When you’re preparing to exhibit at a trade show, it is important to plan ahead for the costs you will incur. Obviously, no matter how you slice it, exhibiting at a trade show is not cheap. By examining the costs and looking for ways to be fiscally responsible in advance of the show, you can ensure that all the funds going toward the show is money well spent. Keep reading to learn how you can spend appropriately and save money on your next trade show.
Save Money by Using an Exhibit House
Many people believe that by not using an exhibit house, they can save money as they won’t have someone else to pay to get their exhibit booth. This could not be farther from the truth as using an exhibit house can absolutely save your business money. Trade show booth designers should act as your advocate, ensuring you get the best possible display for your money. If you have specific budgetary concerns, they can help guide you to get a booth that will work for your budget now and in the long-term. Many exhibitors offer multi-show discounts, shipping savings, and other benefits, like on-show supervisors and/or turn-key services that can help your show run smoothly and in a cost-efficient manner.
Prepare For and Avoid Hidden Contractor Costs
Many trade shows have General Contractors who are there to provide certain show services, like Electrical, Labor, Material Handling and sign hanging. Although you may be required to use the show contractor for some services, double check your show requirements and contract as you may not be bound by the show contractor for everything. It is extremely important to be aware of the labor laws In each city or venue. Some cities/venues require you use labor unions for particular jobs (especially in Las Vegas). For example, you can’t even hang your own monitor at the Las Vegas Convention Center — only a worker from the Electricians’ union can do this. If you don’t comply, you will get charged extra by the general contractor. Avoid these costs by thoroughly reviewing your contract and by asking your exhibit house if you have questions.
You can only use an EAC (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor) for certain services, which typically relating to getting the booth built and shipping. The general contractor requires you to use them for electrical equipment/ labor, sign hanging, material handling etc. Including these added costs to your budget that go beyond the booth space and actual booth are important as they can be costly and a budget-buster if not anticipated.
Save on Shipping
Shipping is a huge cost, as traditional trade show booths are heavy, bulky, and expensive to ship from show to show. However, you can engineer your booth to work smarter. A good exhibit house will recommend things like fabric graphics instead of vinyl graphics because they are lighter and ship cheaper. Crates over skids protect your assets and ensure they can be used for years to come as opposed to continuously incurring refurbishment costs. If you plan on using an exhibit house to create your booth, find out what warehouses they have and how they can help you cut down on shipping costs. Consulting with an exhibit house will save you money in the end because they are aware of the discount dates and best practices, so you don’t get stuck with penalty fees. If your exhibit house has warehousing in cities where your trade shows are held, you will likely be able to store your trade show booth at that location and have it brought to the show at a much lower cost than if it were shipped by an outside company.
When you have a trade show booth, you will need someone to work the exhibit. For smaller companies, your show personnel may be able to bring show materials with them as they travel to the show, which can help eliminate additional shipping costs; however, at some shows, the General Contractor will charge you a premium rate to bring any additional packages into the show after your exhibit properties have been delivered. Ship all literature, snacks and giveaways to your exhibit house, so everything can be sent all at once. Other options include packing show materials in the crates for your trade show booth. Investing in corporate credit cards that can be used to accumulate rewards credits, flight points, or even cash back offers, which can help buffer some of the recurring expenditures. Carrying a balance is not advisable, but the card itself can potentially be beneficial.
Stretch Your Trade Show Budget
There are a number of ways that you can stretch your trade show budget, and the above are just some of the ways that you can be a cost effective exhibitor. Other ways that you can save money include opting to rent instead of buy, choosing cost-effective trade show booth materials, like modular displays with lightweight aluminum framing, and selecting fabric graphics over print. There are a number of options that can still give you an amazing booth while being kind to the budget.
Are you interested in getting a new booth, but aren’t sure where to begin? We can help sort out the costs and ensure you get the most bang for your buck. Contact us today at 678-846-3374!
Christian has over five years of professional event marketing experience. He has handled everything from on-site labor supervision to managing exhibit design projects in-house. He also enjoys rock climbing and any other outdoor activities. He is a critical thinker who is constantly challenging the status quo.