Small Business Brief


How Much Does a Trade Show Booth Cost?

Are you trying to learn how much a trade show booth will cost? Well, you’re in the right place for that. 

In essence, the cost of trade show exhibit is highly-variable with many factors that affect the final price. However, that does not stop us from providing you with estimates.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the variable booth costs of building/buying a trade show booth. 

Whenever you’re ready to start your research, and hopefully the process of building/buying your own booth, keep reading.

On the Cost of A Trade Show Booth

It’s not a secret that most exhibitors are not keen on building and designing their own trade show booth. The next step for those who do not want to start from scratch is to purchase a ready-made solution.

To find the cost for each show with the booth you want to buy, you will need to approximate how many shows you will want to host. In general, most booths only last for about 5 years before they have to be replaced.

In any case, a professional design firm can handle each step of the construction/design process for you, as well as provide you with a custom-made solution built to your needs. An example of such a firm would be

The price that you will pay for the trade show booth will depend on its size, the materials used, the number and type of components needed.

In addition to building and designing it, most firms will provide storage and shipping services for most cities. This means you will not have to worry about the logistics of setting up your booth at a venue.

The Costs Broken Down

Going deeper into the costs behind a trade show booth, we can ascertain the price difference based on category. There are three primary ones, and they are:

  1. Modular
  2. Portable
  3. Custom

The cost for square-footage includes the structure elements, graphics, lights, crates, cases, and everything else needed to get you started. Content and A/V gear are not included usually. In some circumstances, furniture and flooring can be included, but it’s not common.

Portable, Modular, Custom

A portable trade show booth is one that is made of easily transported components. If the exhibit is small, it can easily be transported via personal vehicle. This is great for smaller companies that want to join trade shows without large capital.

The expected price per square foot of a portable trade show is anywhere from $50 to $200.

In modular booths, which are made of several separate components, can include demonstration islands, display stands, and any other functional piece. 

For modular booths, you can expect to pay from $70 to $300 per square foot.

Companies that can make use of greater financial capital might prefer a custom solution. The booth is customizable to the client’s needs, so the cost is estimated accordingly.

While it is more expensive, a custom-made trade show booth will enhance the impact of the presentation. Custom booths usually cost from $100 to $400 per square foot.

Flooring & Furniture

Another thing to consider is the flooring and furniture used. Flooring has a big impact on the feel and looks of your exhibit, not to mention the comfort for your staff. Flooring costs will vary based on the size of the booth and the material they are made of.

For example, plastic tile or foam will cost about $5 per square foot. Carpet floors might only cost $3 per square foot. But those are not the only types of flooring available, bamboo or stone flooring might cost over $10. 

For furniture, there is no estimate. Because of the wide variety of functions and aesthetics, furniture costs are extremely variable. 

The Variables

Variable functionality and features will also affect the booth price. For example, if you choose to make use of custom graphics that are arranged in a complex fashion, you will surely pay more than you would for simple graphics. Other elements such as a digital wall will raise the cost.

However, if your design is kept simple and you have not selected complicated functionality, your booth cost will be economical. On average, exhibitors spend very little of their budget on graphical and design elements that are not digital. 

Digital elements are usually more engaging and easier to create, so it’s not a surprise.

Floor Space Considerations

When you have to host an exhibit at a show, you are generally renting out space for your installation. The booth location rental is usually the most expensive part of the exhibit. As a matter of act, usually, a third of the trade budget is subject to use on rent.

Nonetheless, the amount paid for floor space is also widely variable. For example, exhibitors at Las Vegas trade shows usually shell out $40 per square foot of space. That comes out to about $16000 for a space that is 20×20.

Each city and location has its own price set as well. Therefore, what is normal for Las Vegas might be not normal for San Francisco. In total, booth space usually costs anywhere from $15 to $50 per square foot, outliers do exist.

Space costs will depend on various factors that are dependent on the:

  1. Venue
  2. Space rented
  3. City
  4. Nature of the show
  5. Season

And much more. While many large shows allocate their space on a first-come basis with the earliest people getting the best spots. Some shows will opt-in to charge premiums for special locations. At the latter, space at the end of the building might cost more than it costs in the middle of the room.

Also, spots located by the entrance will cost more than those that are tucked into the corners of the building. In essence, the more prominent the spot is, the more it will cost.

Therefore, selecting a less-prominent spot will help you save money. The only trade-off is a reduction in foot traffic. There are other ways to cut costs as well, such as hotel rooms, show services, and travel.

Business Education for You

Now that you know how much it costs to buy/build a trade show booth, you are that much closer to making your exhibition dream come true. As long as you invest your budget properly and have a clear vision in mind, your trade show booth will look fantastic.

If you’re interested in other business articles that help you make better decisions and expand your business, check out some of our other articles below.