Trade Show Display Budgets

How much time have you put into creating your trade show budget? Have you even considered creating a trade show budget, or have you just been moving along, hoping that everything will fall into place? Without a realistic budget, it’s highly unlikely that everything is just going to…fall into place. Listing everything you need may seem tedious, but the fact is, if you can’t list what you need to bring, rent, and use at a show, you’re much more likely to forget one or more of those items.CDGBooth-MROAmericas-April2012-resized-600

When you don’t know how much you are spending, and what you’re spending it on, you will find it almost impossible to earn a decent ROI (Return of Investment). While the cost of your participation in a trade show will vary, the costs are under your control, which means that with proper planning, you should be able to keep the expenses within a reasonable and affordable range.

When you are preparing your trade show budget, you should pay close attention to several areas, marketing and travel expenses are a given, but what a lot of people fail to take into consideration are the underlying direct costs associated with your trade show participation. These direct costs include, but are not limited to, the rent or purchase of a trade show display, freight and drayage charges, storage charges if applicable, installation and dismantling (I & D) charges of your display booth, and the utilities for your booth space. The costs associated with these services can add up rather quickly, so it’s a good idea to be cognizant of how much you are expending in these areas. Let’s address some of these costs in more detail.

  • Booth Space Rent. Some venues charge a flat rate for booth space, but most charge by the square foot, which usually range between $10 and $100 per sq. foot.
  • Trade Show Display purchase or rent. You will need a good looking exhibition stand for your space and will need to shop for one to either rent or purchase. There are many factors to review in the selection process, including size of the current space to fill, future show plans (do you want the display standto be re-configurable to different sizes or shapes?), types of product or information you want the booth to display (shelves, etc.), types of graphics you will use, etc. If you’re new to trade show marketing, it may be smart to select a good rental trade show display to start with, so you have a chance to try them out and find out what works best.
  • Freight and Drayage Charges. Let’s first define what freight and drayage charges are. Unless you plan on transporting the trade show display to the venue yourself, the freight charge is what you will pay to get your display stand to and from the venue. The drayage charge is the amount you will pay to get your booth and accessories from the loading dock to your display space on the floor, and then back out to the dock after the show.
  • Installation and Dismantling. You will more than likely have to hire labor to install and dismantle your trade show display for you. Usually the venue has a list of union contractors that they regularly work with who will perform these services for you, at union rates of course.
  • Utilities. Unless you’re planning on your booth space being dimly lit, which is not a good idea, you’ll need to arrange for electricity at the show. You may also want an internet connection, so don’t forget to account for these costs.felt-full-color-carpet
  • Other Costs. There are other costs that you need to take into consideration when planning your budget as well, such as trade show carpet and other accessories, janitorial services, and additional on the floor labor that may be needed during the show.

Keep in mind, that if not budgeted, and managed properly, your trade show participation can be a costly one. On the other hand, with appropriate overall planning, your trade show participation can be a highly effective strategy to increase your brand, sales, and customer database.

For more information, read our article on questions to make sure you get the best value of your trade show displays or to stretch your budget, check out our article on how to save money and still have great trade show displays.

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