4 Best Free Trade Show Budget Templates

There’s a reason why many business owners don’t like trade shows—they are capital intensive and require lots of planning.

Although the results are always positive, it’s difficult to measure how impactful they are on sales. Some businesses assume that trade shows are a necessary evil, as all the big brands are always there.

To handle your next exhibition better and with greater efficiency, manage your costs better, and even save money, all you need is a trade show budget.

Remember that trade shows are unique marketing events and require different strategies. With a well-designed budget, you can navigate all the pitfalls around hosting trade shows and maximize your profit. What’s more?

These templates are free and won’t add to your cost. In this article, we’ll explore the best free trade show budgets and explain why they’re great.

Why Do You Need a Trade Show Budget?

Why Do You Need a Trade Show Budget?

A typical trade show budget spreadsheet does many things. Apart from tidying up your account, it helps you to prioritize where your money should go.

When reviewing expenses after trade shows, many exhibitors find out, too late, that they should have spent their money differently.

But with a budget spreadsheet template, you’ll know where every dime should go.

Of all the marketing strategies, trade shows remain the most difficult to navigate and plan for. It is easier to run TV and radio ads, or even promote a business on social media.

Several types of research explain how profitable other marketing campaigns are. However, trade shows are not that simple to plan.

For example, you may not have any idea how much a stand will cost. Depending on the trade show, it may cost as little as $100 or as much as $50,000.

There are several other factors to consider when planning for a trade show—things like floor space, pre-event marketing, uniforms, giveaways, stand accessories, miscellaneous expenses, and much more.

Five things must be considered in every trade show when budgeting for it. They are:

  • Exhibit stand
  • Exhibit design
  • Exhibit movement, installation, and dismantling
  • Personnel expenses
  • Promotion

In a typical budget, it is expected that you will spend 25% to 35% of your trade show budget on the exhibition space.

You’ll have to design the stand to suit your brand, which is expected to cost you, depending on your needs. The recommended amount shouldn’t exceed 30% of your budget.

You’ll also have to move your exhibition materials and equipment. Another significant expense is the installation and eventual dismantling of your stand.

This cost depends on the size of the event. You’ll also need to spend on transport for staff, accommodation, and feeding. Then, finally, you’ll have to promote the event. This is one area that many exhibitors do not pay attention to.

A budget template allows you to outline all your event line items, how much they will cost, and how to spend on them. Also, a budget ensures that you stop wastage and have enough funds required for a successful exhibition.

While planning for your exhibition, do not always go for spaces bigger than what you need, as this may eat into your budget. Sometimes, it is a lack of planning that makes the funds inadequate.

Navigating these expenses so that your ROI is not low requires proper planning. With proper planning, you can stretch your event budget. 

So, that’s why you need a budget. Below, we have outlined some budget templates to help you do this easily.

Free Trade Show Budget Templates

#1 Smartsheet Trade Show Budget Template

#1 Smartsheet Trade Show Budget Template

The Smartsheet Trade Show Budget Template is designed to help you plan and manage your trade show budget. It contains the most important line items that help you organize your exhibition.

All you need to do is add up all the items in the lines, and you can have your budget automated by the smart sheet.

Also, this template can help you to set reminders and attach invoices to each budget line item, so that your necessary payments are settled promptly. This template can help you to manage more than one trade show, allowing you to do so much at once.

Smartsheet also has an Event Registration and Tracking Template Set—which helps you easily track and manage event registrations for any trade shows or event.

The Event Planning Template Set for in-person and manual events—which allows marketers and event planners to transition to virtual events, and align, track and report on the strategy and planning that leads to successful events.

And finally, the Project Tracking and Rollup Template Set—which reports on risks and milestones of events to stakeholders.

It is also free to download.

#2 Metro Exhibits Trade Show Budgeting Worksheet

Metro Exhibits doesn’t just provide trade show budget solutions; they are an all-around provider of trade show accessories. From large custom exhibits to portable displays, as well as a full range of trade show products and services, Metro Exhibits provides it all.

The Metro Exhibits Trade Show Budgeting Worksheet provides a very reliable way of outlining and analyzing all the sales, expenses, and ROI of any trade show.

It includes a Trade Show Information Guide, Cost Breakdowns, Component Analysis, Sales Tracking, and ROI Calculator.

Also, this interactive spreadsheet can be used to organize and track your spending and progress. At the end of the trade show, this tool also reports on performance and shows how effective the exhibition was.

#3 Quadrant2Design Trade Show Budget Spreadsheet

#3 Quadrant2Design Trade Show Budget Spreadsheet

Many exhibitors don’t know how much of their total budget should go to different things during the pre-event stage. The Quadrant2Design budget spreadsheet can help you handle that effectively.

This spreadsheet is designed to break down your entire budget, so you know where to focus your money.

The amount of time spent on breaking down expenses and making reports can be saved with this spreadsheet, as it helps you manage the breakdown.

You also get to know how the analysis of your budget works and who gets what.

#4 ProExhibits Budget Templates

Although not a template that can be downloaded, ProExhibits has designed a Budget Template for trade shows that can be effectively used to make sure your next event is well organized.

ProExhibits categorizes trade show spending as exhibits costs, costs of promotion and marketing, costs of transport and exhibition set-up, and personnel expenses.

This template suggests that you spend about 35% of your total budget on exhibit costs—this includes booth space, design, rentals, storage, and more. 

The budget for promotion and marketing shouldn’t be more than 6% and should involve pre-event marketing, printed marketing materials, and more. The budget for this may increase if you intend to spend a lot on giveaways.

Personnel costs should cost around 14% of your total budget, depending on the number of staff, and you should be ready for some extra miscellaneous expenses.

Designing Your Own Trade Show Budget Template

Designing Your Own Trade Show Budget Template

One easy way to design your own trade show budget is to multiply your booth fee by three. That way, you can arrive at a reasonably accurate total trade show budget.

For example, if your booth fee is $2,000, your entire budget should be around $6,000.

This $6,000 should then cover the essentials, which are travel expenses (20%), booth design and furnishing (15%), promotion (10%), and show services (15%). The other 10% would go on shipping and other transport services.

All you need to start with is the booth cost. This is what a typical trade show budget looks like, and you can create one with a pie chart.

This way, you will know if you are exceeding your budget or not. However, you can download any of the templates we have highlighted above to make your job easier.

Conclusion

If you plan it very well, a trade show is rewarding for attendees, organizers, and exhibitors. Managing a trade show budget is not as difficult as it sounds, and you can conveniently get spreadsheets downloaded for free.

Your business will become more profitable if you start budgeting for your trade shows. With a budget template, you can track what you spend and how you spend, so your event can yield the best results.

Soon, you’ll be able to manage costs, minimize expenses, and maximize profit for better ROI.

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