Questions To Ask Before Buying Your Portable Stage

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Questions To Ask Before Buying Your Portable Stage

November 8, 2018

portable stage with ramps

Buying a portable stage platform can be overwhelming at first, especially if you’re not exactly sure what you need. There are many things to consider when making this decision, so we have provided a few tips to hopefully help make the process a little easier and to help you make sure you get a stage that will work for you.

Before we get into the specifics, the first and most important step is that you purchase your staging equipment from a reputable manufacturer. This will ensure that you won’t have to deal with equipment that doesn’t work for your events or an incident that impacts the safety of the performers.

Now, here are a few important questions you need to ask yourself before buying your portable stage platform.

What type of events are you hosting?

This is the first question that we’ll ask because all of the other questions will revolve around it.

The events that you’re hosting will play a huge role in determining the type of stage that will best fit your needs. Platforms can be designed and configured to meet the needs of specific events or to provide flexibility to host a wide range of events. The types of events will dictate what you need as you determine if you are hosting large numbers of people on stage or need to support intricate set pieces or special effects.  These differences may also impact other considerations such as egress and the level of safety required for both the performers and audience alike. For example, a stage that’ll be used for orchestras needs to be larger than a graduation stage because it’ll be holding more people at once.  It will also have different requirements when you host performers on stage versus general public. It may then require access ramps, special railing systems or a different performance surface.

portable stage

portable stage outside

Also, if you’re hosting outdoor events, you’ll need to make sure your stage can be exposed to the elements and it’ll need the capability to stand on uneven terrain.

What stage surface do you need?

Different stage surfaces work better for different events so you want to make sure that you’re using the right surface for your application.

Carpeted surfaces are best when you need to keep foot noise at a minimum. For events that feature a speaker or intimate music concerts, carpet will be quieter so that the audience we be focusing on the performance and not be distracted by moving chairs or tapping feet. Since these events are typically quiet, this is important.

Hard, reflective surfaces are best for applications such as a jazz band or where loud music is involved. They’re also great when food is involved because they’re easier to clean. An example of this would be if the head table at a wedding was up on a riser.

As far as color goes, if you’re going to be using a lot of lighting, you’ll want to use a black stage surface so the light doesn’t reflect off the surface.

How often will you need to convert your performance area?

One of the main benefits of portable staging is that you can convert your space for different events. The conversion activities do take some time and staff resources, so getting the system that has the lowest impact on either is important to consider. The importance of this is heightened if you’ll be converting your space frequently.

portable stage

Take this into consideration when making your decision because different systems are easier to convert than others. Make sure you include where items will fit when in storage, too. Pre-planning like this can help make your conversion process easier.

What accessories do you need?

There are many accessories that are available for portable staging systems. Accessories can give your stage a finished look and also provide functionality. Some of the most common ones you may need for functionality are access ramps, chair stops, guardrails, crowd control barricades, or stairs. Things like backdrops and skirting will give your stage a finished look.

What is the size of the room?

The dimensions of the room you will be performing in are crucial because your stage needs to appropriately fit the space. It shouldn’t be too big or small. Large areas may require a higher stage platform for the guests in the back to be able to see while smaller spaces are used for a more intimate feel, so they benefit from a lower height stage. You need to consider the stage from a three-dimensional point of view and not only consider the length and width of the room, but the ceiling height as well. It is just as important to make sure your performers are not on a stage that is too high that they are hitting their heads on light fixtures and ceiling tiles. This may also impact your ability to use different backdrops and set pieces.

What is your setup crew like?

How big is your setup crew? Do you have 12 people or 2? You can easily set up portable staging with just 2 people, but with a larger crew, you may be able to do a few things differently. Knowing the demands of different events and timing can help to make the most of your staff. This will also help give you some direction on what equipment is going to best fit your needs because some equipment sets up faster than others.

How much storage space do you have?

Purchasing any equipment will require storage space when not in use. The benefit of not building a permanent stage is that you can clear the space when it’s needed for other activities. The size and layout of your portable staging system will affect how much storage space you’ll need. Understanding how and what you are going to store will make your conversions go smoothly. Having the right carts that fit into your storage spaces, down access hallways and through doorways is integral to success, too.

What are your local codes?

Understanding your local codes and the impact they may have on how the event is ran is important. You may also need to be ready to accommodate wheel chairs or other patrons with special access needs. Guardrails will be needed once you pass a certain height of stage or if you have people seated on the platform. Working with a recognized staging company will help you with addressing these needs by the design of the equipment and accessory options.


There are a lot of different portable stages and portable staging companies out there, so how do you know if you’re really getting the best system for you or if you’re just getting a cookie cutter solution?

Contact our experts and we can help you address these important questions and provide some guidance for you to pick the perfect portable stage to meet your needs of today and in the future.

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