The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Buying Custom Booths

The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Buying Custom Booths

The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Buying Custom Booths

The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Buying Custom Booths

So you’re looking at your list of trade shows for the next year and wanting to set a strategy that will wow your audience and get results. Part of this decision-making process, of course, is figuring out whether to go with custom exhibit rentals or actually purchase custom booths. Which is more cost-effective, and which makes more sense for your business? Here are some pros and cons from an exhibit company that’s seen it all. 

The Wow Factor

First, it’s important to note that choosing to rent or buy doesn’t impact the quality of your booth. In fact, since an agency like ours doesn’t offer off-the-shelf rentals, we still provide the same wow factor whether you go with a rental or purchase. Our rentals are designed for each client, based on the specific show they’ll be attending and their unique goals. If you buy your own custom booth, on the flip side, you can have the same level of quality;  the difference is that you own it.

Costs of Renting vs. Buying

Your plans for use are the number one factor that should determine whether buying or renting makes the most sense for you. Rentals are generally priced so they’re more cost-effective than buying if you use them once or twice. But, if you use them three or more times, it’s typically more cost-effective to buy. Especially if your company takes the same booth to shows repeatedly with little to no changes, purchasing usually makes more sense.

Other Considerations

Here are a few pros to renting: 

  • Flexibility – Renting gives you more opportunities to change or refresh your booth. As an example, maybe your company exhibits at both RSA and Blackhat. Both shows are about cyber security, so they likely have a decent overlap in attendance. If you rent your booth, you could make anywhere from small to significant changes to your booth between the shows. So, even though someone may have seen you at RSA, your booth could be drastically different just a few weeks later at Blackhat and deliver another striking “wow” moment.
  • Potentially lower costs – When you rent, you have lower upfront costs and no storage costs, not to mention the entire rental may be more cost-effective overall if you’re only attending a couple of shows. 

Renting cons: 

  • Less control – Since you don’t own the booth, you can’t control what happens with it or its availability. Furthermore, costs are more unpredictable and you have less opportunity to dial it in how you want it. 

When it comes to buying, here are some of the pros:

  • Control – Your booth is yours so it’s always available and you can update/finesse it as much as you want, whenever you want.
  • Consistency – When you use the same booth repeatedly, you know what you’re getting so the setup process is smoother and costs are more predictable. 

Buying cons: 

  • Less flexibility – Once you’ve made a purchase, it’s yours and you’re essentially stuck with it until you can make another similar investment. 
  • Potentially higher costs – Upfront costs are higher than they would be with renting and you’ll need to pay ongoing storage costs to keep your booth stored when you’re not using it. 

As you can see, the issue of renting vs. buying isn’t completely clear-cut. Depending on your goals, budget, and trade show plan, one option will likely make more sense than the other. Either way, custom booths will up the ante at your next show and ensure your audience sees your brand in all the glory you deserve. Just give us a call to help you figure out whether renting or buying is your best bet, and how to get started. 

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