Making the Most of Your Used Trade Show Booth: Sell, Trade or Donate

August 08, 2011

If you have a trade show display that’s been sitting in inventory for a while or you’re planning a brand makeover that requires a brand new exhibit, consider your options for recouping part of your investment.  If your exhibit isn’t too worn to refurbish or too heavy for shipping, consider selling your booth or trading it in for a new exhibit.  If it’s beyond its usefulness in an exhibit setting, you may find a local charity that would be happy to receive it as a donation and repurpose it.  Following are a few tips gleaned from our experience in the trade show exhibit business.

used trade show booth

Sell your booth to a local buyer.

Our research of the resale market has shown that a used display can sell for 10 to 40 percent of the original purchase price.  The exact amount that your booth will fetch depends on its age, current condition, size, materials and the ability to reconfigure the components. Your accountant should be able to help estimate the depreciated value of the asset.

Because older exhibits tend to be bulky and heavy, shipping costs may well exceed the cost of the booth itself, so it’s best to make a local sale. A good place to start is with your local craigslist.   You can find their roster of sites across the U.S. at The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group uses the Chicago-area craigslist frequently. Although your posting may generate some junk emails that you’ll have to delete, we’ve found selling on craigslist to be a pleasant, positive experience.  For the most effective listing, show your booth to its best advantage by posting several pictures, provide all measurements of the booth, and offer an extremely reasonable price.

Other alternatives:

  • Place classified advertising in exhibit industry and marketing publications, area newspapers, and business journals.  
  • Ask your local area chamber of commerce or your city’s business website to post the item if they offer a marketplace section of their site.
  • Get quotes from exhibit resellers, which are easily found via internet search.
  • Network with colleagues to let them know your booth is for sale.
  • Use eBay and be sure to include your location and “local pickup only.”
  • Ask your employees to spread the word, and post it on your website.

Trade it in

We wrote about how to trade in your exhibit to save money when purchasing a new exhibit in November.  Email us with a photo of your exhibit and we can let you know whether it has trade-in potential.

Donate it

We have donated numerous exhibits to local non-profit organizations that have found creative ways to reuse the displays.  For example, a Chicago public school turned a pop-up display into a backdrop for a video class; a county forest preserve office put the display in their information booth to highlight local wildlife; a facility for handicapped adults turned an exhibit backdrop into a showcase for artwork.  The possibilities are endless! 

Finding a new home for your exhibit is much better than discarding your booth in the trash, which is both expensive and wasteful. If you are interested in trading in your booth or if you would like assistance in making a donation, we will be happy to assist at no charge.  Just fill out this form and we will help you find value in your old exhibit properties.

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