Your First Trade Show: Should You Buy or Rent an Exhibit?

Your First Trade Show: Should You Buy or Rent an Exhibit? Banner

Exhibiting at your first trade show can be an exciting experience. From generating leads and closing deals to networking with your peers, the right trade show can open up a world of new, interesting opportunities for your business.

However, it can also be a stressful, challenging process. One of the most difficult decisions for many first-time exhibitors is whether to rent or buy their trade show booth.

While both options offer advantages, there are specific benefits that can make renting or buying a better choice for your business.

In this guide, we’ll compare the benefits of renting your trade show exhibit and buying your own custom booth, all from the perspective of a first-time exhibitor. We’ll also look at the long-term advantages and disadvantages of each approach, from cost to convenience.


The Benefits of Renting

For most first-time exhibitors, renting a trade show booth is the better option. This is because renting gives you extra convenience and value for money, both of which are important for a first-time exhibitor.

The biggest advantage of renting your booth is that you’ll be able to take part in the trade show at a lower cost. Instead of purchasing your own exhibit, you can customize a rental exhibit for a small fraction of the cost. If you’re part of a small business, this can make a big difference.

The second largest advantage of renting is the convenience factor. Since you’ll return the booth after the event, there’s no need to worry about storing your exhibit. After the event is over, you’ll enjoy a smooth, stress-free process that allows you to return to your normal day-to-day tasks.

Finally, there’s the lack of storage needed when renting an exhibit booth. There’s no equipment to store or dispose of and there is not a long, difficult process of selecting displays and designs. Instead, the process is turnkey, saving a huge amount of time for your business.

In short, if you’re part of a small or mid-sized business and want to take part in a trade show at the lowest cost and highest level of convenience, renting a booth is almost always the better option for your business.

The Benefits of Buying


Buying a trade show booth or more accurately, designing your own custom trade show booth also has advantages. It allows you to stand out with a unique customized design, setting your brand apart from the competition. In some cases, it can also be cheaper over the long term especially if your company attends a few trade shows throughout the year.

The biggest advantage of buying is the long-term financial impact. While renting a trade show booth is cheaper in the short term (and thus ideal for first-time exhibitors looking to lower their financial risks), buying almost always ends up costing less over the long term.

Buying a trade show booth also makes exhibiting at multiple events over the course of the year far easier. If you plan to take part in several trade shows in your local area (or in nearby cities), being able to reuse your own booth can be very convenient and storage cost is justified.

Finally, there’s the customization factor. While you can customize certain aspects of a rented trade show booth to suit your needs, the level of control you have over the design and layout just isn’t the same as it is with a fully customized, purchased booth.

Which Option is Best?

For most first-time exhibitors, renting a trade show booth is the superior option. However, the best all-around approach is to talk to an experienced trade show exhibit about your goals and objectives from the trade show or event.

We specialize in helping businesses of all sizes make an impact at trade shows. Whether you need help as a first-time exhibitor or want to improve on your last trade show, our expert team can provide the actionable, results-focused advice you need to excel at your next trade show.

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