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Renting vs. Buying Technology – The Pros and Cons of Each

We recently conducted an Event Tech Survey and exhibitors had a lot of advice and questions on the topic of renting technology vs. buying technology. Some found it more cost effective to own the technology they used in their booth while others found renting technology to be better suited to their budgets.

As with anything, there are pros and cons for both options.

Pros and cons. Hesitation.Renting Pros
When you rent equipment, you eliminate hefty shipping and drayage fees. Your provider is responsible for getting everything from their warehouse to your trade show booth.

When you rent technology, you do not need to suffer the anxiety that goes along with worrying about whether you packed everything so that it doesn’t break in transit. You also don’t have to worry about coming up with a plan B if the forklift drops your brand new 65-inch HiDef LCD monitor.

When you rent technology, you don’t have to wonder if you packed all the cables you need. That’s the responsibility of your provider.

When you rent technology you have on-site support if anything goes wrong in the middle of the show.

When you rent technology, you don’t have to worry about packing it up and shipping it out. Your provider will come and get it out of your way.

When you rent, you have more access to the most current technology.

Renting Cons
While your provider may have the latest and greatest technology, it may not always be available when you want it. You may end up settling for less.

If you are using the technology in multiple shows during the year, renting can be more costly than purchasing.

Buying Pros
When you buy technology you know you will always have access to it when you need it and can use that technology over and over.

When you own the technology, you have access to it for testing prior to show. There will be no question as to whether or not your content will work on the technology you are using.

When you own the technology, you can get creative how you use it when it’s not at a show. You could mount it in your lobby or use it in a training center. That may allow you to spread the cost out across different departments.

When you own the technology, you can train your booth staff on how to use it. They will be familiar and comfortable with the technology, and will have fewer issues when they get to the show.

Buying Cons
Shipping doesn’t just add cost in transportation and drayage. You’ll also have to absorb the cost of a good quality container for shipping, not to mention the stress of wondering if you packed it securely.

You may have purchased the latest and greatest technology at the time, but in just two years something much better may have come along. You’re now stuck with a dinosaur.

If you don’t have available capital budget, which is what much technology falls under, you could find yourself having to wait until next year to make your purchase.

We’re all familiar with the concept, you broke it, you bought it. Well, you bought it; now you have to fix it. That’s right; the responsibility of maintaining that piece of equipment lies with you.

As much as you love your technology now, there will come a time when you need to part with it. There can often be a lot of paperwork involved in disposing of obsolete equipment.

Be sure to consider the pros and cons of each alternative when considering which option is best for your exhibit program.

tech-for-tst-exhibitorswpTechnology in trade show booths is not something to brush over lightly. Read the Tech for Trade Show Exhibitors white paper to enhance and advance your trade show program, boosting your results and your booth visitors’ experience. Click here for your free copy.

About the Author

Traci Browne is a Trade Show Consultant and Freelance Writer.

One response to “Renting vs. Buying Technology – The Pros and Cons of Each

  1. Great post Traci!

    Another con with buying that is often overlooked is storing the equipment when it’s not in use. Everyone always thinks it’s not a problem and they’ll use those 50″ flat screens during the off time, but if you do a bunch of shows it quickly becomes very inconvenient to constantly set them up in other places just to take them a few days later.

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