Here’s the short answer.
On average, renting costs about one-third of the price of purchasing a similar stand. If you are going to use the stand more than two times, you are most likely going to be better off purchasing one. If you plan to attend just one trade show, hiring is the better choice.
Here is a more detailed answer comparing other factors more than just the cost and the pros and cons of renting vs buying.
No recurring storage costs
With renting, you won’t have to pay for any storage costs because, after the show, you have no commitment towards the stand.
On-going storage costs
With buying, you would most certainly need to pay a storage facility to store the booth for you.
No recurring maintenance costs
With renting, you won’t have to pay for any maintenance costs such as repairs or refurbishments.
On-going maintenance costs
There will always be wear and tear for every booth. With a purchased booth, you will have to pay for any repairs or refurbishments for the stand. The industry average for on-going costs is around 3-5% of the total exhibit.
No international shipping required
If you occasionally attend shows in a foreign destination, renting from a local supplier will save you on shipping costs and other hassles like custom regulations.
International shipping required
If you occasionally attend shows in a foreign destination, the costs to ship your booth from one country to another will become very expensive. On top of that, customs regulations can add unnecessary complexity and cost to your trade show budget.
Flexibility to try multiple designs and layouts
With renting, you have the ability to switch booth sizes for each show. You also have the flexibility to try and experiment with multiple designs and layouts before committing to one.
Switching will be hard
With buying, it becomes difficult to change your initial design to accommodate a new booth size. For example, if your booth is designed to fit a 3×3, turning it into a 6×6 will require more design time and investment.
With a rental booth, there may be a limitation on how much customization the supplier will do for you. That means your booth might look generic and not stand out during the show.
The sky is the limit
Customization is unlimited. The only factor is your budget and the law of physics.
Availability isn’t guaranteed
With renting, there might be a risk of not having the booth you want available in stock. Even if you do find the one you like, availability isn’t guaranteed because essentially everyone else has access to the same inventory as you.
No availability risk
If you own the stand, there is no risk of availability.
More expensive after three trade shows
Renting might be the more affordable option vs buying. However, renting will become more expensive after the third trade show or maybe even after the second show.
The more shows you attend, the better the ROI
Buying an exhibit might require more upfront capital than renting. However, after the third show buying becomes the better option than renting. On top of that, you will have your own exhibit at the end of the day.
Which do we recommend?
Buy a modular display system like TRIGA® Exhibition Stands.
A modular exhibition stand like TRIGA® is like a custom stand that is flexible and at a fraction of the price.