Tips for tradeshow booths on a budget.
Whether you are an entrepreneur showcasing your latest venture or a start-up company launching new products or services, tradeshows and conventions are a great marketing tool. Exhibiting your products or services at an industry tradeshow has many perks. Tradeshows and conventions offer an amazing opportunity to present your products or service to your target market face to face. The lead generation and networking is a huge asset for any company.
But, tradeshows are expensive, especially for start-up companies. You can expect to pay for booth space, booth equipment, giveaways, booth staff, travel, and shipping. When participating in a larger show at a convention center or expo hall, get ready for the real rip-offs. You will pay extra for electricity and WiFi in your booth, furniture, and even carpet. Speaking of carpet, do you need padding under the carpet, or do you want to stand on concrete covered with carpet for 10 hours? That padding will cost you! While smaller shows may not nickel and dime for every service, you can easily spend thousands of dollars to have a presentable, functional booth space.
Speaking of carpet, do you need padding under the carpet, or do you want to stand on concrete covered with carpet for 10 hours? That padding will cost you! While smaller shows may not nickel and dime for every service, you can easily spend thousands of dollars to have a presentable, functional booth space.
With some creativity and extra legwork, you can save money while presenting a beautiful space. I have compiled 13 tried and tested money saving tips for tradeshow booths.
Tips to Save Money When Exhibiting at a Tradeshow
- Drive instead of fly. If you are sending a team of people and the show is within an acceptable driving distance, rent a large vehicle and drive.
- Coordinate Travel. If you do fly, make sure you all arrive and depart around the same time. Determine whether it makes sense to rent a car or share a ride to the hotel. Better to have one Uber X fare than 5 for the same trip.
- Ridesharing vs renting. It seems obvious that a rideshare service would be cheaper than renting a car, but this is not always true. For example, last week, I rented a car for $49 for 48 hours, which was less than I would have spent on a taxi or Uber to and from the airport. Also, remember you may be running money saving errands (mentioned below) before and after the show.
- Hire local booth workers. Are you bringing non-sales employees to scan badges for lead generation or demo a product? Hire a local person instead. This will save on travel and meal expenses plus you can pay cash without completing a 1099 (at the time of this post, the legal minimum amount that requires a 1099 is $600 ). Post an add on Craigslist in the event section. (TIP: request references, photos, resume and conduct at least a phone interview prior to the show.)
- Print local. If you are shipping collateral or signs, find out if you can print locally instead. If you typically print materials at a chain like FedEx, you can even order online.
- Create a shipping account. You will pay less for shipping if you create an online account with FedEx or UPS and print your own shipping labels (TIP: if you have a business American Express, you will get an additional statement credit when you use FedEx).
- Plan ahead. You can usually receive discounted pricing on furniture, electricity, carpet, lead generation, and anything else offered by the facility if you order in early.
- Don’t ship what you can buy. Make a list before the show and determine what you can buy locally. This is likely a different list for everyone, but a great example is booth candy.
- Bring your own flooring. If you are required to order carpet, bring your own. Head to a local Home Depot. Find the carpet section and have them cut a roll in the dimensions of your booth. Pick up a carpet pad (or three!) and some doubled sided carpet tape. You will have to install it yourself, but it will save hundreds. If you want a unique floor, order carpet tiles and create a checkered pattern. Have them shipped to your hotel and install.
- BYOBF– Bring your own booth furniture. Guess what?! You can buy a 6 ft table on Amazon and some chairs (or pick up locally) for cheaper than you can rent. Don’t forget a nice table cloth (or sheet) to cover it.
- Hit the grocery store. As a healthy traveler, I always find a grocery store when I travel and stock up on healthy snacks and water. Skip the $3 waters and $5 muffins at the show and bring your own.
- Store Off-Site– If you require storage during the show, it is likely cheaper to use an extra hotel room or rent a storage unit. It sounds crazy, but I have paid $125 per day to store 10 boxes onsite. A storage unit offsite was $75 for an entire month.
- Hand-carry. When the show is over, do not leave your items in the booth with shipping tags. Take them to a FedEx or UPS yourself.
Those are all my money saving tips for tradeshow booths. How have you saved money during a tradeshow? Please share your trade show tips in the comment section!