Rental exhibits have become as popular as leasing a car. It’s no longer just an economic consideration. It’s also about design flexibility and convenience, such as no storage. As we ramp back up after the Coronavirus pandemic, Classic Exhibits is predicting that rentals will lead the way.
If you’re considering a rental exhibit for an upcoming show, be sure to ask your vendor the right questions.
Do you know what’s included and what you’ll need to plan for? A lot of companies offer rental exhibits, but few offer true rental programs that cover all of the bases for you. No one wants to be hit with surprises, especially with things that could affect your exhibiting experience, or bust your budget.
Here are some questions and answers you’ll want before moving forward with a successful rental exhibit project.
Question: Will I own the graphics if I rent an exhibit design?
Answer: Yes, the graphics are purchased. This is an important distinction, especially when comparing a rental vs. a purchase. When you rent, you only rent the hardware, not the graphics. However, if you re-rent the same exhibit and reuse your graphics, you can subtract the cost of the graphics, making the second rental less expensive.
Question: Does it ever make sense to combine some rental components with an existing exhibit that we already own?
Answer: Many exhibitors blend rental components with their existing exhibit. For example, your exhibit may include the main structure, like a tower and a conference room. Renting the workstations, kiosks, or other accessories will allow you to mix and match components depending on your show requirements. In addition, it allows you to “test-drive” components to see if there’s a long-term need.
Question: Do rentals offer more design flexibility and less hassle?
Answer: Yes, with rentals you can literally change your exhibit design for every show. Plus, you will never have storage costs or staging issues to deal with.
Question: Are multiple show discounts available for rental exhibits?
Answer: Yes, many rental exhibit suppliers offer discounts for multiple show commitments depending on the show dates and locations. It is definitely worth asking about.
Question: How will I be assured of a high-quality exhibit and that the graphics will fit correctly?
Answer: Always ask for examples and references. Professional rental suppliers will provide you with detailed staging photos and/or a live video preview before the exhibit ships to show. For larger island designs, consider scheduling an in-person preview.
Question: Is I & D (installation and dismantle) typically included with rentals?
Answer: Some vendors offer full turnkey services. Either way, remember that there’s a cost to I&D whether it’s a line item or buried in the cost of the rental. Always cover this and any other services you want with your rental supplier.
Question: If I choose to use my own labor company are clear setup instructions typically provided.
Answer: Yes, most exhibit companies provide setup instructions. However, some are better than others. Make sure you see examples from past projects to make sure they are detailed and complete. Also make sure that they provide detailed diagrams and staging photos, and that someone from production is available 24/7 to answer a call with questions during the setup. Sometimes a quick call can save hours of labor on the show floor.
Question: How will I know that everything is packed up and included in the shipment?
Answer: It’s best to use a vendor that provides a complete inventory list with all of the components checked off by the production team as they pack the crates before shipping. Ideally, they will provide packing photos that show each layer of components in every crate(s). You need to be confident that every part and component is packed and ready to go when the labor team starts the setup.
Question: When I rent an exhibit, am I responsible for damages that may occur during the set-up or take-down? If so, what is typically considered wear and tear versus outright damage?
Answer: Rental vendors usually understand that their exhibit components are going to suffer some normal scuffs and scratches. With that said, when the scuffs and scratches turn into gouges and holes, there’s often a repair or replacement fee to cover costs. But if the exhibit vendor provides the installation and dismantle service, any damage fees would more than likely be paid by the labor company.
Question: For multiple show rentals, do rental companies offer storage services if I choose to reuse the same graphics?
Answer: Yes, a lot of companies do offer storage services. Many will store the graphics at no charge if there’s a commitment to re-rent the same exhibit design for a future show or shows. Always determine what you would like to do with the graphics before shipping the exhibit to the show. If you decide to take the graphics with you after the show, you may need to request special packaging. This won’t be necessary if you make arrangements to ship them back with the exhibit.
Question: Am I responsible for coordinating the round-trip shipping of a rental?
Answer: Your exhibit vendor usually offers shipping services, but most are flexible about shipping arrangements.
You will definitely want to discuss whether it makes more sense to go direct to the show or to the advanced warehouse. There are multiple scenarios to consider when making this decision. It often depends on how many days there are between the advanced warehouse deadline and the show date. The rental period (or time the vendor allows the exhibit properties to be out) also comes into play. Review all of this and make the appropriate decisions based on your specific show.
Question: How much customization is typically offered with rental exhibits?
Answer: It is virtually impossible to walk a show floor today and identify which exhibits are rental versus purchased. Most rental designs have some customization, and many are custom designed for specific companies and specific shows.
Quite often, a few custom elements added to the design can give the entire design a custom look even if it’s as simple as some colorful laminated workstations, shelves, or a reception counter. Custom laminated soffits and backlighting are also nice touches that are inexpensive and well worth the investment. As a bonus, if you re-rent the same exhibit, your second rental will most likely be less expensive, since your first rental covered the cost of those custom components.
For more information about rentals, contact Classic Exhibits (www.classicexhibits.com) or browse through our extensive rental galleries of Islands, Inlines, and Accessories. We’ll design to your specifications!