“Out With the Old Trade Show Display”

We’ve seen the story time and time again.

A company purchases a large exhibit, takes it on the road to trade shows and events, and generates a fantastic ROI in part from using the exhibit to illustrate their message and brand. Fast-forward twenty years…

These same large, heavy and now outdated trade show displays are suffering the fate of having to sit in warehouses collecting dust and costing their owners money in storage fees. At this point, the thought of disposing the exhibit may seem like a good idea.

Before considering any disposal options, it’s important to know that the tradeshow display probably appears as an asset on a company’s books so if it’s disposed of, it will result in a loss on financial statements. Add to this the fact that the display may consist of some hazardous materials, creating significant disposal costs.

It’s wise to be realistic about the value of a used tradeshow display. Companies generally want to design a new booth to their own specifications. If the original display closely matches their needs, the option of refurbishment can be more cost-effective than purchasing a brand new system. In some instances unfortunately, a revamp of an older display might end up costing more than the system is worth. It is not unusual for tradeshow booths that originally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to be nearly worthless in the used market.

So… what are your other options?

Bite the bullet. Get a quote from your display company, pay the handling and disposal fees, write off the loss, and move on. (This is a major reason many companies choose to only rent their displays).

Try to sell your old tradeshow booth. Gather as much information about the display as possible. Photos, drawings and inventory lists are critical to success. Post the display on a used exhibit web site (ie. http://www.exhibitrader.com). Ebay and Craigslist might work to sell portable exhibits but larger displays probably won’t get much attention. Be realistic about an asking price.

Make a deal with your exhibit company. See if you can roll the old booth into the purchase or rental of a new display. Showing a “trade in allowance” on the contract will be much easier on the financial statements and also eliminate your disposal liability.

Donate your booth. Try to find a charity or company that might have some use for all or part of the display. Sometimes giving the display a second chance is more worthwhile than simply disposing of it.

Deciding what to do with an outdated display can seem like a daunting process, but with a little time and research, you should have no trouble making the right decision.

SOURCE:  Alexis Exhibits Blog, www.alexisexhibits.com

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