How to Budget for a Trade Show

If you’re looking to get the best return on your investment when exhibiting at a trade show, one of the best ways to achieve that is to plan the right budget for your trade show. Planning a budget for a trade show is different for every company and every show. The basics of how to budget for a trade show include taking your rental space fee and multiplying it by three. That rule of thumb usually gives you a good budget estimate. Your budget must factor in display (rent or own), graphics, accessories, electronics, shipping, setup, giveaways, promotions and staffing.

Basic step-by-step guide how to budget for a trade show

  • Determine space rental fee and multiply it by three: The general rule of thumb for your trade show budget is to take the total cost of your booth rental free, multiply it by three and that should roughly be your total trade show budget. This might not be an exact formula for everyone, but you don’t want to underestimate your budget and you don’t want to cut corners if you are planning to make trade show exhibiting a successful business venture.
  • Decide to buy or rent a display: Your marketing plan and budget will dictate this choice for you. If you are only going to exhibit at a few shows per year, a rental may be a more reasonable option. If exhibiting at trade shows is a bigger part of your marketing plan, owning a trade show display may make more sense.
  • Cost of graphics and accessories for your display: Like deciding between renting or owning a display, deciding whether you can handle designing the display graphics in-house or if you need to pay a professional to create them for your company. In addition to graphics, the need for lighting or other accessories for your display also must be included in your budget.
  • Estimate shipping costs once display is secured: Once you determine your display and various items weight, you can shop around for shipping estimates. You can weigh shipping to you or the venue and find out different rates/charges by different companies. Shopping around and having you display designed and created in time to give yourself time to shop around on drayage can prove to be a budget saver.
  • Set plans for promotional items and pre/post show promotion: Show promotion, both pre, during and post is important. That includes email, direct mail, giveaway items and other swag and then developing a follow-up email/mail plan. All these points are keys to success when exhibiting at a trade show and factor into your cost-per-lead.

Determine staffing needs, travel and per diem: Two staffers per 100 square feet of your booth is a general rule of thumb but not every situation is ideal for this concept. Your staffing should be determined by how many people it will take to meet you trade show objectives and how paying them factors into cost-per-lead. You must factor in any travel, lodging and per diem food costs when choosing the amount of staffers you budget for as well.

Please wait...