Your guide to hiring an exhibition stand

Hiring trade show stands is becoming increasingly popular. The ease and cost-effective nature of the hiring option has had a major influence on the market, so much so that we have decided to create this in-depth, dedicated guide full of all the information you need to hire your next exhibition stand.

At Quadrant2Design, we have over 23 years of exhibition stand hire experience. Meaning you are in good hands. This guide provides our industry expert knowledge, allowing you to make an informed decision when it comes to hiring a stand.

How can you hire an exhibition stand?

Exhibition stand contractors offering a hire service will carry a stock of stand-building components that can be used to create a range of different stand designs. Typically, the structure is hired, while the graphic panels (or cladding) will be purchased, as they are unique to the exhibiting company.

Types of Exhibitions Stand Hire Plans

Every contractor will have a different hire plan, based on their business model and the construction of their stands, however there are a few broad categories:

  • Hire to self-build – Pay to hire the hardware, and your graphic panels, you are responsible for building the stand.
  • Hire with Professional Installation – Pay to hire the hardware, your graphic panels and for professional installers.
  • Partial Hire – Common for traditional custom builds, where you may be able to hire parts of the stand while purchasing others.
  • Free-Hire with professional installation – all stand structure is hired free of charge, you buy your reusable graphics for your first show and re-use for future shows, you also pay for a professional installation and dismantle service.

Is there a fee for hiring an exhibition stand?

This depends on the stand contractor you hire your trade stand from and their hire service. For instance, here at Quadrant2Design, we have a unique free-hire plan, where the hardware is loaned completely free of charge.

Because our graphic panels are re-usable over many shows, after your first show you will have no cost for your hardware, or your graphic panels (unless you choose to update the content). This reduces the cost of re-hiring by around 60% compared to your first show. Perfect for budget conscious repeat exhibitors.

Other exhibition stand contractors may charge to hire framework or materials needed to build the core elements of the display, and graphics that are not reusable. It is important to identify if this is the case as soon as possible, as this will have a big impact on repeat exhibiting costs.

What type of exhibition stands are suitable for hiring?

Custom stands can be hired, but you need to select your stand contractor carefully and really understand what their “hire service” actually means. There are a number problems with traditional custom built stands, when it comes to a hire service.

  • Structures are often fabricated as “one-offs” and unique to one stand
  • Structures can be challenging to deconstruct without breaking them, making many one use only
  • Structures don’t pack down neatly, making storage more challenging
  • Often refurbishing fees are applied to bring the finishes back up to standard after shows

This all means that while a contractor may claim the solution is hireable, the elements you are actually hiring are limited to certain parts of the stand, and there may be fees which negate the cost benefit of hiring.

For that reason many exhibitors prefer hiring modular exhibition stands. Flexible structures that can be reused hundreds of times, by different exhibitors and different stand structures, which are then clad in a customers branded panels, make the ideal solution for hiring.

Modular stands while ideally suited to hiring, are often limited in design scope or interesting features. So what’s the answer?

Custom Modular stands, like Quadrant2Design’s Prestige Events System offer the best of both, custom designed structures, packed with features, with all the benefits of a modular solution. Making it the perfect option for a hireable exhibition stand which will grab attention at shows.

What is the quality of a hired exhibition stand?

Beware of hiring your exhibition stand from a ‘display’ type exhibition contractor! Many companies will attempt to hire you a banner or truss system that masquerades as a serious exhibition stand solution.

There are a small number of companies (Quadrant2Design is one) for whom exhibition stand hire is their primary and most popular solution. The quality of their hired exhibition stands is extremely important for these contractors.

Hired exhibition stand structures, usually comprising of aluminium frames, will have been used across many shows by many exhibitors. While the structures can have a huge lifespan, the continued construction, deconstruction and transport will mean these components will show signs of wear and tear.

This isn’t a problem if the entire structure is completely clad with seamless effect graphics, as every stand from Quadrant2Design is, but most solutions will have varying degrees of exposed aluminium framework, often between your branded panels, giving your brand-new stand a tired used feel.

Top Tip: Always check with a contractor to understand how much hired framework or structure is exposed, and ask whether graphic panels have any visible framework between them.

What size of exhibition stand is suitable for hiring?

If you’re hiring from a budget ‘display’ type company, they will lack the resources to supply large, or even medium size stands. These contractors are only suitable if you want to hire a cheap truss system or banner system for a small stand.

