Some clients that are new to exhibiting are in awe of the fact that its possible to get a highly customized look even if they don’t own the booth. Conversely, some clients who own a booth occasionally find they need “something” beyond what is already owned. Budget is, and always should be, a consideration so when we work on a design solution among those “Must Consider” items are to blend usage, needs and efficiency. Here are some of the determining factors used to address the own vs. rent question.
Many exhibits utilize a hybrid approach of renting standard structural or hardware components then owning custom graphics as well as whatever limited structural elements need to be customized. While renting vs. owning may be part of the design process, in most instances it’s more of a financial decision than one that should limit your design options.
The frequency of usage is a good place to start in making the decision. While the degree of customization and the ratio of hardware to graphics will impact this guideline, usually once you plan to use an exhibit between 3 and 5 times owning it makes sense. Owning something that is structurally and graphically reconfigurable can expand your usage (think of tinker toys that can be put together in different shapes).
Ownership of a tradeshow exhibit may bring additional expenses based on how you manage that asset. Are you paying to store it somewhere? Do you incur booth prep or return to storage fees? Will you have to pay for proper crating? These expenses may all go away with a rental solution.
Rentals maximize your flexibility for different needs, sizes, locations and aesthetic changes. However, frequent changes may increase your over-all design or graphic costs. Rentals might be expensed from your corporate operations budget whereas owning a booth could be a capital expense (you can still pull the dollars from an operations budget if you purchase to own it via a lease payment plan).
Timing, too, can also be a consideration. Sometimes the identical booth can be rushed same day out the door as a rental but if you wanted to purchase it the production lead times could be longer or “owning” might involve a rush fee. If it is your first time as an exhibitor and you don’t know if there will ever be a second time, that’s a great reason to rent!
Whether owning or renting, on the show floor you want to stand out, get noticed and allow the booth/exhibit/environment to proudly call attention to your brand.