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Facts On Cost Of Exhibition Stands

It may help to change the question slightly by asking instead "How much should my exhibition stand cost?" It's almost impossible to state a number accurately and exactly; however, the final number depends on which exhibition you're participating in. Of course, there are other factors to consider such as design and the type of presentation you want to make. But there are some elements common to all displays and exhibit stands that you should always invest in.

Where Do You Start?

With any exhibition or trade show, you must start with planning and design. First, you put together a strategy, a plan for achieving success measured in return on investment (ROI). This essential stage should begin with this question "Why is my company exhibiting or participating in this event?" Of course, the quick answer is that you’re trying to attract prospects and turn them into qualified leads.

To get profitable answers, you must ask the right questions. Are you using the exhibition setting to present a product or a service? Will you exhibit at additional shows or will this be your one big opportunity? At this point, you can begin to determine costs, which start with the cost of space in the exhibit hall.

The venue and organiser charges per square metre (sqm) for floor space. For example, AUD$400 per sqm is your first expense before you begin to figure the total cost of the exhibition stand. Experience shows that this generally accounts for about 25% to 30% of the total exhibit cost. Suppose that you book floor space of 10 sqm. Your cost for space would be AUD$4,000. Using average numbers, you have a budget of approximately AUD$12,000 to get the trade show or exhibition job done correctly. Booking early may mean an attractive discount.

The Booth Itself

Once you have floor space secured, it’s time to get into the details of design. Of course, you have a general idea about size well ahead of time so you can arrange for the correct amount of space. For a price of about AUD$200 per sqm, you can get a shell scheme booth. Electricity and lights could be extra. If you choose to have a bespoke designed stand, you must include design costs in your overall expenses.

You want your booth or stand to look great, certainly. But it must also function to set you apart from the competition and attract prospects. Conduct your market research, prepare a brief for the designer, and let that professional do what he or she does best. However, this doesn’t mean handing over your money and waiting until the design work is complete. You should continue to provide limited input on the setup and tear-down of the stand. You must be able to remove, store, and refurbish the structure for future use. This gives you much better ROI.

Remember, in this example your total budget will be about AUD$12,000. This should provide an excellent stand for your presentation. Make sure you discuss this figure with your designer. He or she will be able to advise you on the best way to spend this money so you maximise the impact you have at the trade show or exhibition. When you see the design, you will tell the designer that you love it because of appearance and function.

What Do You Get for Your Money?

At this point, you will begin to review a cost breakdown, which is a detailed quote that tells you where your money will be spent. Keep in mind that you’re purchasing the components that will actually turn the design into reality but you also need to allow for the cost for production and delivery. This requires research into the contractors who will be performing the work. You’d be wise to look for and ask for testimonials from past and current clients.

Enlisting the aid of a great designer and an even better contractor will allow you to focus on prospects, leads, and sales. You can hire furniture that you may need to save some cost. Bespoke elements can include canopies, display units for products and materials, etc. Keep detailed lists of what is being created new and what will be hired or is already on hand.

There’s More

To help you get started with some of the essential items associated with an exhibition stand, make your way through the following list:

  1. Be sure to include the cost for having electrical service available at your stand. This will probably be one of the charges from organisers of the trade show or exhibition.

  2. You may not require water or provision for getting rid of waste but you may want to include an estimate for these in your planning.

  3. You should also include the cost of producing marketing literature.

  4. Will you provide complimentary food and drinks during the exhibition? Don’t assume or dismiss this item.

  5. Additional graphics and artwork can be keys to success in a trade show display or presentation. Prospects may respond to visual ideas and stimulation when they would pay little attention to the printed material.

  6. Will you have added attractions such as a magician, a host or hostess, etc. This will be an added expense, though using these techniques can be effective.

  7. Additional marketing packages may sometimes be offered by the show organiser.

  8. In the business world of the 21st century, it’s always a great idea to have Internet access available at your exhibition stand.


You can hire a company that will take your exhibition idea from start to finish: design, build, install, remove, and store. Perhaps you will use a separate designer and build contractor. Before making a choice, start your research well ahead of the show date. There is no final answer to the question posed at the beginning. But almost every guide you’ll study for marketing help will tell you that a trade show or exhibition can be the most effective marketing activity you’ll engage in if it’s done correctly.

Perform your pre-show research thoroughly, take all the necessary steps during the planning and design stage, and be realistic with your budget. Share your ideas and your budget numbers openly and honestly with designers and contractors. When it comes to buying a stand, you really do get what you pay for.