The Basics of a Trade Show Budget
The Basics of a Trade Show Budget


Whether it’s your first trade show, or you’ve been around the globe a few times, a trade show budget is essential to planning any trade show event. When creating such a budget, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

When creating a trade show budget, estimate your overall budget first. The bigger the exhibition, the bigger the budget. A great way to estimate your budget is typically calculating 3x the cost of your booth space itself. If you don’t know the cost of the booth space, you can estimate roughly $22 per square foot of booth space x 3 according to The Trade Show Institute.

Next, consider creating spreadsheet with estimated costs and actual estimates from vendors. Here are a few categories you should incorporate in your cost breakout.

  • Association Fees (booth space, registration fees, and sponsorships)
  • Exhibit properties (structure, graphics, carpet, and furnishings)
  • Transportation (including crates, shipping and drayage)
  • Labor (installation, dismantle, supervision, and rigging, if any)
  • Show contractor services (e.g., electrical, floral, daily cleaning)
  • Advertising (including flyers, online promotion, and promotional items)
  • Human costs (lodging for your team, transportation, food, and incidentals)

Remember to record actual costs at the end of your event. Additionally, ask your team for feedback to help you refine your budget for your next event. Finally, remember that no budget is ever final. Unexpected opportunities and incidentals always come up so plan ahead with a bit of financial cushion in case things don’t work out perfectly as planned.

If you have any questions about exhibitions, please contact us. We offer custom solutions to all your trade show needs and we can work with you and your budget.

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