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Trade Show Information from IGE Group —

Hidden Trade Show Costs to Watch For

hidden costs iceberg

Is your trade show ROI lower than it should be? Even with a successful trade show, your numbers can still turn out poorly. If you had a lot of traffic and passed off high quality leads to your sales team, but did not see the ROI you had hoped for, it’s probably hidden expenses that are cutting into your budgetHidden trade show costs can be more expensive than trade show professionals realize. It’s important to account for these expenses, though some will always slip through. However, the more you can plan ahead, the more ROI you can generate from your marketing strategy. Here are the most common hidden trade show booth costs that affect businesses and how to keep them to a minimum.


Be mindful of what, when and how you ship your custom trade show booths. Make sure all shipments are planned ahead so that you don’t end up paying late fees and surcharges. Box count and total weight also affect shipping costs, so purchase what you can once you reach your destination. For example, if you plan to print off brochures, you can do this at a local Kinkos/FedEx. 

Fuel Surcharges 

Fuel surcharges are additional shipping costs that cover the fuel used by postal trucks. These fees aren’t exactly in your control, but you still need to plan for them. Ask if your method of shipment includes a fuel surcharge, and if it does, if it’s fixed or not. Often, fuel charges fluctuate based on the time of year, political climate and other factors.

Late Fees

Shipping fees aren’t the only thing that’s affected by late planning. You can also incur a lot of extra costs by missing important deadlines. Be sure to start planning far in advance so that you can have everything approved in a timely manner. Purchasing electric, internet, booth space, etc. after the deadline usually includes late or rush fees that will cut into your budget. By planning early, you may be able to take advantage of early bird rates. 


If your trade show display booth is cumbersome and requires outside help to set up, expect to be charged for labor. Labor costs depend on how long it takes to set up the display and are usually discussed when arranging for shipping. To save on these costs, choose a pop-up display or rental that uses lightweight materials. This way, your own team can set up the display, saving money on labor and shipping. 

Wait Times 

If your driver has to wait to unload your trade show shipment, they get paid for this time. It makes sense, as some drivers have to sit for hours before they can unload the shipment. To avoid these costs, schedule your deliveries efficiently. If you can’t predict when you’ll be there to accept the materials, send your custom trade show display to an advance warehouse. 

IGE Offers Shipping and Logistics Services 

As you can see, most hidden trade show costs have to do with shipping and logistics. Clients often pay attention to their budget during the design and fabrication phase of their trade show display, but they forget to factor in shipping. IGE offers customized solutions to ensure your trade show materials are delivered on time, on budget and in the right condition. Contact us today to learn more about our cost-effective logistics and storage options.