within a calendar year will find it more beneficial to rent.


5. What Are Your Company Goals?

This is a question aimed at determining what you hope to achieve every time you attend a trade show or exhibition. Are you looking to network, arrange meetings, sell a product, or capture leads?

When you are trying to capture viable leads for certain products, renting makes more sense as it makes it easier for you to change the featured messaging and product on your booth. On the other hand, if you are interested in having a branded space that can be used to coordinate meetings, purchasing a booth will be the best option. The reason being that branded spaces do not require regular updates and can, therefore, be used as many times as is necessary.

Pro Tip: Rent a booth if you are looking to capture leads or are dealing with specific products. Buy if you want to engage in networking or are looking to hold meetings in the exhibition booth.

Deciding whether to buy or rent is often a tough decision. But this need not always be the case. Click here to check out available booths for your next trade show.