As an exhibitor, you have the option to either buy your exhibition stand or hire one for the duration of the show. Whether you hire or buy your exhibition stand depends on the nature of your company, how hands-on you intend to be and the particular circumstances and nature of your exhibiting.

Most of our customers prefer to hire their exhibition stand. However, buying your stand also offers a variety of benefits and around 20% of our clients choose this option.

In this guide, we will cover the benefits of both hiring an exhibition stand and buying your exhibition stand, so you can make an informed decision when planning your next event.

Ask yourself these questions

1. How many shows will we attend over the next five years?

Hiring an exhibition stand will have a lower upfront cost and could save you money if you’re not planning to attend many events, or have smaller but consistent annual budgets. Remember, buying your exhibition stand could be more cost-effective in the long run if you attend multiple shows, where your stand spaces don’t vary greatly and you don’t need to update your branding, messaging or stand structure often.

Take a look at your exhibition calendar and any other events you may want to attend. How many shows are you considering? If you have several dates booked, then buying a stand may be a more appropriate option for you.

Rule of thumb: It isn’t worth buying an exhibition stand if you either intend to use it less than 3 times a year or if you need flexibility over stand design.

2. Do we want to install the stand ourselves?

Now consider whether you want to self-build or take advantage of your contractor’s professional installation service. You are able to choose either build option, whether you are buying or hiring your exhibition stand.

If you are considering self-building, you need to assess whether you have a team who are willing and able to get hands-on building and breaking down your stand. Quadrant2Designs stands are some of the easiest to build on the market, but your team will still need to invest time in training.

Installation services allow you to walk onto a completed stand ready to exhibit and walk off the space at the end of the show, in the knowledge that a professional stand builder will soon arrive to deconstruct your stand. Professional build and dismantle services will be more cost-effective when hiring a stand. In some cases, like on Quadrant2Designs Free-hire plan, the installation is included within the hire price as standard.

3. Do we have the space/resources to conveniently store the stand?

Exhibition stands can be bulky to store, so you need to consider this. If you hire your stand, you do not need to store it. If you buy it, you will have to have space at your office or rent specialist storage for when the stand is not in use, which will be the vast majority of the time.

Another consideration is the type of exhibition stand you are hiring or purchasing. If the stand is modular, storing the stand will be much easier as the framework compacts down into a fraction of the size. If the stand is custom-built, storing materials which are non-compactable will be difficult and expensive if you do not already own the required space.

Some contractors will charge storage, however Quadrant2Design offer free storage of customers’ graphic panels when exhibiting on any hire plan.

4. Where am I going to exhibit?

If you are exhibiting globally and have your own logistics team, purchasing a stand and self-building is a popular method. It allows you to transport your stand from show to show, rather than returning the hired equipment to your stand supplier after each event. If you are exhibiting primarily in the UK and Europe, hire and installation services remain very competitive and very popular.

Also, read Exhibition Planning Template.

5. What type of stand do I want?

It will also depend on the type of exhibition stand you choose.  If you want a custom-built stand, these generally have to be purchased and are difficult to reuse.  If on the other hand, you choose a modular stand, these are available to rent or buy.  Our custom modular stands will give you the look of a custom-built stand with the advantages of a modular stand.  Hiring or buying a modular stand will give you these benefits:

  • They are easy to assemble by one or two people with no need for specialist tools.
  • The end result is an impressive, unique 3D stand with seamless graphics.
  • You can have integrated product display cases or literature racks.
  • You can incorporate AV equipment into them to draw attention.
  • You can go tall to tower above the competition.
  • They pack away into boxes which are easy to store.
  • You can transport them easily in an estate car or small van.
  • They are reusable, so a sustainable option, and can be reconfigured for a fresh look.

Hire vs Buy Myth Busting

Installation When Buying

A common misconception is that when you buy an exhibition stand it is your job to build and dismantle it at the event. The truth is that it is entirely up to you. A good contractor will be able to offer an installation service whether you buy or hire.

Hiring Custom Stands

A traditional custom-built stand is difficult to reuse as their construction methods don’t lend themselves to dismantle and storage. While you may be able to re-hire elements of a custom build stand, you’re likely to pay refurbishing fees and for the reproduction of sections of a stand. However, there are ways to hire a custom designed stand without the ongoing costs.

Custom-modular exhibition stands are the best of both worlds, designed to your exact needs and packed with interesting design elements, but still 100% reusable and reconfigurable. They easily adapt to different venues, floor spaces and shows. Custom-modular stands are available to hire with Quadrant2Design.

Reasons to hire

A full contractor service makes exhibiting easy

Most contractors will offer you the full service when you hire an exhibition stand from them. You don’t have to worry about the installation, dismantle or project management. Hired stands offer stress-free exhibiting.

