Guide to Tradeshow Planning – Tradeshow Budget Pt 11

12/24/15 by Brandon

We had the opportunity to review our tradeshow budget against our final costs at the ExhibitorLive 2015 show we attended. I am happy to say that we came in under budget! Of course, we have an advantage since we do this for a living, but it is easy for costs to get out of control. So this week I want to go over our  tradeshow budget. I will break it down into two categories – show costs and exhibit costs.

So what was our show cost budget?

  • Booth space fee – $3,900
  • Accommodations – $900
  • Per Diem – $600
  • Shipping – $2,100
  • Drayage – $1,000
  • Electrical – $400
  • Installation and Dismantle – $1,600
  • Exhibitor Staff labor – $1,900
  • Ad space in the Exhibit City News magazine – $600.00

The total show cost budget was $13,000.00

Next was our exhibit cost budget:

  • We had to modify our studio exhibit from a 10’ x 13’ backwall to fit into a 10’ x 10’ booth space at $1,500
  • We needed to purchase 4 new fabrics for side panels and fit them into existing beMatrix frames that we use for our rental stock at $1,600
  • Purchase software and sound equipment additions – $500
  • Modify counters and add graphic wraps – $800
  • Estimate design, fabrication, and project management labor at $1,500
  • The same with marketi ng and administrative labor @ $1,600
  • Purchase new carpet – $500
  • Purchase 1,000 shot glasses for give-a-ways and the corresponding design time for artwork – $2,000
  • Pull, prep, pack and load – $900
  • And finally the return and reinstallation of the exhibit back in our showroom at $900

The total exhibit cost budget was $11,800

If you combine the show budget and the exhibit budget for this project then our total budget for this show is over $24,000. Remember, this is just for our little 10 x 10 exhibit. So you can see how important it is to budget for a show. Costs can add up quickly.

A budget does three basic things:

  1. It gives everyone involved a baseline to monitor their costs.
  2. It provides critical data for future budgets and measuring ROI.
  3. It helps prevent invoice sticker shock later on when all costs finally come in.

Now a lot of companies exclude salaried employees and other costs stating that they come out of different budgets like sales or overhead budgets. I understand the reasoning behind this if you are doing budgets by department. Most show budgets are set by the Marketing Department. I am not a big proponent of this as it tends to downplay the overall company costs associated with the show and can show a better ROI number for each event.  Anyway, you have to decide what goes into your show budget numbers to accurately assess the value of each show.

Next week I want to go over a few ways we are able to maximize the show budget with some direct cost savings associated with the ExhibitorLive show.