Should You Rent Or Buy Your Trade Show Display?

Woman holding a sign that says "rent" and another that says "or buy?"

Posted on 24, July, 2023

Last Modified on 24, July, 2023

The decision to exhibit at a trade show is an exciting one. It’s an opportunity to get your brand in front of an audience you may not otherwise get to reach, and to expand your list of clients and customers. There’s so much build up to the big day – from developing your marketing plan to creating your literature and ordering your giveaways to planning your trade show booth.

Because a trade show is such a big investment, you want everything to be perfect. But when it comes to creating an eye-catching display that will draw in the crowds, there is a lot to consider. Who is going to design the graphics, where are you going to order your displays from, and should you rent or buy your trade show display?

You may never have thought of renting, but it can be a great option for you depending on your business and its needs. There are a number of factors that should go into the decision to rent or buy, which we’ve outlined below.

Time and Cost

A trade show booth rental is a great option for any exhibitor, but keep in mind that you often have to prepare months ahead of time if that’s the path you’re choosing to take. You’ll need to get a quote, reserve your booth, create your artwork and send it off to be printed, then the whole thing will need to be shipped to your show which often takes some coordination. There are several factors that may make renting a better option for your brand which we’ll get into more later, but we just want to make sure you know a rental often can’t be secured just a few weeks before a show. A purchased booth can have a much tighter timeline, though we still recommend giving yourself ample time to make sure you have it well before you need it.

You’re also going to want to consider the budget you’ve set for your trade show display. Rental booths often come with a higher price tag, but if this is your one and only trade show and you want to make a major impact, a rental display can be worth every penny. If you’re going to purchase a display you might be able to spend less and have the investment last longer but it may not have the same impact as a rented trade show booth.

Frequency and Flexibility

If you only have one show planned and are looking to make a major impact, renting could be the best option for you. Rental displays allow you to create a space that might be out of budget if you’re only planning on using it once. If you plan on making trade shows a regular part of your marketing efforts, however, investing in your own booth displays might be the best option because you’re sure to get your money’s worth out of multiple uses. If your graphics update between shows don’t worry! You can simply purchase replacement graphics so you don’t have to replace the hardware as well.

But if you’re not sure what type of display is right for you and don’t want to invest until you have a better idea of what fits your brand, renting can serve as a sort of “try before you buy” solution. You’ll have to return the display after your show and can always rent it again if it’s the right fit for you, but having to go through the rental process over and over again can become cumbersome, so at some point you’ll want to consider purchasing your own trade show booth display so you have nothing holding you back from exhibiting at any show, at any time.


The great thing about a rental booth is once your show is over you simply pack it up and ship it back to us with no need to worry about storage or who is going to transport the display and how. There is no upkeep necessary for a rental booth short of making sure you take care of it during the show and return all pieces properly.

If you’re going to purchase a display you’ll need to think about how to keep it in the best condition so it can be used over and over again. This includes keeping track of all pieces of the hardware, including things like screws, mounting brackets, assembly tools, and more, and making sure the unit is properly stored in the right conditions to extend the display’s longevity. If you take care of your display it can be used for years, but just remember investing in a display does come with upkeep, so make sure you’re prepared to commit to that.


When you purchase a trade show display you can pick and choose which elements you’d like to include – everything from illuminated backdrops to retractable banner stands, to table throws and even digital multimedia solutions like monitors and kiosks. With so many options out there you can make a trade show booth display that is truly unique to your brand, and pieces can be added or taken away to keep your space fresh for each new show. Updating your custom graphics is always an option if your marketing message changes, but if you simply want a consistent, memorable brand image then a recognizable purchased display might be just what you need to keep the crowds coming back.

Though there may be some flexibility with a rental booth, often what you see is what you get and your only real option for customization is to create eye-catching graphics that will draw people into your space. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because rental booths often offer fixtures and configurations you might not be able to achieve with a purchased display. These designs are often modern and cutting edge, making your brand look professional and put together in a way you might not be able to achieve any other way.

Whether you decide to rent or buy your trade show booth display, you are setting yourself up for success. What it comes down to in the end is what is right for your brand, but if you’re still not sure don’t hesitate to contact us and we can help you make the decision easier. We want you to have the best trade show possible, so we will do whatever we can to point you in the right direction for you.

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