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Should you Buy or Hire an Exhibition Stand?

If you’re getting ready to exhibit at a trade show, it's very important to think carefully about whether to buy or hire your exhibition stand. Whilst stand rental has grown in popularity in recent years, this doesn't necessarily mean it is the right option for every business.

Buying vs hiring an exhibit each offer their own benefits, so to help you decide which is most suitable, we have compiled a list of the main advantages of each option, along with some useful tips to help you maximise your return on investment from the event.

Advantages of Buying an Exhibition Stand

1. Attending a number of shows?

If your company exhibits at numerous trade shows each year, or you have plans to start, then buying an exhibition stand outright is certainly a more cost-effective option compared to hiring.

This is because the cost of the stand can be rationed across the number of events you are doing, so the more you have planned, the cheaper the stand will become and the more ROI you will get from each event!

2. Stands can be updated

There is a common misconception that once you have committed to buying an exhibition stand you are stuck with a display that soon becomes redundant once you change your branding or it gets damaged.

This is not the case however, as there are a number of exhibition systems that can be altered after they have been purchased.

For example, modular exhibition systems offer numerous different configurations and can be modified at a later date to suit different exhibiting spaces. What's more, changing your graphics is easy with most portable displays, so you can ensure your message remains relevant and up-to-date.

Modular stand in situ

3. Faster to build and breakdown

The beauty of buying an exhibition stand is the speed and efficiency at which they can be erected compared to a hiring a custom made stand which can take days to construct.

Nowadays, most display stands are pop up by nature, so build and breakdown will only take a matter of minutes for any member of your sales team, which is crucial given the time constraints placed on them by event organisers.

4. Suitable for a range of display settings

A further advantage of buying a display stand outright is that they offer the increased versatility to be used in a range of display settings. Evidently, this is because they are often much smaller and portable than a custom-made exhibition stand.

This means you can exhibit at all manner of events with the same exhibit, enabling you to increase your brand exposure and generate more leads.

Advantages of Hiring an Exhibition Stand

1. Stress-free exhibiting

Hiring an exhibition stand boasts a much more stress-free experience than buying, as far as the exhibitor is concerned.

This is because most reputable stand contractors offer a complete end-to-end service, in which design, build, breakdown and disposal are taken care of.

This presents further benefits, as hiring a stand gives you the ability to tap into the expertise of the supplier, so you can guarantee you will have a helping hand every step of the way.

This can be especially important if there are any mishaps on the day of your event, as the contractor will be prepared with additional supplies for such eventualities.

Cleverbit Stand Design & Build

2. Ideal for international events

With the international events industry gathering pace year on year, there has never been a better time to exhibit abroad.

For one-off events where you are looking to leave a lasting impression amongst attendees, hiring a custom-made exhibition stand is advantageous. As logistics are taken care of by the contractor, you’ll only have to worry about getting your team to the event, giving you plenty of time to polish up your sales pitch.

Furthermore, if you chose to exhibit at one particular show every year, hiring a custom made exhibition stand is a good option as this will allow you to update your stand every time you attend, ensuring your promotional message remains fresh.

Best global trade show events.

Up-and-Coming Exhibiting Hotspots:

  • Canada

  • Switzerland

  • UAE

  • Singapore

  • Hong Kong

3. Freedom to customise your stand

Despite modular exhibition stands offering some level of customisation, there is no doubt that hiring a custom-made exhibition stand gives you the power to create a stand that is distinctive to your company, thanks to endless design capabilities.

For example, choosing to hire gives the exhibitor access to technologies such as LED display walls, interactive screens, iPad stands, monitors, lighting etc, which allow you to offer a truly unique experience for your attendees. Clearly, it would be too expensive to buy all of this equipment outright, so in this case hiring would be a more suitable option.

Pimcore Exhibition Stand Design & Build

4. Creates a professional image

Another advantage of hiring an exhibition stand is that they possess far more distinctive features than a typical modular or pop-up stand. This ensures your stand has a unique design that is exclusive to your brand,  improving your brand’s reputation in the process. This is especially important if you are launching a new product at your event, where creating a good first impression is vital for achieving rapid adoption and engagement.

Similiarly, if you are exhibiting at a venue for the first time, hiring a bespoke exhibition stand is the best way to create a buzz amongst regular attendees who will be unable to ignore your presence.

5. More eco-friendly

Despite the recent surge in environmentally-friendly products within the exhibition industry, in reality not all suppliers use sustainable materials to build exhibition stands. When choosing a supplier, look for those who use materials that are 100% reusable, recyclable, and sustainable to build your bespoke exhibition stand.

Compare this to a company who purchase a display stand every year, reusing no materials from their previous stand, and most likely sending this to a landfill after the event. Clearly, we can see that hiring is a much eco-friendlier option in this situation.

Although this may not seem a critical success factor affecting your event, it is still something that resonates highly amongst potential customers, with 71% willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products, and 90% threatening to boycott companies who adopt irresponsible business practices. Granted, the attendees aren’t there to purchase your eco-friendly exhibition stand, but by adopting responsible practices this can lead to trust, brand loyalty and a positive image for your company.


Overall, choosing whether to buy or hire an exhibition stand will largely depend on a number of factors, such as your budget, how often you exhibit, what you are promoting and the image you are trying to portray, as these will dictate which option is most suitable to your business' needs.

Whilst this is by no means set in stone, if you are a start-up business on a tight budget, selling low-margin products, then buying a display stand outright would be a more cost-effective option. Buying a conventional display stand also offers increased practicality for exhibitors attending a number of different shows where portability and efficiency are key.

Similarly, a medium to large-sized organisation with a larger marketing budget, promoting high-value products/services at lucrative venues, would find hiring a more rewarding option. This is because it is a great way to create a wow-factor amongst visitors and helps portray a professional image, lending itself to one-off events such as international trade shows or product launches.

Require more information on buying a stand? Please visit our Buying an exhibition stand page.

Similarly, if you require further information on hiring a custom exhibition stand, please visit our Exhibition stand hire page.

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