Costs at a Trade Show You Might Not Expect
Trade shows are an exciting place. They raise the visibility of your business and help you make connections with new customers, not to mention show off some sleek displays and merchandise. However, while the environment of a trade show can be quite exciting, even fun, it’s vital to remember that everything about getting your business into that exhibition hall is going to cost money.
Some of these costs might be obvious, such as the materials you paid for your booth and attendance. However, not all the costs are obvious, and you’ll want to pay special attention to budgeting, especially when there are so many costs you might not expect.
Booth Freebies and Merchandise
It’s no surprise that everyone loves free stuff. Indeed, you’ve probably already thought about this as you consider the layout and arrangement of your booth in the trade show. Branded merchandise and freebies are a great way to draw participants into your exhibit, especially if your exhibit is smaller or off the beaten path. But branding your own merchandise and offering items for free—even if they are small and relatively inexpensive—is going to be a cost that you don’t want to be caught off guard by.
It might seem a little counterintuitive. A trade show that promotes your business is certainly work, but it’s typically not work that’s in your general job description, or any of your employees.
And the more employees that you need running the booth, the less employees you’ll have working the day-to-day jobs that you’re trying to raise awareness for in the first place. This is an important thing to consider as you choose how many people to send to the trade show. While you’ll want to raise your profile with your well-designed, sleek exhibit, don’t forget that you also have a business to run in the background.
Hotels and Meals
It’s an easy thing to forget when all you’re doing is going into the office, but if the trade show you’re targeting isn’t close to home, you’ll need to consider travel accommodations, including hotel rooms and meals. How you budget for this is up to you, but you’ll certainly want to plan for three square meals and a hotel option that is close to the trade show hall.
Remember that every added expense is another line on your budget. The more of these lines that are unanticipated, the more you’ll have difficulty making future exhibition events happen.
Don’t forget that many exhibition halls and trade shows have requirements for what you put down on the floor of your booth. Occasionally, these will be provided to a booth based on your specific set-up, but in general you should plan to pay to have a covering on the ground. Carpet is a good option in this category. Not only does it dampen sound, but it’s also softer on the feet, which is good for when you have a lot of foot traffic and for when you’re standing on your feet for much of the day.
Trade shows are bustling, busy environments. And for this exact reason, they can get a little messy after all the participants have left and all the booths are coming down. You’ll be able to clean up your booth throughout the trade show, which often lasts several days, but be aware that doing so will often cost a fee of some sort.
Getting rid of trash and vacuuming are the two most common expenses in this category, but if there is a large spill you may be on the hook for a deeper (and more costly) clean.
What To Do About Unexpected Costs
Because trade shows require so much time and effort to put on, it’s inevitable that unexpected costs will appear. That doesn’t mean they have to derail your trade show experience. The best thing to do about these costs. Be prepared for them. Ensure that you’re planning carefully, and don’t rush the process. It will only lead to even more unexpected costs.
DJ Heckes, Author