The Real Cost of a Holiday Booth

Last week, we exhibited our Tastes of Idaho products in a holiday booth at a local fair. We have done lots of shows in the past — mostly kiosks in the Mall — but this is the first time in a few years that we have done a show booth (Actually, the event was sponsored by our church).

We spent Friday afternoon setting up, Saturday at the show, Are Holiday Shows Worth It?and Sunday afternoon, taking the booth down … Close to two days of work.

Was it worth it?  Well, we sold about $200 worth of product.  Maybe that sounds good, but after taking into account the cost of goods, cost of the booth and gas to the fair, we may have made $40!!  And that does not take into account our time.

So, what are the REAL expenses to doing a booth in a show?

Harriete Estel Berman, guest blogger on the Artsy Shark, details a list of costs that most people may not think of:

What are typical show expenses?
A quick list includes:

  • application fee
  • photography
  • booth fee
  • travel expenses including: driving or a flight, food and/or lodging
  • booth tent purchase or rental
  • display tables/cases
  • drape/fabric for display
  • lighting
  • signage

This is a quick list. But these are only the “out of pocket” expenses — the show expenses for which you can obtain a receipt and itemize on your income tax forms.What is not itemized is YOUR TIME:

  • one/two days packing
  • two days at a show
  • one/two days unpacking and recovering
  • and time traveling to and from the show

By using her formula,we lost a significant amount of money!

But another way to look at this show was to take into account all the contacts we made.  We gave out numerous business cards and information about our website to friends and attendees that did not know about our site or our products.  We also had a few people tell us that they wanted to order some product later (of course, this may not happen!)

So did we loss money? In the short term, yes!  In the long term, maybe not.

But after all is said and done, we will probably not do this holiday fair again. Instead, we considered this as a learning experience!!

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