Where Does Your Money Go With Trade Show Costing?

Published September, 2023

Trade shows can be productive, educational, and even fun if a drain on personal energy after a hectic schedule over a few days. However, for all of that, working with exhibit services to create a good trade show experience is still about one thing; return on investment.

If you let them, trade shows can result in significant expenditures, so for a reasonable expectation of ROI, it’s important to know where that money is spent. Here’s a quick checklist of what to budget for your next trade show.

Space Rental

Your first upfront cost will be for the space you’ll use in the trade show. As to be expected, the more space you want, the more it will cost. Different trade shows will charge different rates for the space size available, so there’s no universal advice to give here. Just ensure that you strike a balance between the minimum space you need to operate and the cost of your total budget.

Exhibit Cost

The next big expenditure will be on your exhibit itself. You’ll want to work with experienced, professional exhibit services to design and build this for you to get the best results. Of course, this all comes at a cost as well, and the more elaborate and space hungry your exhibit is, the more it will cost to build it.

Again, start from your minimal needs for the trade show and then build up from there when balancing your total budget.


Once your space, design, and construction costs have been sorted, the assorted services required for your trade show experience will be next. Logistics is the first and most important since your exhibit, once built, will have to be transported and assembled at the trade show site.

Other services include technical, such as if you’re going to be running a lot of technology at your exhibit, such as many monitors, audio equipment, and others.


A final cost is, unsurprisingly, marketing. Just because you’re at a trade show doesn’t mean people will automatically know about and come to your exhibit. You must promote and market your trade show presence just as aggressively as you market your own product or service.

Fortunately, with trade shows with a “captive audience” attending, the effort can be more focused. Marketing and promotional materials will still need to be created, however.

If you’re considering participating in a trade show and want to plan your exhibit, we can help. Contact Lighthouse Exhibits, and we can assist you with designing and constructing your trade show exhibit.