5 Tips for Trade Show Exhibiting on a Budget

Trade shows can be beneficial to the success of your business. Shows put small businesses on an equal playing field with the more established, larger competitors. Having a great show isn’t always about who spent the most money, but rather who was more prepared.

Everyone at a show, however, has a budget in mind when planning on exhibiting at a show however one doesn’t have to have a big budget to have an eye-catching display. There are several areas where money can be saved and or applied to other areas.

Graphic options

A good place to have a sufficient budget is with display graphics. Bold graphics are what will help get you noticed at a show. Portable roll-up graphics such as these  provide a simple inexpensive way to make a bold statement. They can also be carried into a show and don’t require show services to set them up. Placing several roll-up stands together are a great low cost option for a back wall.

Used displays

Finding a used display and refurbishing it to suit your needs is another option. Many companies grow out of their old displays or no longer exhibit at shows. Some of these displays can be found for a fraction of the cost that they were when new. Many are still like new.  Trade Show Advisor explores the ins and outs of considering used displays here.


If a larger display is needed, renting allows for the use of a more expensive display at a fraction of what it would cost to purchase one. There are upsides and downsides to renting exhibits. Learning the pros and cons can help to determine whether rental is right for your program. Renting allows for greater flexibility and is more cost effective. According to Exhibitor Online, it’s estimated that ongoing repair of an owned exhibit after each trade show can total approximately 3 to 5 percent of the total value of the exhibit.


Lets face it. There is a lot that goes into building a trade show display along with getting it to and from the show site. Rush charges and late fees can add up quickly when there isn’t adequate time allowed for the process. By planning ahead you will not only avoid rush charges but you will also have more time to consider more options, spend time shopping around, and ensure that you select the most cost effective yet high-impact alternative.


Shipping costs and drayage fees can add a significant amount to your overall trade show booth cost. By choosing very lightweight and portable display systems you can dramatically reduce those costs. These displays can be carried into the exhibit halls yourself and eliminate expensive drayage and Union fees. Fabric displays such as these are a great option. They are lightweight, portable, and can set up in as little as 5 minutes.

Trade show exhibiting doesn’t have to be expensive. It is still one of the best ways to meet your audience face-to-face, boost your brand awareness and generate leads. These tips can help you stay on budget, while still making an impact at the show.