Trade Show Tips

How to Create an Effective Trade Show Budget

When attending a trade show, there are a number of moving parts that can affect your budget. How much money should you allocate towards each item on your checklist? Here’s a few general guidelines to keep in mind.

Exhibit space

For most businesses, the cost of the exhibit space itself will comprise about 30 percent of your trade show budget. This expense — your budget’s largest — includes factors such as the fees for exhibiting as well as securing a prime location, if applicable.

Staffing and travel

Expect to allocate about 20 percent of your budget to staffing your booth and paying for their related expenses. In addition to factoring in meals, lodging and transportation, don’t forget about any special training that might be needed.

Booth design

As the centerpiece of your trade show presence, your booth design requires a great deal of planning and detail. To get an accurate assessment of this cost, determine which features you want your booth to contain and price them out during the consultation phase.

Shipping, transportation, and drayage

Comprising about 10 percent of your total trade show budget, shipping, storage, and packing materials can sometimes be difficult to plan for. While a shipping quote is relatively straightforward to obtain based on the weight, height and dimensions of your booth, drayage tends to be more difficult to pin down. Expect to pay about the same in drayage as you do in shipping or slightly more.

Marketing materials

The purpose of attending a trade show is to promote awareness of your brand and its offerings. Set aside about five percent of your total trade show budget for marketing materials such as product demos, giveaways, and company literature.


Your budget should have a miscellaneous category that is about five percent of the total. These are costs that are necessary but are often easy to overlook such as WiFi, housekeeping and lead gathering. Having this buffer will help ensure you don’t go over budget should another aspect of your budget cost more than originally expected.

In need of a new booth or trade show services? Nimlok NYC aims to make the process of attending an industry event as seamless as possible with full-service exhibiting solutions. With over 45 years of combined trade show experience, we are happy to work with businesses of all sizes to help them maximize their results from attending a trade show. Contact us today to learn more.