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Display Rental vs. Purchase

Another Trade Show Displays Tip:

This obviously is a topic that comes up quite often with exhibitors who are new to attending trade shows, as well as experienced exhibitors who are

looking to move up to a larger trade show display and are a little gun shy of the sticker price on the new one. In order that you won’t have any sleepless nights wondering what to do when you don’t have enough data to fill the information void, let me put a few things into perspective for you.

First of all, there are basic costs that won’t go away even if you rent the booth such as:

  • transportation (unless you rent from the show service contractor)
  • drayage
  • set up labor if needed
  • electrical

With smaller exhibits such as a pop ups, the answer is definitely to own the booth. The reason is simple; because you can purchase a pop up display without graphics for $1,500 or less, and the rental is going to cost at least $500. It would in all probability, be paid for in the first year so you should own it. Now, that wasn’t always the case because back in the 1990’s when just a fabric panel pop us cost $3,500-$3,800, renting was very popular with those who only needed a booth once or twice a year. Also, with pop up displays, the maintenance is normally very low so the major cost is the time spent finding a closet to roll it into for storage between shows. Trade Show Displays | Display Rentals

When you make the decision to move up a larger exhibit because your presentation demands a higher level of visibility, you have a whole new list of things to consider. Here’s a list of some of them. Ask yourself:

1) How many times a year will I need a booth this size and will I be able to get my money back inside of 4 rentals or less?

2) What is my real cost to store this booth including reviewing it before it gets shipped to the next show?

3) What is my real cost to own this booth including insurance both while it’s being stored and additional insurance to cover the transportation to the show and back.

4) If we factored in a dollar amount of 10% of the purchase price of the booth for repairs and general maintenance, how would that affect the balance in terms to renting verses owning? This takes into account that graphics will need to be repaired or replaced due to poor handling or normal wear and tear. This also applies to the crate or shipping cases as well which frequently need a little attention.

5) What’s the cost of an employee to oversee the ownership process as it relates to taking care of your new property? This not only relates to handling the booth itself, but also time spent in scheduling the shipping and receiving of the booth.

6) The hassle factor! Do you or does the person in your company that will be responsible for this new company asset, have the patience or the interest in performing the necessary chores related to ownership, it a responsible manner? If not, it can become a huge nightmare.

In the final analysis, it really comes down to how many times you’ll be using the new trade show display each year as to whether or not the math is even close and needs further evaluation. If it’s close, then the points mentioned above will become very important points to review and factor in when making your final decision.

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by Lowell Nickens,, LiinkedIn Profile