Trade Show Exhibit Sticker Shock - Mark Bric Display

Trade Show Exhibit Sticker Shock

Those of us who have been in the trade show and exhibit industry for quite some time, take for granted that everyone knows that trade show exhibits with any degree of customized features can get pricy. Of late, listening to the chatter in our customer service department, it has become obvious that a lot of first time participants in trade shows are often not prepared properly for what their fiduciary reserves will need to be in order to participate in a trade show. That is not necessarily a bad thing –it is encouraging because it means there is a whole new crop of excited business people joining the ranks of trade show exhibitors. Trade shows are an excellent way to quickly harvest new leads, introduce existing clients to new products, and a wonderful venue to have meaningful face to face meetings with select existing and prospective accounts. All-in-all trade shows, if done well with proper pre, post, and during show event planning, are a sound investment.

There is, however, a learning curve that can be overwhelming without proper resources, guidance, and encouragement from those with expertise in the field.  There are a number of excellent resources for those new to how trade show marketing works. If you need a quick primer on show vocabulary, how to select booth space, what space should cost, what an exhibit should cost, what installation, drayage and storage entails, and helpful things you should ask of an exhibit provider, Exhibitor Online magazine is a great first stepping stone. Also, having a fellow professional, who has a few years of experience participating in trade shows, serve as a mentor can be extremely enlightening.


When it comes to the art of designing and task of selecting a display for your exhibit space it is wise to select a company with years of experience and a variety of exhibit size selections, capabilities and available price points, especially if you think your trade show program will expand to multiple shows with the potential for different sized exhibits each year.

There are many helpful checklists for estimating expenses and budgeting all aspects of trade show participation but for now let’s focus on just one – the expenditure, or should I say investment, of the trade show display itself. It has been reported that the current average cost per square foot for a custom exhibit is between $138-$154. Remember this is a custom display figure. Keep in mind, most custom display investments occur in exhibits over 200 square feet in size. If you just need to outfit a 10’ x 10’ in-line exhibit you can find a number of items for considerably less than $13,800 calculated at the minimum “custom” $/sq.ft. estimate. Small modular displays and quick fabric exhibits like the Mark Bric ShowFlex, Stretch, and Expo Tube are extremely budget friendly and might adequately suit your needs for less than $1,500! That’s a huge difference and very affordable.




The most helpful thing you can do to buffer against sticker shock is be up front with the exhibit manufacturer from whom you are purchasing. Tell them what your budget is and ask them to point you toward options in that price range. If your budget is flexible, in other words, if you have a range for example $10,000- $15,000, tell them that too so they can show you a few choices. This allows them to design a base exhibit and then add layers of customized features to the exhibit. For example, perhaps audiovisual sections or product display shelving and other sales tools that could increase your overall ROI at show could be added. It is not in an exhibit house’s best interest to waste your time creating renderings for exhibits that are too far out of your price range. It is best to be upfront to save their time and yours. Facilitating options that meet your goals and objectives, as well as stay within your budget, will also save you a lot of frustration. In addition, revealing expected budget figures in the beginning of the process also expedites exhibit creation turn-around time! Time is truly of the essence when you start learning how far in advance plans for each show or event need to be made! So many shows so little time!

Have questions about what options are available for 10’x10’ and 10’ x 20’ exhibit spaces? Start with one of our many display choices perfect for in-line exhibit spaces. Want a larger custom exhibit for a 20’ x 20’ or larger exhibit space? Start by investigating an ISOframe Custom exhibit. Mark Bric is sure to bring you an excellent experience that will help you secure a profitable ROI for your trade show exhibit dollars.

Call 804-862-4655 to speak with one of our helpful display designers and get your free, 3-D, full-color exhibit rendering started today.

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