You Can Do a Trade Show on a Shoestring Budget

    You Can Do a Trade Show on a Shoestring Budget

    If you’ve been wanting to participate in setting up your very own booths at trade show’s, but assumed you couldn’t afford all of the associated expenses, think again. There are a number of ways to shave off thousands of dollars and still have a great experience. Here are a few ways you can attend a great trade show without losing your shirt.

    Start with the Booth Costs

    Paying for a booth, or custom exhibit, to showcase your business is often the most expensive part of a trade show, so it’s one of the best places to start when looking to cut your budget. One option you can explore is getting a pre-owned booth instead of building a brand new one. That can save your business more than half of what you’d spend. You can get something as simple as a branded table runner for just under $150 or a pop up fold-able display for under $300.

    Cobbling together a few pop-up options in a way that represents your company is far more affordable than going for a more traditional structured booth that can cost as much as $40,000 to $60,000 for a 20X20 booth. Another option that may be a bit better for your wallet is exploring a booth or exhibit rental. You can get a free quote from Structure Exhibits on what this may cost & it should save you a ton of money in comparison to buying your own.

    Save Money By Getting on the Microphone

    Are you pretty comfortable speaking in front of a crowd? If not, you may want to get comfortable, because signing up as a speaker at a trade show likely means you will not have to pay an attendance fee. In order to take advantage of that kind of opportunity, you have to contact the organizers several months ahead of the trade show or conference to investigate what it takes to qualify as a speaker. Prepare a proposal for your speech ahead of time to present to the organizers before contacting them. It’s always a good idea to check out trade show speakers from previous years and see what what they spoke about to get some inspiration. However, the more original your material is, the better chances you have of being selected as a speaker.

    BYO (Bring Your Own) Internet and Everything Else…

    Another way to save some serious cash is to avoid unnecessary charges for little things you may need, like the internet, or even chairs, for example. If you need the internet, you may be surprised just how much the trade show charges to grant you access. So consider purchasing your own mobile hotspot, or even using a WiFi hotspot provided by your cell phone carrier. If you will be at your booth or table for hours, be sure to bring your own fold-able chairs, because you won’t necessarily be provided with one from the conference. Another thing to consider is that some trade shows include meals in their fees, some do not. Therefore, it’s also a good idea to pack a cooler with water, food and snacks so you won’t have to spend a ton of money when it’s time to eat.

    These suggestions are great starting points for cutting down on your budget, but it’s just the beginning. Take a look at all of the projected expenses for an upcoming trade show that you are considering and ask yourself what you really NEED. It’s okay to get scrappy, participate on a smaller scale than you’d prefer, and plan to return the following year in style. For now, focus on showing up, saving money and get the most out of your experience.


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