Should I rent or buy my exhibit? This is a very common question for trade show exhibitors, and for good reason. While the answer isn't always easy and will vary from company to company, the decision on whether to rent or buy comes down to a few key factors.

Utilization

Put simply, if you purchase your exhibit, its total cost will decrease as you attend more shows. In contrast, when renting, more shows means more rentals and more expenses.

That being said, if you plan on investing in trade shows as a long-term part of your marketing and sales strategies, it’s probably a good idea to purchase an exhibit. If you’re new to trade shows and just want to dip your feet in the water to see how your company can benefit, you’ll most likely want to start with a rental.

Budget

Your budget is another major factor in your decision to purchase or rent your exhibit booth.

With a purchased booth, you’ll have to account for the cost of storage, as well as shipping to and from your trade shows.

Renting your exhibit from the areas surrounding your trade shows will allow you to save a little bit on shipping, however the cost of renting an exhibit for every trade show can quickly add up to the cost of owning one.

Trade Show Goals

Consider your goals for your upcoming trade show and any future trade shows. If you’re more focused on the short-term, renting an exhibit might be a viable option. Rentals allow you to sell products, connect with potential referral partners, and acquire leads almost as effectively as a custom, purchased exhibit would.

However, custom exhibits allow you to make a much bigger splash at trade shows because you’re able to customize every detail. You can really make your brand stand out from the cookie cutter booths that will undoubtedly fill up most of the floor. Having a custom exhibit can also help better enable your salespeople by having custom features that allow you to showcase and demo your products or services more effectively.

Flexibility

For newer, less established companies, rentals may be a smarter option as you hone in on your branding and decide on the best way to appeal to your target audience. Similarly, if you have any intention of rebranding your company, you’ll most likely want to stick with a rental.

However, it should be mentioned that nowadays, most exhibits are created in a modular fashion that allows them to be changed or reconfigured without additional customization.

Size of Your Exhibit

Generally, 10x10 exhibits give you the most bang for your buck in terms of rentals. As the size increases and your exhibit becomes more complex, the benefits of purchasing your booth will begin to outweigh the rental costs.

Customization

If you need a booth that's fully customizable with specific features, renting may not be an option. Generally, an exhibit house won't be able to meet your custom needs on a rental budget because they use prebuilt elements.

Rentals can be customized with graphics, but when it comes to unique or special components such as display features or original art displays, you'll most likely have to purchase your booth.

Trade Show Experience

Are you an experienced trade show goer? Do you have set objectives for your trade show program established within your company? If so, that probably means you plan on attending trade shows on a regular basis. Therefore, owning is probably a better option than renting because it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you’re still trying to figure out what works best for your company, consider renting. Rentals allow you to experiment without having the commitment of purchasing your booth. You can change things up, try different exhibit types, and figure out what works best for your company and your brand.

Still unsure on whether to purchase or rent your booth? Start a conversation with us and we can help you weigh the pros and cons based on your specific needs. We want to be with you on every step towards your trade show!