5 Cost Variables to Include in Your Trade Show Budget

Trade show booth cost variables

Finally, you nailed the budget for your next trade show! It’s perfect and you’ve thought of everything. Or did you? Trade show budgets can have a lot of ‘variables,’ which is a nice way of saying ‘potentially unpleasant surprise budget changes.’ While cost variables to your trade show budget may be inevitable, here are five major cost variables that are the foundation of your trade show budget.

  1. Exhibit or Booth Space.
    Sure it’s the most obvious, your trade show exhibit has to go somewhere, right? You commit to the exhibit space itself, sometimes weeks or months in advance. This budget item is the jumping off point and sets the stage for the rest of your budget. With the cost of your booth space some shows offer extras in the way of trash removal or even flooring or a chair. Check the show FAQs to see what, if any, additional items may be included before you budget them in.
  2. Design.
    Design is where you have some real flexibility with your trade show budget and display. Can you wow clients with a couple of chairs, your CEO and a banner, or will you need more to  capture attention?  One way to look at design is that it can be agile, as in trying out something new from show to show. Your job in that scenario is to get feedback to determine and manage the success of your trade show display.
  3. Shipping and Drayage
    Whether you’re traveling to your next show or keeping it local, this budget item can be the most varied and challenging. A good rule of thumb is to over-budget when it comes to the shipping and drayage of your trade show display. Timing, current labor and shipping rates and last minute changes can spin your shipping and drayage budget out of control. Give yourself a little breathing room and plan for the best while budgeting in a cushion for the unexpected.
  4. Installation and Dismantling
    While drayage may cover moving your exhibit from storage to the exhibit space, it may not cover the actual installation and dismantling of your display. Include this separate service in your trade show budget if you don’t plan on doing the work yourself. Often the show coordinator contracts with a service to offer services like this to exhibitors. A major exhibit can require significant take down work after the show, including disposal, drayage to the next show and any minor repairs to the displays.
  5. Trade Show Services
    Planning for your trade show booth space and the act of getting it to the show isn’t enough. Trade show services can really add up, so plan a budget that considers the finer aspects of an exhibit. What services would you love to have and what services can you not live without? Items like electricity, phone, internet, carpet and padding (your staff will thank you), seating and clean up, can add up so plan accordingly.  

Considering the five cost variables of your next trade show budget will make the planning and executing process of your next trade show easier, and dare I say more enjoyable.

Trade shows can be extremely beneficial to a business and should be considered in your marketing plans. If you’d like more information on how to have the best trade show exhibit, or tips on how to have a great show, all you have to do is contact us today!

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