How Much Does a Trade Show Cost?

Trade shows are an amazing way for you to show off new products and services and find new clients and customers. For many businesses, a trade show can help launch their company to the next level as they make valuable connections. However, though a trade show can make you money in the long run, it also has costs to get started.

There are multiple factors that go into determining how much it will cost to attend a trade show. Different shows and different industries will also have varying rates. However, in this article we will look at the top costs associated with getting your own booth at a trade show including shipping your show materials.

Main Costs Associated with Attending a Trade Show

  1. Your Display and Products: To present properly, you need a booth, banners, signage, business cards, and products you plan to present or share.
  2. Trade Show Attendance Fees: These are any fees associated with the individual trade show you are attending. This will vary depending on the venue and show.
  3. Transportation and Accommodations: This will vary widely depending on where the trade show is, travel distance, and length of the convention.
  4. Shipping: Your trade show budget should include transportation fees for all your display items and products.

Item Handling Fees at the Venue

When your shipment arrives at the venue, an official materials handler will be the one to move your items on the venue floor.  This handler is appointed by the show organizer and is the only one who can officially direct how things are moved.

Though there are various fees associated with this, there are ways you can reduce your costs at this step by simplifying the handler’s job. To save money on these fees, do the following.

  • Skip Special Handling Instructions: If possible, limit any special handling instructions. Any extra instructions you may give the materials handler is likely to add on time to the setup which will add to yours costs.
  • Simplify Your Setup: This goes along with the first point. You may be able to skip special handling instructions if you are smart about how your booth and other materials are set up. Avoid fragile, cumbersome setups that will require extra time unless it is absolutely necessary.  Further simplify setup by ensuring your items fit on a palette that can be moved by a forklift.
  • Be On Time: Shipping items early will save you money and complications in multiple ways. One of these is that your handling fees at the show will be less if the materials handler does not have to move your items in later than all the others.

Shipping Costs

Shipping Costs

While the cost of entry to procure your spot at the convention along with the cost of the booth itself is often at the top of the expense list, shipping is also an important consideration. In fact, it can be quite significant. Smaller fees can really start to add up as well. When devising your shipping plan, consider these costs and tips:

Small Item Fees: If you have smaller items being shipped to the trade show along with your booth and other, larger items, it is usually best to combine these onto a single palette. Shipping the smaller items separately typically only makes sense if it will allow you to avoid paying for Full Truckload Shipping as opposed to Less Than Truckload Shipping. Shipping everything together reduces the chances of smaller items getting lost or arriving late.

Timing: There are a few ways to look at timing for shipping. On one hand, if you ship too early you will need to store your items in a warehouse until the show date. However, if you ship too late, your items may not arrive on time or you may get stuck with high expedited shipping costs.

Generally, shipping early and storing your items is money well spent. When your items are already near the convention site this makes setup on the day of the event much easier and less stressful all around. Costs for the warehouse may be similar to what you could pay for expedited shipping but will come with peace of mind as you have a much more sound guarantee that the items will be there when you need them.

Shipping Less than Truckload Freight (LTL):  Another way that shipping early can save you money is that you will be able to take advantage of Roadlinx’s LTL freight shipping rates. With LTL, your items are combined with other shipments in order to reduce costs. However, this reduced cost is possible because it does tend to take longer due to extra stops and other factors.

Note: Full Truckload Freight (FTL) is also available but a full truckload can take up to 40,000lbs. Unless your shipment is at or near this, LTL is almost always a better option and it is in your best interest to ship early whenever possible.

Booth and Graphics Costs

Booths and graphics are an area that you can save money, but may not want to in the long run. While there are many premade graphics and booths available, they will not be as eye-catching as something created specifically for your business.

When choosing the components of your booth, remember it is the main way you will advertise your business inside the trade show. Your booth will also likely be with you through several conventions or possibly even several years. Spending more now could mean attracting more customers and also possibly having a better quality booth that will last longer.

For these costly booths, consider keeping them safe with Roadlinx’s professional warehouse storage in between trade shows. With our warehouse solutions, you get 24/7 surveillance, temperature controlled environment, and the option for fenced security.

How Much Does a Trade Show Cost Example

Now that we’ve looked at some of the main expenses associated with a trade show, let’s put it together to get a rough idea of how much an average convention may cost. According to ExhibitsUSA, your biggest expense at a trade show is the space rental itself, requiring roughly a third of your budget. Other major expenses included the cost of the booth itself, event fees, shipping, and travel expenses.

Your final cost per event will vary depending on multiple factors but, on average, you can expect to pay around $27CAD per square foot of event space. Therefore, if your booth requires a 400 sq ft space,  you would pay $10,800CAD (400 sq ft X $27CAD per sq ft).

Since the fee for the space represents around 33% of your budget, you can multiply it by three in order to get an estimate of your total cost for an event. In this scenario, your total cost would be $32,400CAD.

Note that this estimate does not include the total price of a booth but, instead, potential costs associated with repairing the display and/or reprinting signage as needed.

Call for Trade Show Shipping Cost Solutions

At Roadlinx, we understand how important trade shows are to your business. This is why we have created dedicated trade show shipping solutions to ensure your items get where they need to be on time and in perfect condition.

Call 905-760-1141 to get a free estimate on trade show shipping today.

Get a quote today!



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