Reputable contractors can hire creative exhibition stands that will be designed to fit your stand space and exhibiting vision. At Quadrant2Design we custom-design our exhibition stands to fit a whole variety of spaces, from small shell-scheme up to the largest space-only sites.

The benefits & drawbacks of hiring an exhibition stand

To fully understand if hiring (or renting) your exhibition stand is right for your business its important to fully understand both the benefits and the drawbacks. In general terms the benefits of hiring your exhibition stand include

  • No storage is required between exhibitions 
  • Lower up-front costs 
  • Reduced costs when re-hiring 
  • Flexibility to redesign
  • Sustainable exhibiting 
  • Easy exhibiting

The drawbacks of hiring your exhibition stand, on the other hand, include

  • There is no one-off investment
  • The cost-effectiveness falls if you exhibit frequently and pay to hire the structure
  • You will have ‘middlemen’ ties to each event
  • Variable quality of hired structure
  • Beware of hiring anything from a ‘Display’ type company

Why hire an exhibition stand?

Installation service
Installation services are much more cost-effective when hiring compared to purchase, so if you are looking for professional installation service, hiring your stand is almost always the best option.

Effective use of Budget
Hiring spreads your budget throughout your exhibiting calendar, or a number of years, taking the need for large one-off investments out the picture.

If finding space to store an exhibition stand in between events is considered a difficulty, hiring a stand is a great option. Due to the nature of the service, after the event, the hardware of the stand is returned to the supplier, making your exhibiting life much simpler.

How do you assemble a hired exhibition stand?

The assembly of the hired exhibition stand massively depends on the component which makes up the display.

For example, hiring a custom-built stand involves many days of on-site labour as a number of unique, complex materials are used to create the display. Tools, paint and solvents will be used in abundance during the assembly process, increasing the costs even further.

Hiring a modular exhibition stand is quite the opposite. Modular options, just like our exclusive Prestige Events System use no tools, paint or solvents to create premium bespoke displays. Typically, the framework is hired with the graphics simply attaching to the framework. The hardware is extremely easy to assemble, allowing for either professional installation, or self build within one build day.

However, the assembly process is completely down to the type of hiring you and your company decide to explore when using a contractor’s services.

Professional install Vs Self Build of hired stands

Here at Quadrant2Design, we offer two services for hiring an exhibition stand.

Free-Hire comes with professional project management, installation and free-loan of the exhibition stand structure. This plan delivers hired exhibition stands that look brand new within a commercially effective package. Around 90% of our clients use this service.

It is as flexible as it is cost-effective, providing plenty of opportunities for future exhibiting. Quadrant2Design hold large stock levels of the Prestige Events System, so we can offer the hardware to our clients very easily. Typically the cost of re-hiring is around 70% lower than your first hire project, as your graphic panels can be re-used time and time again.

Self-build is for exhibitors who are hiring their stand, but whose exhibiting circumstances make self-building the most commercially sensible option. This option is provided with free training at our main offices in Poole, Dorset.

The self-build stands provided by Quadrant2Designs are still custom-designed and because of the Prestige Events System, multiple features can be included, providing a unique, bespoke feel to the stand without professional installation.

After the show

When the exhibition has come to a close and your chosen service includes a professional breakdown of the stand, the designated team will swiftly take over allowing you to leave stress-free with everything taken care of. Quadrant2Design will store the graphics on the hired framework free of charge for our customers, as long as they exhibit at least once a year.

If you decide to self-build, the process of dissembling the stand is your responsibility, after that, you will be required to return the hired kit on an agreed date.

How to find a great exhibition stand hire contractor

To make this decision, all services and options must be thought about carefully. There is no doubt that it is an important decision to be made, but your choice should reflect what you desire the most out of this investment for a stand.

Before choosing your exhibition stand partner, read our article about due diligence. This outlines the important questions to ask when choosing a stand designer to work with.

Your partner for bespoke exhibition stands

Ready to hire an exhibition stand for your next event? 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 to get a free design proposal, with no obligation.

Hiring vs purchasing

Still undecided whether you should hire or buy your exhibition stand? We have a fantastic, dedicated guide covering each option, providing you with expert tips to aid in your decision-making. If you are still undecided on the best exhibiting solution for you, we highly recommend you give it a read.