Re-using Custom Exhibition Stands – Saves money?

Exhibitors always enquire about Reusing Custom Stands. Purchasing their custom wooden stands to KEEP. Obviously this question comes up when exhibitors see how much a custom stand costs and how good they look at the shows, and actually wonder. Why not keep the stand and have it set up again next year and save a 10th of the cost? or why not have it built and we can set it up our selves, can’t be that difficult.

I Will discuss:

  • Reusing Custom Stands
  • Why companies say ‘hire’?
  • Reusing custom stands – Contractors
  • Reusing custom stands – Setting up a wooden stand by yourself
  • Options to make reusing custom stands possible

Reusing Custom Stands:

There are many factors here to discuss and make clear for exhibitors, and I’m going to give you some insight and honest advice.


I’m going to discuss:

  • Why companies say ‘hire’.
  • Reusing custom stands – contractors.
  • Reusing custom stands – Setting up a wooden stand by yourself.
  • Options to make reusing custom stands possible.

Firstly, this obviously all depends on the size of your stand and the complexity, to us exhibition stand building is as easy as pie, though we do have a factory full of competent staff to build and plan the processes.

Why companies say ‘hire’:

Custom wooden stands might say ‘hire’, even though they build specifically for the client and if the clients wish to keep the stand it makes little difference, as the stand is already theirs. Reasons why companies say hire:

  • An exhibition company sees an expo as generally a 3-day event. To get costs down as low as possible, all materials used are honestly as cheap and short term as you can get.
  • During an expo, contractors generally get 2 or 3 days to set up their stands, then 1 day to disassemble & remove the stands. During the break down, damage to the stands happen. Now for or a supplier to deliver this damaged stand back to their client isn’t good service. This means they would need to take it back to the factory and refurbish the stand to its original state before delivering.
  • Even as exhibition contractors, reusing materials are rarer than you think. It works out cheaper to build a brand new stand than to try salvage the wood from an old stand.

In conclusion all custom stands are costed as new and to ‘buy’. The only thing exhibition companies gains from indicating ‘hire’ is that they are able flat pack the stand at the show and dispose of with no time wasted. They are able to design a stand as cost effective as possible giving a greater chance to win the contract. They don’t need to spend 3 times as long disassembling the stand to try keep in good condition.These factors allow for a quick efficient process. Less time and labour, means less costly.

Reusing custom stands – Contractors

Here are some notes you would need to keep in mind when wanting to reusing custom stands for your exhibitions.

  • To reuse your stand, you would need to reuse the original contractor. No other contractor will take on this project because not knowing how the stand was design and how durable the elements are could turn out a nightmare for a new contractor.
  • Storing your stand, when is your next show?
  • Does storing your stand and contacting a contractor to build it again save costs? hmm, having your existing stand reset up by the previous contractor. You likely will only save 30% max. Most costs comes from labour which is needed extensively when refurbishing a custom wood stand.
  • Your stand will be built for a certain size, eg 3x6m corner, if you aren’t able to secure that exact size again, there would need to be modifications made. Refurbishing + those modifications, expect to pay the same as for a new stand.
  • Expect about 30% increase in the initial cost of the stand, as the contractor won’t be able to use those cheap short term materials and will have to resort to longer lasting materials. Though keep in mind, wooden stands, will still only last 2-3 build before needs full replacing.

So it is possible, and if you exhibit a couple times a year could even be beneficial.

Reusing custom stands – Setting up a wooden stand by yourself

Setting up a custom wood stand without some skills at your side, is advised against. If you have all the skills in your company to do this, then why not well manufacture the stand yourself also?

  • Know the certificates and contacts you need. Structural engineer to issue your certificate, electrician to issue you your COC, and a draughts man to do your plans for council approval (EMS). These are needed for stands and all shows.
  • Have your ‘construction’ safety file done. Last thing you want is going to site and having the safety officer restricting you from building your stand because your safety file documents aren’t in order. This would create a disaster before even stepping into the venue. Make sure you have your workman’s compensation in order for ‘construction work’. Have your public liability in order and to the venues requirements. Clearly read and understand the manual supplied by the organisers to abide by.
  • Plan your process, create your schedule, get enough hands to help.

Yes, if you have competent people as well as all the documents and certificates to do so. You can set up your stand yourself.

Custom Exhibition Stand Time laps.   Click here to view a time laps of a European company setting up a custom stand

Options to make reusing custom stands possible

In my experience in the exhibition industry. Options or reusing custom stands listed below are the best routs to take:

  • If you exhibit with a custom wood exhibition stand at 2 or 3 shows a year. Book your spaces, plan your entire strategy and get into a contract with a stand builder to implement this strategy. We do this regularly and actually is a brilliant way to cut costs down. The contractor would design a stand that can fit into the future size and orientation with minimal costs. Planning ahead makes this possible and can save a huge amount in the costs.
  • If you exhibit with a custom wood exhibition stand once a year, i would advise against trying to reuse the stand. Unless your marketing material never changes and have space to store your stand. Likely will save max 30% on the next build, though spend an additional 30% for more durable materials.
  • Should you not want to get into a long term contract. See what you could salvage yourself. Often our clients keep elements of the stand and ask us to implement in their offices and showrooms. Incorporated the stand designed in your offices, nice new reception counter for example.
  • If you want to buy a stand and set up yourself completely. Don’t go with a custom wooden stand, you will just regret it. Look into Aluminium systems, these have been designed for multiple uses and easy to store and transport. The initial purchase of this system is highly expensive, though you will never need to get another contractor in again.

Aluminium Exhibition Stand Time laps.   Click here to view a nice time laps of a European company time laps of an aluminium system stand, easy enough to do.