How Much Does a Booth in a Home & Garden Show Really Cost?

Home & Garden Shows are costly. Check out the expenses involved in creating a successful home show booth for contractors. 

If you ended with a possible yes from part one of our Home and Garden Show series, Should Your Home Contracting Business Participate in the Next Home Show?, then you'll want to outline your budget details. No one wants to build a beautiful and costly booth, and have no one see it. 

First, start with your ultimate end goal—how many leads, or more importantly, how much new business is this home show going to bring you? If this isn't your first home show, then you have the luxury of historical data to look at. If it is your first, talk to a few other professionals that have done the show before. Find out what is realistic and build from there.

Something that home show veterans will tell you is it's not about the quantity of leads, but rather the quality. Go ahead and sign every tire kicker up for a free consultation and watch your customer acquisition costs go through the roof. Spend the time to pre-qualify people right at the show. It will be the best thing you do at the home show. 

Now it's time to figure up some costs. Consider the sum of your non-promotional costs associated with the show, including booth fees. The simplest way to get these costs is to treat the home show display like any other design/build project your company does. What will your labor costs be to design the home show booth, build it either onsite or in advance including rentals, delivery fees, fuel, etc. Pulling off a great home and garden booth is well over 80 labor hours all said and done. Don't underestimate the logistics of working in a unusual environment like indoor facilities with 200 other companies trying to do the same. It's often complete maddness. 

What's next? Obviously materials are a big expense. Chances are, if you've been in business for at least a few years with decent sales volume, a product manufacturer or your dealer will help out with the material costs associated. Many building product manufactures even have home show policies in place in which materials are provided to you at reduced costs or even free. Do your homework and network with your materials sales reps well in advance of the show to get an arrangement set.

Lastly, promoting your company's presence at the home show is often overlooked by home contractors. With all of the time and expenses involved in getting the booth set-up and ready, actually promoting it is the cheap part. While the company putting on the show is quick to tell you how many print ads they will run, and all about the wonderful direct mail campaigns they will use to promote the show, it's important to realize that—even if all that is 100% true (uh-hum)—you still need to drive people to your booth. Most of this, if not all, can be done digitally through social media, blogging, and PPC campaigns.

Read part 3 in this series: What to do when the home show doesn't produce enough leads.

Image Susan Reimer via Flickr