How to Create a Trade Show Budget 

man's hands using blue calculator

How to Create a Trade Show Budget 

Trade shows are major investments. Setting a clear budget is a good way to measure your return on investment and ensure you get the most bang for your buck. But creating a budget can seem overwhelming if you’re new to trade show planning. Here are our tips and tricks on how to create an effective budget for your next trade show. 

How Much Does a Trade Show Cost? 

Depending on the event, exhibit spaces at trade shows can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $20,000. Booking your booth as early as possible will ensure that you get a good position and can take advantage of any discounts. Plus, knowing your booth rental fee can help give you a better estimate for your budget.  

A good rule of thumb for trade show budgeting is to take your exhibit space rental fee and multiply it by three. So, if your booth costs $10,000, then $30,000 is your ballpark budget. But you’ll still need to make adjustments depending on how far you’ll travel, where you’ll be staying, and other factors. 

What to Include in a Trade Show Budget

Breaking down trade show costs can help give you a better idea of how big a budget will be necessary. Here are the main components of a trade show budget:

  1. Exhibit space rental—this is usually the most significant part of the budget. The larger the space, the higher the cost. The location of the booth can also influence the cost. 
  2. Booth design—there are many elements of a trade show booth that you’ll need to print, including banners, stands, countertop displays, and print materials. You may also need to invest in design software, tablets for interactive displays, hand sanitizer stations, and other elements of your display. 
  3. Marketing materials—you may want to print brochures, business cards, or flyers to hand out and make your business more memorable. Printing QR codes that send booth visitors to your website is also a good idea.
  4. Booth staff—you’ll also need to account for your staff’s wages, training, travel, accommodations, etc. when determining your budget
  5. Miscellaneous expenses—this category includes any additional expenses related to the event, such as shipping, electricity, internet, prizes, etc. 

How to Create a Budget for Your Trade Show

1: Set Your Goals and Objectives

The first step in creating a budget is to determine what you hope to achieve at the trade show. Your goals should be specific and measurable. Do you want to generate more leads, increase brand awareness, launch a new product, or something else?

Your goals will influence how much you spend on each component of your budget. For instance, if you want to generate leads, you may set a goal of exactly how many leads you hope to achieve and invest more in staff training to help you reach those numbers. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, you may want to distribute a high number of marketing materials. So you may want to spend more of your budget on brochures or flyers. 

Aligning your budget with your goals may mean prioritizing the booth experience and keeping attendees around longer to engage with staff, pick up a business card, or sign up for your newsletter. 

2: Map Out Your Costs

You can map out your estimated costs by breaking down your budget into different percentages. This will make it easier to monitor your spending, so you can avoid blowing too much of your budget on one type of expense. 

Most exhibitors spend more on their booth than on any other part of the show. You can expect the booth rental fee and design costs to consume at least 30% of your budget. Your marketing efforts, staffing, services (electricity, wif-fi, cleaning, etc.), and other major expenses typically take up around 10-15% of the budget each.  

Here’s an example of a budget breakdown:

  • 40% on booth rental and design
  • 15% on employee training and accommodations
  • 15% on marketing materials
  • 10% on show services 
  • 10% on shipping
  • 10% on miscellaneous expenses

3: Monitor Your Budget

The only way for your planning to be successful is to continuously monitor your budget throughout the process. You may need to adjust your budget if expenses such as travel and shipping costs change. 

Affordable Trade Show Printing in Tempe

Once you’ve set your trade show booth budget, make sure to choose a professional print shop to help you get the most out of your display. At Mousegraphics, we offer a wide selection of affordable trade show displays and materials to help your exhibit stand out. Give us a call at 480-470-7438 today to get a quote for your next trade show.  

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/27/2023). Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash