Whether you’re a first time exhibitor or a trade show veteran, one of your primary concerns will be your exhibition budget.

There are lots of costs to consider when it comes to exhibition budgeting and if you don’t monitor your expenses carefully, you will soon see your budget disappear along with your prospects of getting a good ROI.

So we have put together a list of cost-saving tips to help you manage your exhibition costs effectively. Here are the top ten tips we have listed:

  • Plan Early
  • Consider All of Your Shows at Once
  • Use a Reusable Exhibition Stand
  • Look Out For Hidden Electricity Costs
  • Avoid Tempting Bundles
  • Breakdown Your Exhibition Budget
  • Consider Your Storage Costs
  • Ask About Reinstall Costs
  • Use an Exhibition Company that Does Everything in-house
  • Use the Money You Save From these Tips to Invest in Your Stand

PLAN YOUR EXHIBITION BUDGET EARLY

One of the best ways to save exhibition costs is to plan well ahead of your scheduled show. Although there is no such thing as “too early” when it comes to the planning of your exhibition, ideally we recommend you allow 9 to 12 months for this.

Not only will this ensure you are properly organised for your event, it will also save you money. Businesses that leave it too late to arrange their exhibition often end up paying extortionate late fees or rush costs. This includes things like booking your hotel room, travel expenses, your exhibition space and services, as well as the build and design of your exhibition stand.

The more time you have to explore your options for all of your exhibition costs, the more flexibility you will have. And you can take advantage of any early bird offers the organisers may have.

Planning early, gives you the time to negotiate better rates and find services and suppliers that offer the best value.

To learn more about how to plan for your event, read our guide on how to organise your exhibition.

CONSIDER ALL OF YOUR SHOWS AT ONCE

If you plan to exhibit at other events throughout the year it will save you money if you take into consideration all of your shows at once.

Tell your exhibition stand contractor when you book your stand – any good exhibition stand design and build company will look at your numerous shows as a package.

This way the flexibility for your graphics and stand structure can be planned and designed from day one. This will ensure you can use your stand across all of your exhibitions no matter how much your space differs from show to show, stretching your exhibition budget.

Exhibition budget for stand design, proposal for a trade show. Simple, white and pink two open sides corner stand.

USE A REUSABLE EXHIBITION STAND

The cost of a one-off exhibition stand is expensive. But even if you don’t have any further shows booked yet, you should still consider using a reusable stand that will have a longer lifespan than just one exhibition.  This will lower your exhibition costs in the long run.

A reusable modular exhibition stand will yield more ROI than a single-use custom build stand. But be careful as many companies claim their modular stands are reusable when they’re not. If their stands can’t be reused in a different space, then they can’t be reused without significant expense.

Using a custom modular stand, like our exclusive Prestige Event System, means it can be redesigned for different spaces at different shows. And as you have the flexibility to use the same stand over your entire exhibiting calendar, you could save up to 70% off your exhibition stand budget.

What is more, as well as being significantly cost-effective, reusing your exhibition stand is of course environmentally friendly, as it avoids the wastefulness of “throwaway” custom builds which are likely to end up in a skip at the end of the show.

LOOK OUT FOR HIDDEN ELECTRICITY COSTS

As anyone who has ever exhibited before will know, there can be hidden costs that need to be considered, including the electrical costs for your stand. Prices can range from £200 to £800 for the use of electricity and there are often electrical testing charges on top of this.

As these services have to be booked directly with the show’s electrical contractor, the rates you pay for this are out of the hands of your exhibition stand designer and builder. But it is always a good idea to discuss electrical costs with your exhibition company at the quote stage. They will be able to tell you how many sockets will be needed for your stand, thus enabling you to estimate the overall costs.

Obviously, the less technology you use at your exhibition, the less electricity you will need and the less you will have to pay. To reduce your exhibition costs try to use as few sockets as possible and cut down on non-essential appliances that will draw a lot of power.

Another way to keep your exhibition costs down is to use LED lighting. This way multiple lights can be connected to one multi-plug extension, which in turn goes into just one paid socket. As LED lighting uses minimal wattage, it means you pay less if you are charged for higher wattage costs.

Although the use of AV displays and interactive technology can certainly enhance a stand if your exhibition budget doesn’t allow it then it would be best to leave this out of your exhibition package.

Proposal for an exhibition budget. Blue and white exhibition stand for a trade show. Two open sides corner stand.

AVOID TEMPTING STAND BUNDLES

Many exhibition companies will try to entice you with bundles that include extras such as audio-visual features or furniture for your stand.

Although these bundles might sound tempting – as they could potentially save you time looking around for these extra features yourself – they may prove much more expensive. Either your supplier has a limited range of these extra features already, or, as is most often the case they hire them out from contractors and then put a huge mark-up on your price.

You can make significant savings to your exhibition budget if you hire these extra items separately yourself.

It’s not just about the costs either. If your contractor has hired these items from outsiders, you have no idea who these people are or how good their products will be.

Exhibition companies who don’t offer these bundles will still have the same connections. This means any good exhibition contractor can advise you on what products you need and put you in touch with the most reliable suppliers you can book with directly at a lower cost.

BREAKDOWN YOUR EXHIBITION BUDGET

The best way to keep on top of your exhibition budget, and keep costs down in the long run, is to do a breakdown before you start spending. And the first thing to decide is how much you intend to spend on your exhibition space. Of course, if you’re new to exhibiting it can be hard to know exactly what the costs of anything will be. Hopefully, the following breakdown should provide some clarity.

The size of your space will depend a lot on your exhibiting objectives, but whatever space you choose should be around 25% of your overall exhibition budget. So, if your space is 5m x 3m at a cost of £300 per sqm then this will cost £4,500. If you accept this is no less than a quarter of your exhibition expenditure it will make it easier to calculate everything else.

Of course, there is no point in overspending on an expensive space at an exhibition only to turn up with a stand that everyone will ignore – if anything this could prove detrimental to your brand.

The best way to raise brand awareness and draw in your target audience is with an eye-catching exhibition stand, so make sure you invest in this properly, by allocating at least half of your exhibition budget to it. This means your stand should cost double your exhibition space. So, for example, if your space is £4,500 then you should be spending at least £9,000 on your stand.

Because there is a long list of minor expenses, an often overlooked aspect of exhibition budgeting are extra services such as electrics, AV features, and furniture. You should look at allocating at least 10% of your budget to these services.

Top 10 Tips for your Exhibition budget. Large and eye-catching colourful stand

CONSIDER YOUR EXHIBITION STAND STORAGE COSTS

Storing your stand in-between shows can be expensive and difficult. Most businesses do not have the storage or transportation capabilities to look after their stand after a show.

If you don’t use an exhibition company that takes care of your storage and transport then one option is to look into “big-box” companies that store furniture and also offer free shipping. There are plenty of these about, so find one that will fit within your exhibition budget and will ship your stand for free directly to your shows.

But, of course, the cheapest and easiest option is to use an exhibition company that includes storage and transportation as part of your exhibition stand project management service.

At Quadrant2Design, under our Free2hire™ plan, which we offer to all our clients, we will store your stand and graphics between shows free of charge. This gives you the freedom to exhibit more frequently for less cost.

ASK ABOUT REINSTALL COSTS OF YOUR STAND

You can save exhibition costs by having your own staff set up and take down your stand for repeat events. But unless you have one that is easy to assemble and dismantle, your inexperienced team may damage the exhibition stand in the process.

Whether you choose to use an exhibition supplier or hire contractors, we highly recommend using professional installers to reinstall your stand.

In many cases, reinstalling the same stand at future exhibition events will be around 30% of your initial investment of a new stand plus installation, and this can be even more expensive if you are using hired labour.

Unless you take reinstallation costs into account when choosing your exhibition stand supplier, you could end up with unnecessary costs for repeat exhibitions – especially if they are unable to reconfigure your stand for different spaces.

This is why you must use an exhibition company that works with exhibition stand solutions that can be redesigned and reconfigured to fit different spaces. And our high-quality and flexible Prestige Event System is this solution.

At Quadrant2Design, your re-installation costs are significantly reduced compared to other exhibition companies.

Budget for an exhibition stand. Eye-catching and pink exhibition stand for a trade show.

USE AN EXHIBITION CONTRACTOR THAT DOES EVERYTHING IN-HOUSE

There is no doubt that choosing an exhibition company that can guarantee every service is done in-house is by far the best way to save exhibition costs.

From stand design, graphic design and print to stand manufacture and installation, if your exhibition company are outsourcing any of these services to third parties it means they are paying others to do it and adding their own mark-up to your costs.

One solution would be to use your exhibition company for their in-house services and find everything else yourself. But the more individual services you have to hire, the more costly your overall exhibition is going to be. Also, the more you have to do yourself the more time you spend working on your exhibition when you could be working on your business.

Any good exhibition stand contractor will take care of all aspects of your exhibition stand process, without sub-contracting any service to outsiders. This not only means you don’t get charged an unexpected mark-up on prices but also guarantees quality control for your exhibition.

USE THE MONEY YOU SAVE FROM THESE TIPS TO INVEST IN YOUR STAND

The best way to ensure you get a good ROI for your exhibition is to invest in your stand. This is the one area of your exhibition you can’t cut corners on.

To raise your brand awareness and capture those key leads you to need to make sure you stand out from the other exhibitors and drive traffic to your stand. Although there are lots of ways you can generate interest in your exhibition, nothing will attract the right type of attention more than an eye-catching stand design.

If you follow the exhibition budget tips in this guide, you will have extra funds to invest in exhibition stand design features that will get your brand noticed in the exhibition hall.

To learn more about how to make your exhibition stand, stand out from the crowd, read our top 6 exhibition stand design ideas to attract visitors.

Quadrant2Design have an amazing and extensive selection of unique design ideas and features that will help you make an impact in the hall and attract prospective customers to your exhibition.  For help with your next exhibition stand call us on 01202 723 500, or email designteam@quadrant2design.com