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What’s Your Budget about Trade Show Exhibit Needs

By February 14, 2023March 6th, 2023No Comments

Let me set the scene for you; I’m having a conversation with a potential new client discussing their trade show exhibit needs with regards to a trade show project that they would like us to design and produce for an upcoming show. They have been very forth coming with all the specific information on what they need for me to create a concept for them. Only one question remains and I’m ready to get started, what is your budget?In the 30 years of doing this it still amazes me that people still hesitate, or you hear an awkward five second silence when this question is asked. They hold on to their budget like it’s the key to the city. It feels like we’re playing poker and I asked a competitor to share their cards with me. It’s a simple question really and quite possibly the most important. Yet numerous people feel the need to hold on to that like its dear life. 75% of the time, we will get the response of “we don’t really have a budget.”Seriously…considering everyone has a budget for everything they purchase. We have budgets going to the grocery store, buying a car, shopping for a new appliance but when it comes time for your tradeshow exhibit, an extremely important business investment, there is no budget.The reasons for this are hilarious as well. Here are a couple of examples:

“If I give you my budget, it will restrict your creativity.”

“Giving a budget gives exhibit companies the opportunity to screw me.”

Providing your trade show exhibit partner with a budget or budget range is extremely important. First, by not knowing what you want to spend, your designer is confused and frustrated in which direction he/she can go. The cost of design, value engineering and estimating to exhibit companies can be excessive and expensive. By not providing a budget, you are wasting everyone’s time including yours. When I have a budget or a range, I always push the envelope and try to get as much bang creatively for your buck so to speak, as I can. Coming under or slightly over your budget allows for smaller tolerances and revisions without compromising the design concept you like, as opposed to coming in with a design that let’s say comes in at $100K and the client’s real budget is $45K. In this scenario, we wasted valuable time and resources for nothing. Take for example a recent situation that I just experienced. We met with a client who had a 20×50 and wanted a high-end custom exhibit. When we asked for a budget, we got the old “we don’t really have one.” Based on all the criteria they gave us, we told them that the exhibit would be around $300K in which they said, “that’s fine. If we like it, we will find the extra money.” A couple of weeks later, we came up with a beautiful solution that everyone fell in love with that was estimated at just under the $300k mark. Client absolutely fell in love with it but communicated to us that their actual budget is really $150k. So, what does that mean? It means that our entire team wasted their time and resources. Piece of advice, when I have to do major surgery to a concept and need to drop it down by 50%, the design will be compromised and it will not look anything like the original. Not to mention, we wasted two critical weeks to an already tight production schedule.

Providing your trade show exhibit agency/partner a budget number or a budget range, not only saves time and money, but it also helps everyone involved, especially you. If you’re really worried about unethical practices with your exhibit contractor, then I suggest you find a reputable professional organization that looks out for your interests, like all of us at PURE Creative Solutions Inc.