Are Used Trade Show Booths a Good Idea?

First impressions always count for a lot and that is certainly true when you are promoting your business at a trade show, which is why you want to consider carefully whether it is a good idea or cost-effective to invest in a new booth or if you can find a more budget-friendly way instead.

One idea would be to rent your next exhibit, for example, or could you get away with acquiring a used booth?

Here is a look at some of your main options and what the various pros and cons are with each scenario.

Age considerations

Bearing in mind the overriding desire to make a good impression when you are promoting your company at a trade show you don’t really want to be using a booth and display that has seen better days.

It is worth bearing in mind that the typical lifecycle of an exhibit display is somewhere between three and seven years, but that range is highly dependent on how well looked after it is, how much use it has had, and what sort of repairs and maintenance it has been subjected to over that period of time.

The other fundamental point to consider is that styles and marketing strategies are constantly evolving and there is always the risk that your company might look outdated if the trade show booth contributes to that impression.

Take an overall view

There are a number of relevant factors that you need to take into consideration before reaching a final decision on whether you can continue to use your old booth or look for more suitable alternatives.

If you have a major competitor who often shadows you at the shows and they have upped their game with a bigger and better stand this could be the motivation for following suit.

Make a list of all of the objectives that you want to achieve from exhibiting at a trade show and then evaluate whether the booth that you currently have will allow you to achieve those aims or not.

Regular exhibitor?

Cost is always a key consideration and one of the ways of working out what your budget should be for a booth and what sort of expenditure you can justify is to calculate how many shows you are likely to attend over the next 2-3 years.

If you are going to be a regular feature at the majority of industry events throughout the year it makes sense to try and create a budget that allows you to invest in a setup that will last the pace and look the part every time.

If you only exhibit at a couple of events each year you might decide that it is hard to justify buying a booth.

The alternatives would be to either look at refurbishing and refreshing what you already have, if that is possible, or you could look at renting a professional display to create the right impression every time you commit to a show.

Always think about your Image and brand

It is worth reiterating that your trade show booth has to be a good reflection of your company’s image in the industry and a positive representation of your brand.

There are not many companies that either has the budget or are prepared to spend massive amounts on a trade show booth just to create a good impression, and there is an argument that if you go over the top it might make customers think you are making too much money.

With that in mind, you want to try and find a happy medium where the booth reflects a level of professionalism and passion about how you project your image and contributes to boosting sales, without costing an amount that you are unable to justify.

You simply need to ask the question whether your current setup achieves these aims and if that is not the case, what you can do to change that situation.

That might be a decision to refurbish, buy a new display altogether, or rent a professional display that helps you avoid a large capital outlay.

Work out your pricing options

Once you have formulated a plan if action your next step is to look at the various pricing scenarios and work out which one is the best fit and helps you achieve your aims at the same time.

Firstly, identify and list what needs to be done to refurbish your existing booth to bring it up to a current standard that you will be happy with.

Secondly, gets some quotes from companies who can do the refurbishment work and also get prices from companies who can supply you with a new trade show booth altogether.

Thirdly, get a quote for renting a trade show booth that comes with all the fittings you need and can be installed and removed after the show by a professional team.

Once you have all these various options costed out you will be able to make a more informed decision as to which is the best way to go.

Other key considerations

It is not just the actual cost of the booth itself that you need to take into account as there are other associated expenses that you need to budget for too.

For instance, it can take a lot of manpower and resources to set up a trade show booth and if your existing display is very time-consuming to construct you might be justified in either getting a display that is easier to put together or budget for having a company to do it for you as part of their rental package.

There are also logistical cost to account for as shipping and other transportation costs can all add up, especially if you have an older model of booth that is heavier and more cumbersome than some of the displays available in the current market.

Deciding whether to refurbish, replace or rent, your trade show booth is a tricky decision to contemplate but it is well worth taking the time to get it right, especially when you consider that what you end up with will be representing your company every time a customer sees it.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, CEO of Inspired Marketing, Inc., is a small business marketing coach who teaches women entrepreneurs how to monetize their message so they can make more money from their expertise. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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