How To Budget For Your Trade Show

by May 17, 2023

Trade shows have proven to be an extremely beneficial marketing strategy for businesses. However, costs can add up quickly when you think about everything that goes into planning and attending one. When determining your budget, you have to remember the costs associated with the things you can’t see. Many people factor in the price of designing and manufacturing the booth itself but tend to forget about intangible items, like shipping and labor. 

What should you consider when budgeting for a trade show?

Shipping Costs

The cost of shipping a trade show booth depends on various factors. For example, a large, heavy booth that needs to travel a long distance on a plane will cost significantly more than a small, lightweight booth that needs to travel a short distance on a truck. To get an estimate of your booth’s shipping costs, make sure you get a quote from the company you’re using to ship the booth — whether it’s the design company or a third-party logistics company — at the start of your project.

Cost to Power Your Booth

The cost to power a trade show booth is determined by how much electricity your booth requires, how long electricity is needed, and the venue’s location. Most trade shows provide electricity access to vendors, but in other cases, the price to power your booth can range from $100 to $500. There may also be additional charges for labor, equipment rental, and electrical installation and maintenance if needed. While planning your budget, contact the event venue and ask them about their electricity policy to get an accurate estimate of the cost to power your trade show booth. 

Materials Used

Advanced technology and the number of materials available for fabrication allow more versatility and creativity when designing your booth. However, some materials cost more than others to use and ship. For example, wood is highly durable and on the cheaper end, but it costs more to ship because of its heavier weight. If you want to save on transportation costs, aluminum extrusions are an excellent lightweight alternative. Because more work goes into their intricate design, they are more expensive upfront. Ask the professionals designing your booth about your material options and where you can save money while bringing your vision to life. 


Labor costs for a trade show booth can range from a few hundred dollars for a simple pop-up shop to tens of thousands for a large, custom-design booth requiring complex installation. A highly customized booth with complex fabrication will likely need a professional installation team to set up and take down before and after each show you attend. You will also have to consider maintenance costs, which cover repairing, cleaning, and updating your booth while it is in storage and awaiting its next exhibition.

Location and Size of Trade Shows

The cost of renting exhibit space at a trade show can vary depending on the location and size of the event. For example, events held in major cities or at popular convention centers such as the Javits Center in New York or the San Diego Convention Center will have higher renting fees than smaller regional events. It’s also important to consider the travel costs for you and your staff and whether or not flights and hotel rooms are needed.

Marketing Genome Will Work With You and Your Budget

At Marketing Genome, take advantage of our full management program benefits. Our expert team will work with you to create a unique booth consistent with your brand and within your budget. From the fabrication process to the transportation and on-site program management services we offer, we can design your trade show booth with appropriate materials and ship it to its event, where we will assemble and dismantle it. 

Do you need help creating an eye-catching and on-trend trade show booth that fits your budget? One of our expert marketing consultants can provide a complimentary brainstorming and evaluation session to find out how we can help you. Let’s Talk!

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