Effective use of budget

If you have a regular budget, hiring an exhibition stand would be highly recommended. The initial upfront cost is lower for a rental and with certain plans, like our Free-hire plan, re-hire costs can be up to 70% less than your initial stand.

Less waste, more sustainable

Hired exhibition stands don’t end up in the skip. Their reusable, individual components have long life spans. Stand structure, which is not seen once the stand is finished, is used by many exhibitors over a year, making the carbon footprint of these components far lower than if they are used for a handful of exhibitions every year.

The flexibility to redesign

Hiring your modular exhibition stand means you aren’t tied to one option. You can completely redesign the structure, graphics and additional design features for every show you attend.

No need for storage

Finally, yet importantly, when you hire an exhibition stand there is no need to store it in between shows. The contractors whom you hire it from will take it away with them, ready to reuse it at another show. This can save you time, money and space.

Large Corner exhibition stand for Wild Frontiers, curved design and 4m high-level branding.

Reasons to buy

A one-off investment

Once you’ve bought an exhibition stand, it’s yours. That’s one less thing for you to worry about when planning your future shows.

Cost-effective in the long term

Hired exhibition stands may look cheaper on the initial quote, but in many cases, it is more cost-effective to purchase your stand if you plan to exhibit at multiple shows and self build. The one-off cost reduces the investment per show. This does rely on using similar stand spaces and locking in your branding and messaging for an extended period of time.

You’re in charge

If you buy your exhibition stand, you are in charge of transporting, building and dismantling it. This cuts out the middlemen. You won’t be relying on other people to take care of your stand. Find out more about purchasing and self-build here.

That being said, many suppliers will offer exhibition stand installation as an additional service, so don’t let this put you off.

Update and upgrade

There is no need to buy a brand-new exhibition stand if you change branding or launch a new product. Simply update the graphics, expand your stand structure or upgrade integrated design features to breathe new life into your exhibit. Quadrant2Design still offer a lifetime free design service, even when you purchase and self-build.

Less risk when exhibiting at new shows

With the stand already purchased, the investment to attend a new show is smaller. You can take advantage of that by buying floor space at new shows and testing the water with shows you’ve never exhibited at before.

Quadrant2Design team building a stand

What is Quadrant2Design’s Free hire plan?

Still can’t decide whether you want to hire or buy an exhibition stand? Our free hire pricing plan is the solution for you. Why would you want to pay to hire your stand, when we will let you use the hardware for free?

With our free hire pricing plan, you will get:

  • All stand hardware free of charge
  • Dedicated Project management
  • Professional installation and dismantle
  • Premium, seamless colour graphic panels
  • Lifetime free design
  • Free storage of your graphics between shows

You get all the benefits of buying an exhibition stand as well as the great value associated with hiring. But you don’t pay to rent the hardware.

Every Free Hire exhibition stand is fully customised according to the brief that you provide. Our team integrate audio-visual elements, product showcases and unique design features to bring your brand to life.

The graphics are yours. Reuse them across a busy exhibition calendar, or take advantage of our free lifetime design service to explore new design options.

Free Hire exhibition stands are the secret to easy exhibiting. With dedicated project management, professional installation and dismantling, you won’t have anything to worry about.

The icing on the cake is our Free Hire pricing plan is as cost-effective as buying an exhibition stand. Once you’ve bought your graphics, you can hire the hardware at no cost as many times as you like. The only expense will be in the project management, installation and dismantling. This means your re-hire cost will likely be 70% less than your first stand.

Find out more about our exhibition stand hire services and get a free mock-up of what your stand could look like.

Quadrant2Design team checking an exhibition stand

Hire vs. Buy an exhibition stand: summary

Hopefully, by this point, you have decided whether you are going to hire or buy your next exhibition stand.

You understand the benefits of hiring a stand:

  • Easy exhibiting
  • Waste-free! Sustainable solution
  • Cost includes international events
  • Professional, customisable branded graphics
  • Flexibility to choose new solutions for future events

But you’ve also seen the benefits of buying an exhibition stand:

  • One-off investment
  • Cost-effective over multiple shows
  • Everything stays in-house
  • Faster build-up and dismantle
  • Update and upgrade, no need to replace

If that wasn’t enough to help you make a decision, you’ve learnt more about Quadrant2Design’s Free Hire pricing plan, the only solution in the UK that allows you to rent a custom modular exhibition stand without huge fees for hiring the hardware.

Check out our full guide to hiring your exhibition stand

Ready to book your stand for your next show? Our design team are eager to speak to you and waiting for your call. Please email us at or call us on 01202 723 500.