I do not know about you but my budget was vaporized in 2009 like when Spock used a Phaser Rifle in “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. Now that we have survived the vaporization of our budgets we are being asked to do a lot more with less. I want to unveil some of the area’s that I focus on to reduce my over all spending at trade shows.
Trade Show Booths: Have you looked on eBay or Craig’s List for Trade Show Booth’s? Last week I needed to purchase a literature stand for a show coming up in July. I looked at several different suppliers for something that fit my needs. Before I actually purchased what I needed I ran a quick eBay search just to see if I could find the same product for less. What I was about to spend $150 on, I was able to find new on eBay for $50. That was a savings of over 60%.
I was also looking at some of the other items that were offered on eBay. I was able to find a 10×20 booth made by Skyline Exhibits, One of my former employers. I know this booth at the time of purchase was between $15,000 – $18,000, The Buy It Now price was $1200. This was an excellent buy because I know that all the parts can still be replaced and fixed from Skyline. On the opposite side of this I was able to find a booth that my good friend Jim built from “Take the Trade Show Trash Test”. The company had a 20 x 20 barn built trade show booth and had the nerve to try and sale it for the unbelievable price of $5000. My advice is if you are going to buy use make sure you do a little extra home work on what your company is buying, what you think is the worlds best deal can quickly turn into your biggest mistake.
Show Services Discounts: Any of us that have been in the biz for awhile know that every show has discounted rates for trade shows. Make sure you are doing all of your paper work a head of time. This will usually save you between 10 – 15% off of your show service. When working with small shows you must always be following up with a phone call to confirm that they have received your order. I guarantee you that they will not give you the discounted rate when you arrive on show site.
Shipping: I admit that is one of the hardest area’s for me to address, I plan as if everything is going to go wrong and pack a lot of extra items when I shipping. In preparation for a show I have to ship to Toronto Canada, I went over the items that are I wanted to shipping and trimmed some fat off. I was able to trim just over 200 pounds which will save me about $400 in shipping and drayage.
The second thing that’s a must is to find more than one shipper to quote your shipment. Shopping your rates from different sources is good business. Many of us get into the trap of using the same shipper over and over again. It’s OK to cheat on your current shipper, if you find that you can get a better rate from another shipper ask him to match the rate. Again on my show to Toronto I have 2 quotes with a difference of about $600.
Hotels: If your budget is like mine I have to pay for everything that is show related at every stink-in trade show. Make sure that you evaluate your options. Cheap hotels do not always reduce cost. Many of us have been to Chicago for a trade show of some type. I usually stay at the Hyatt attached to McCormick Place and pay more than $300 per night. Why because its cheaper than staying with the team at the Quality Inn a few miles away. If I spend over $150 per person per day on taxi’s getting to the event, that’s a waste of money and I would rather pay more on a room than for a taxi. Do your home work on hotels. (on a side note I really like the hot wings at the restaurant in the Hyatt)
I know that we have all been tasked with doing more for less. Please take time and share what you are doing to reduce costs at your trade shows.
Good Luck at your next show!