Trade Show Exhibit Rental Versus Convention Booth Purchase

Comparing a trade show exhibit rental versus a convention booth purchase can be a big project. Each of these methods will have some advantages but they can also include some drawbacks. The right choice could help you save money while increasing visitors to your display. You will need to look at the pros and cons of each method and then decide which one works best with your individual needs and your specific budget.

Trade Show Exhibit Rental

A trade show exhibit rental can be extremely cost effective.

A trade show exhibit rental can be extremely cost effective, especially when the company has a smaller budget to work with in the beginning. The individual circumstances are also relevant and the expected frequency of the shows and conventions attended should be considered as well. If you will be attending several shows a month then rental fees could become less cost effective than simply purchasing the displays outright.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Trade Show Exhibit Rental

If you choose a trade show exhibit rental there are some benefits and drawbacks that you should be aware of. The benefits that you may see with this method include:

  • Fewer service fees
  • A lower initial charge
  • No set up or tear down responsibilities
  • Flexibility with features and display capabilities
  • Ideal for newcomers and experienced show participants
  • Less spent in labor costs
  • No shipping expense
  • No need to store the convention booth when it is not in use

The possible drawbacks that may be experienced with this method can include:

  • Limited customization options in some cases
  • Rental fees can add up if the display is used frequently
  • Booking availability for some displays may be limited
  • You do not own the booth and display items
  • You may be financially responsible for any damage

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Convention Booth

Purchasing a convention booth instead of using a trade show exhibit rental also has some pros and cons. The advantages that this choice can offer include:

  • May be more cost effective and less expensive than renting if many shows are attended each year
  • Complete customization is possible so you can design your display from the ground up if desired
  • May be tax deductible as business equipment or property in some cases

Disadvantages of this pick may include:

  • Shipping costs
  • Labor charges for set up, delivery, and supervision of these processes
  • The materials will need to be stored safely when not in use
  • A higher initial cost
  • Service fees may be charged
  • Not ideal for beginners in most cases

Consider your Needs and Budget Both

When you are evaluating a trade show exhibit rental and comparing this with buying the booth instead you should look at your specific needs and unique budget. Both of these are important. If you have a display that is affordable but that does not draw in the crowds then you will still waste financial resources. If the perfect booth is beyond your budget then it is not an option regardless of how perfect it may be.

Which Method is more Cost Effective in your Case?

Only you can determine whether a trade show exhibit rental or convention booth purchase is the most cost effective choice in your individual situation. Consider how many times you will use the display each year and then compare this with the yearly cost of each method. Often renting can be a very affordable alternative but this is not always true.

Did you choose a trade show exhibit rental for your last show or do you own your displays?


  1. Matthew Waters says

    I have just started a company of my own selling camping equipment. There are several exhibitions around the country that would certainly be worth while having a stand at. I have been toying with the idea of buying my own booth but I am not sure it is worth it yet. My company is new and we are trying to keep our expenses to a minimum. Reading some of the points you made about renting makes me think that this would probably be the best way to go.

    • Design Factory says

      Matthew, trade show exhibit rental sounds like it would be a perfect fit for your start-up company. You can experiment a little to see what works best for you. Not having to worry about storing your exhibit will be taking another expense off your plate too. Good luck with your new company!

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