How much does it cost to set up a trade show exhibit?

How much does it cost to set up a trade show exhibit?

How Much Does it Cost to Setup A Trade Show Exhibit?

Many business owners get the impression that marketing at trade shows is too expensive to try out. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. While they aren’t cheap, they definitely won’t require you to invest more than a few thousand dollars (with the exception of popular trade shows, which can exceed $10,000). In the following sections, we’ll answer the question, “How much does it cost to setup an exhibit booth at a low to mid-level trade show marketing event?”

Basic Costs 

There are a few expenses associated with trade shows that you simply can’t avoid. Whether you’re attending a large event or a small one, you’ll still be required to pay for floor space, the exhibit, and all of your marketing materials. Everything else is typically extra (unless you’re traveling, in which case, you’ll have to pay more). As a general rule of thumb, expect floor space and the exhibit itself to take up between 40% and 50% of your total budget.

These figures are accurate and recommended assuming that you want your exhibit to look good and convert well. On average, most marketers will spend about 30% of their budget renting floor space and about 15% to 20% designing and putting together their exhibit. Floor space will typically cost you about $20 per square foot, but will definitely vary from event to event. This means that for a 100 square foot exhibit area you’ll be required to pay $2,000.

Note that in some cases, you can rent the same floor space at a discount rate by booking it many months in advance. Call the organizer of the event and inquire about any “early bird” discounts that they have to offer. The cost of the actual exhibit will range heavily depending on its intricacy and design. In general, expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to $1,000 for it. To blow the competition out of the water, you’ll definitely want to consider spending more, although it isn’t required. 

Travel Costs 

It’s very unlikely that you’ll be within close proximity to every trade show exhibit that occurs within your industry. As a result, you’ll need to create a budget that includes travel costs in it. This should include things like transportation (how you’re getting there), accommodation (where you’ll be staying), and food. These things can definitely add up quickly so make sure that you budget accordingly. On average, a one-day trade show marketing event located at least 400 miles away will cost you a minimum of $300 in travel costs. This can be broken down into the following:

  • Transportation: $120 to $300 depending on whether you’re flying or driving.
  • Accommodation: $100+ per night.
  • Food: $10 per meal minimum ($30 per day).
  • With all things being considered, prepare to invest anywhere between $3,000 and $4,000 for exhibiting at a small-scale trade show event. Mid-scale events will probably cost between $5,000 and $7,000 while larger ones will likely exceed $10,000. The actual number depends heavily on your niche, the popularity of the event, and whether or not you’ve snagged any early bird discounts.