Whether you should buy or rent a trade show booth will depend on a few factors, including the type of business you run, your trade show and business goals, and how often you exhibit at trade shows. Here, we’ll list the pros and cons of buying or renting a trade show booth for your next exhibition or trade show experience.

Rent a Trade Show Booth: Pros and Cons

Renting a trade show booth has a number of benefits and drawbacks that businesses should consider:

Pros of Renting

  • Save money as a new exhibitor: If you’re just starting out in the trade show world, or don’t exhibit frequently, an exhibit rental may be the smarter financial option for your needs. By renting your trade show booth, you’re also paying for fees associated with the booth’s maintenance, including shipping, set up, and take down. For small businesses or those new to exhibiting, deciding to rent a trade show booth can be a great way to save money before committing to your own expo display


  • Invest in other display elements: With the money saved from renting a trade show booth, you can invest that cash into other elements of your trade show experience. Swag bags, physical collateral like handouts and brochures, and more are other key elements to consider when preparing your expo booth.


  • Stay flexible and creative:  Buying a trade show booth keeps you committed to a single design for every trade show that you exhibit going forward. But renting allows you to customize your display to appeal to different demographics at every show, and also makes adapting to the regulations of individual convention venues a bit easier. If you’re part of a growing business, renting a trade show display can help you adjust your expo experience as your business changes.


  • Test the waters: Renting a trade show booth creates a low-risk, high-reward testing stage for your branding and booth structure. Your company’s booth needs may vary depending on the trade show you’re attending, the venue, and the audience. With booth rentals, you can test market what display works best for your brand before investing in a larger, more long-term setup.


  • Manage your trade show schedule: As your company grows, or depending on the trade show scene in your industry, you may have to appear at multiple shows within a small window of time. With a single purchased booth, you may have to worry about shipping one display across the country in a rush. Renting your trade show booths can help you avoid this, and can ensure that you have a fresh, completely prepared display for every show you exhibit at.

Cons of Renting

  • Potential design limitations: Generally speaking, trade show booth rentals are great for companies that are not settled on one single booth design. However, with some trade show display companies, larger format or more intricate displays may only be available for purchase. Thankfully, working with Cardinal Expo means that booth renters can have access to a wide variety of displays, both big and small, without having to purchase their displays outright.

  • Long-term costs: For businesses who attend many trade shows annually, booth rental costs may become a less budget-friendly option over time. The one-time cost of buying a trade show booth may end up paying off for frequent exhibitors, while consistently renting out trade show displays becomes the more costly option.


  • Rental availability: Businesses looking to rent trade show displays need to be especially mindful of their show’s deadlines. Last-minute booth renters can find themselves with severely limited booth options, while those with purchased displays can avoid the stresses of the time crunch.


Buy a Trade Show Booth: Pros and Cons

Buying a trade show booth can be an excellent investment in your business’ success at exhibitions now and in the future. Here’s some important pros and cons to keep in mind before making your booth purchase:


Pros of Buying

  • Make an important investment: If you actively participate in multiple trade shows a year, investing in your own custom display may be more cost effective than renting, in the long term. While renting may be good for beginning exhibitors, putting funds toward a tried and tested booth layout can be a great option for dedicated and experienced exhibitors.


  • Perfect your trade show presence: When you know the ins and outs of your trade show booth, it becomes easier for you and your team to use it to the best of its ability. Purchasing your trade show booth can ensure that your team knows exactly how to set up and navigate your booth without worrying about a new layout for every show. Purchasing your display can help you learn the best ways to utilize and optimize your booth space for many years to come.


  • Capture the crowd’s attention:  When purchasing a trade show display built to last for many years, you have a great opportunity to invest in a display that truly stands out among the rest. Booth purchasers may be more open to investing in exciting display elements, such as video, custom lighting, and more that will let attendees and potential network connections know that you mean business.

Cons of Buying

  • Can be expensive: While buying your custom trade show booth may be a great long-term investment, it requires a lot of money upfront. If you’re currently working with a limited trade show budget, it may be best to continue renting your trade show booths until you’re prepared to handle the expense of a booth purchase.


  • Additional responsibilities: When you own your trade show display outright, your company will be in charge of managing its transport and storage. Not only will these tasks add to your already hefty trade show to-do list, you’ll also likely end up taking on extra costs related to the storage and shipping logistics of your display. Anyone considering buying a trade show booth should be well prepared to handle these additional responsibilities.

  • Less flexibility: Though it’s true that purchasing your trade show display can open you up to more extravagant display options, it also means committing your company to one specific set up for many years to come. As your business grows, changes, or rebrands, your display may no longer meet your needs the way it did when you first purchased it. Before making a trade show booth purchase, consider whether a purchased display will be able to meet your business’ trade show needs and goals in the long term.

    Want to Buy or Rent a Trade Show Booth? Call on Cardinal Expo!

    Whether you decide to buy or rent a trade show booth for your upcoming exhibition, Cardinal Expo is here for you. For three decades, we’ve navigated the ins and outs of the trade show circuit to provide our clients with the products and services they need to succeed as exhibitors. Not only do we offer award-winning trade show booths for any budget, we also provide expert-level trade show services

    From booth design to assistance on the expo floor, Cardinal Expo is your one stop shop for trade show booths, because we like to offer our clients the most tailored experiences in the trade show and convention industry. Let us help you stand out from the rest of the herd at any budget by contacting us today.


Contact Us Today

We at Cardinal Expo are here to answer any questions you may have, provide you with additional information, and create an effective solution for your exhibit needs.

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