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Should You Rent Or Buy Your Next Trade Show Display?

Suppose you’re an experienced hand at exhibiting. You’ve attended more trade shows than you can remember and plan to attend many more down the road. But there’s a problem. Your current display, one that was considered state-of-the-art years ago, is falling apart. It also looks outdated, with colors and graphics that may have seemed modern a decade ago, but are out of sync with current design trends.

In short, you need a replacement. You need a trade show exhibit that attracts event attendees and gives your brand visibility. The challenge is finding one that suits your needs at a price your budget can afford.

You have two basic options: you can buy a brand new exhibit, complete with banner stands, kiosks, and table top displays. Or you can rent one. There are advantages to both options, which we’ll explore below. We’ll also discuss how to choose the best option given your priorities and financial circumstances.

Reasons To Purchase A Trade Show Booth

Buying an exhibit allows you to amortize its cost over numerous events. If you attend several events per year, this is likely to be the right option for you. We’ll use an example to demonstrate the reason.

Suppose you attend 5 events per year and purchase a display that costs $12,000. Your cost for the first year is $12,000. But it drops to $0 for years 2, 3, and 4 (for simplicity, we’re ignoring storage costs, depreciation, insurance, etc.).

Now, suppose you rent a booth for each show. Let’s assume the rental cost is $4,000. If you attend 5 events per year, your cost for the first year would be $20,000. You’ll spend another $20,000 during your second year, and so on. In this case, if you have the budget for it, you’d be better off purchasing a new display.

Another reason to buy is that you’ll have more control over your exhibit’s appearance. It will be designed according to your specifications. If you’ve spent considerable time and money establishing your company’s image and brand, you might want the control provided by a new exhibit system.

Benefits Of Renting A Trade Show Booth

Renting comes with its own set of upsides. When you rent, you avoid having to invest a large sum upfront. It’s a more economical approach; one that provides financial breathing room. That’s important if you’re working with a limited budget.

Renting also gives you the opportunity to employ different graphics, colors, banner stands, and table top displays for different events. You can tailor your image, presentation, and your marketing message to complement each event’s attendees.

Also, renting a booth allows you to avoid the costs associated with storage, installation, and damage during transport to the convention hall. The company that leases the booth to you is responsible for those costs. When you own an exhibit, you pay for these costs out of your own pocket.

Buy Vs. Rent: From Island Exhibits To Table Top Displays

Now that you’re familiar with the advantages of both options – buying a trade show booth versus renting one – it’s time to identify which option is best for you.

First, consider your budget in light of what you want to accomplish by exhibiting at trade shows. How much can you afford to spend on an exhibit? If you purchase one, will you be forced to forgo features that you need to effectively build your brand and communicate your marketing message?

Also, determine how many events you plan to attend over the next few years. If you only plan to attend 1 or 2 events per year, renting an exhibit that comes with quality banner stands and table top displays could be an ideal alternative to buying one.

Second, think about your short and long-term goals. Do you need the design flexibility that comes with renting a booth or do you need an exhibit that incorporates your graphics and perfectly suits your brand?

When the time comes to replace your trade show exhibit, table top displays, and other materials, keep in mind that renting and buying both come with advantages. The option that makes the most sense for you will depend largely on your budget and goals.

Skyline Miami (, the East Coast’s leading trade show exhibit provider, offers a range of displays to suit any budget. Whether you need to rent a large island exhibit or buy new table top displays in Fort Lauderdale, Skyline has an economical solution. To explore a portfolio of designs that will bring in attendees, visit

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