Exhibition Stands: Buying vs Hiring

Exhibiting at an industry event or trade show is a costly process at the best of times. Renting out floor space, paying staff expenses and preparing key marketing literature can easily consume a large proportion of your trade show budget – and that’s before you even have your exhibition stand sorted.

Your display stand is the biggest thing you will have to pay for, so it’s essential you choose the right one in order to maximise the return on your investment. Choosing between renting an exhibition stand or buying a portable exhibition stand one can be a daunting decision, so we’ve created this handy guide to help you make the most informed choice.

Before we delve into the pros and cons of hiring versus purchase, it’s important to establish some basic boundaries which should help narrow down your choice considerably.


If you attend less than three events a year, it’s probably not worth buying an exhibition stand. The cost of replacing graphics and revamping the set up of your stand to reflect an updated marketing campaign could quickly add up to the same amount of money – if not more – needed to purchase an entirely new one.

On the other hand, those who exhibit frequently and travel to promote their brand at smaller, localised events could easily reap the rewards of purchasing their own portable exhibition stand.


Depending on what system you have, exhibition stands aren’t always the smallest of items, so it’s paramount that you factor in storage space before you invest. If you work from a small office, exhibition stand hire may well be the most suitable option for you because it doesn’t require space to store the display stand between marketing events.


We know that sometimes, things don’t go as planned and events can crop up at the last minute. When this happens, it’s important you get your exhibition stand sorted as soon as possible. Typically, hire exhibition stands have a shorter turnaround because you don’t need to wait for delivery of the stand, but it’s fair to say that both rental and purchase displays can be turned around in relatively short lead times.

When you know how often you’ll use your exhibition stand, if you have enough storage space and what your deadline is, you should be able to identify whether a hire or purchase stand will suit you the best.

To give you more of an understanding between what rental and purchase exhibition stands have to offer, we’ve collated the key things you need to know about each option.

Rental Exhibition Stands

Hiring an exhibition stand provides a complete end-to-end service with minimal fuss and stress. 

XL Displays’ exhibition stand hire service includes:

  • Dedicated project manager who takes care of every detail
  • Rental of structural elements e.g. walls, arches and roof panels
  • Completion of technical drawings, 3D renders and amendments
  • Full colour, high definition graphics to suit frame
  • Handling of risk assessment and method statements (RAMS)
  • Choice of vinyl or carpet with multiple colour options 
  • Cable management and lighting fixtures
  • Delivery of the stand to the venue and collection after the event
  • Contracted installation, dismantling and removal of the stand by accredited exhibition stand contractors
  • Optional TV screens and monitor brackets and other interactive accessories 
  • Optional mix and match furniture including sofas, chairs, tables and bar stools

From the moment you order your rental exhibition stand, your account manager will take over. They will work with you to create a stand centred around your design brief and your marketing campaign.

You can choose from a wide range of our predetermined Integra® exhibition stand kits which range from 2m x 2m to 9m and above.

Alternatively, you can create your own bespoke design using our fixed-price exhibition stand rental service. You can mix and match different structural elements and exhibition furniture to create a bespoke layout tailored to your brand and your exhibition space.

Our in-house exhibition stand designers will create a 3D render of what your stand could look like; allowing you to visualise your display in a realistic format before you sign it off.

When you’ve given your design the all clear, your account manager will complete your risk assessment and method statements (RAMS) on your behalf.

When this is complete, you can relax until the day of your event. In the days leading up to your trade show, our team of expert exhibition stand contractors will be at the event venue to install your display. All you need to do is turn up on the day.

When the event is over, you can leave immediately. Our exhibition stand builders will return to the venue to dismantle your stand.

At the end of your event, you do own the graphics so you will have the choice of having them returned to you or our team can recycle them for you.

A common misconception of hire displays is that they look more worn in than brand new stands. Whilst the hardware is reused, it’s always inspected and prepped for another business to use at another event. The aluminium frames are extremely hardwearing and can be used time and again over the course of several years, making rental displays an eco-friendly solution.

Renting an exhibition stand gives you the choice of having a completely new exhibition stand for each event you attend. It is also ideal for businesses that are new to the world of exhibiting as you can test the water to what sort of return you are likely to get, before investing in your own exhibition stand. 

Purchase Exhibition Stands

Buying an exhibition stand is a great solution for brands who exhibit frequently and therefore require a stand that be easily transported.

We provide a wide range of portable exhibition stands for you to purchase, including pop up standslinked pop up standsfabric displays and roller banners.

Purchased displays are typically smaller than hire stands and this often gives people the impression that they aren’t as effective and high impact as rental stands, but that’s not true.

Systems like linked pop up stands and Centro display stands are completely modular and reconfigurable. This means you can adapt the hardware to suit your stand space and marketing campaign in the same way you can with hired displays.

You can easily update your exhibition stand with new graphics as and when they’re needed, so you need never worry that your hardware is out of date.

If you have a last-minute event, you don’t need to fret about not having a suitable display when you’ve already purchased an exhibition stand. Portable displays give you the freedom to exhibit at short notice events with minimum stress, therefore potentially opening you up to more opportunities to generate leads.

If you purchase a modular display, you can break it down and use different parts at smaller exhibitions; allowing you to really maximise the use out of your investment if you regularly attend events.

If you’re still unsure as to what type of exhibition stand is most suitable for you and would like to find out more about both our full range of exhibition stands or our exhibition stand hire service, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.