Trade Shows. Worth it?

So this spring we are considering doing a local Trade Show. It;s called the “Home and Garden Show”. Basically local businesses showing off there stuff.

Has this been successful for others?

Recommendations? To do or Not to do?

This will be interesting to hear too for me. I am doing the same for the first time here beginning of March and another one end of March.

I have a lot of services but will mostly be pushing Gutter Protection and they will be able to sign up for an estimate for anything else we do. I am also giving away a free blu ray machine to one lucky estimate winner at the show. Obviously at these things you can’t just sit behind the table and hope to rake in $100,000 you have to stand out front and sell, sell, sell and given I’m British, I’m sure I will win them over with my sexy British accent, any guys let my wife deal with them ha ha

Yes, Yes, and yes. They are a great way to do alot of face to face selling and getting to know potential clients. Our first one brought 40+ estimates and we closed about 35 of them. If you are in an area that is not saturated by window cleaners it opens peoples eyes to the fact that there are window cleaners there. If you are saturated than it shows people who YOU are and if you can make an impression, its worth it!

Please let us know how this goes. Looks like Josh has had decent success. I’m toying with this Fall or next Spring. They are big events here in Charlotte.

What was the name & cost of the one you did? Do you do it every year now and hve you added others to test out?

I think this will be a good thing too. I’m not sure what to expect as far as how it should look, what kind of information to have on hand and so on. Well kinda, but you know how those things go first time around. Always a learning experience.

Make sure you have something that will wow the people. I used a window on a stand and fanned the window. This got people attention and they stopped to ask questions. There are usually lots of venders with things more interesting than window cleaning.

John Lee Window Cleaning
Maryville TN
865 310 0728

Thats a cool idea! I like it.

we have done two home and remodel shows with varied results…I usually post a special depending on the season. This last go around we had 800 bottle opener/key chains made with our company name and number on them, I then attached a business sized card to them listing our services and contact info. The slogan on one side of the card was relax we’ll handle it
We scheduled a few homes at the show, we will see if anyone takes up our offer this spring
The cost was $900 for the booth for three days, and I probably spent $500 on marketing materials. We set up a rainflow display and got 50 interest cards submitted for that alone. I then took an Ikea cubby cabinet and had pictures of our services in each square…Ill try and post a photo shortly

these shows are very costly. I honestly don’t see the benefit. the company i worked for set up their sunrooms at the show here in cincinnati. but for what they spent and how little return they got I could’t justify it. but it wasn’t my call.
I think they spent well over $10k on the display alone. then the floor space was a few thousand. then they had to pay 12 employees for 15hrs time it took us to set it up.
check out the rates for these spaces, Hart Productions - Exhibitor Information as you can see it’s a bit on the very expensive side
and for maybe 4-6 job leads and 2 sales. lol

Hart Productions - Home and Garden Show

the shows do draw a lot of people to them but it doesn’t seem like they are there looking for someone to buy from or hire. it seems like 75% of them are there because they wanted to get out of the house in the winter.
the majority of the companies at these shows are landscape. the rest are remodeling of some sort.

Many (most?) local H&G shows are not nearly as expensive as what you quote above. Factor in smaller display spaces, less labor requirements, and much less costly displays and the resulting ROI is VERY different. I’ve read many success stories here and on other forums.

you didn’t see the link to the price list? a 8x10 space is $1,425. my old company had to get about a 20x20 space. @ 12 per sq foot that comes out to $4800 for the space alone.

the largest window cleaner co in this area doesn’t even do this show.
no window cleaners do. it could just be my city but I don’t see the roi like you guys talk about. at least not for what my old job was selling anyway.

the last home show we went to we had not rented a booth, but we took about 2000 flyers with us and wore our shirts an hats with our company name and logo on them. Guess we went ninja. Well we saw only 1 window cleaner with a booth and we watched him awhile, He didnt have any visual aids and just sat behind the table the whole time.Didn’t look like there was alot of interest.
As far as gutter protection goes, You will be competing with the big boys who spend 10’s of thousands on these trade shows.( Leaf Guard, Leaf Filter, Etc.) I think that same window cleaner could have had better results had he had some visual aids, maybe a banner with the name of his company, a list of his services and some kind of promotion or giveaway,(. Put a fishbowl out and have people enter a give away for whatever say that blu-ray you mentioned… but before you get started fill that bowl about halfway with ones you filled out yourself… Main thing is you have to be out talking to people,answering questions or asking them questions…
we will probably go ninja to the show this year as well…Worked out well for us and only cost us admission to the show and the cost of printing a few thousand flyers…window cleaner

Also it doesnt matter what the cost of the show is for you if you can make it work.Appeal to peoples emotional side and you will win them as a customer…( Expensive advertising is advertising that doesn’t work.)

FYI I’m doing 2 trade shows 3 days each beginning of March and end of March (first time) will post my results, has cost me approximately $1,500 each so not mega expensive.

Not quite sure how I’m going to stand out from the rest yet (maybe wear my star wars storm trooper gear ha ha) but sell sell sell in their face I guess, I reckon I can make 50k from both shows considering I offer a lot of services.


Curt @ 5 Star Window Care just had a very interesting experience at a trade show that I think would be helpful. Maybe he’ll see this thread. Otherwise, message him for his input.

the last home show we went to we had not rented a booth, but we took about 2000 flyers with us and wore our shirts an hats with our company name and logo on them. Guess we went ninja.

Love that tactic - can save you hundreds of dollars and get you way more face time that a traditional booth option.

Just let them know what an arrogant arse you are and that you would rather live in England. That will always get their Irish up. lol Let us know how it goes!

I have done this for the past three years with improving success each year. The first year I did a little better than breaking even. ($1000) The next year I doubled what it cost to be there and last year I more than doubled that. I’m marketing my Air Duct Cleaning business but all services are available. I think that it was a matter of making an impression in the minds of the community. I didn’t change anything but it gets better each year.

At the one in Napa, CA that I go in May to they are very militant about needing to have a booth to distribute material and only from your booth so the idea of ninja marketing would backfire here. You may get the boot and blackballed from this H&G show. Otherwise that is a great idea.

I’m going make an adjustment to the booth that will increase interest in my other services. At the top rear of my booth I have a banner about 1 foot tall and 8 feet long that says CONSIDERING AIR DUCT CLEANING ? This year I’m going to add a banner just below it that says “OR OTHER CLEAINIG SERVICES” with a big arrow pointing to a big sign with a list of what I offer. I’m also going to add a display for my Gutter Guard Installation Service. I have a sign up list for a free inspection and estimate. There are two monitors one with a promotional video for the Air Duct Cleaning Service and the other is my video inspection camera. The kids love that.

My first year I tried doing two shows, a Home & Garden Show and the Napa Town & Country Fair. The H&G show was 3 days of quality people that were there because they needed something for threir home. The Fair was a weeks worth of looky-loos that didn’t add up to the leads that I got for the H&G show. The cost for both was about the same but I’ll never do the Fair again because it not only cost for the booth but the time away from my business where I could have been making money. Not to meantion the condition my back was in standing in thebooth all day for a week. I don’t know how cashiers do it and I used to be one back in the day. I have the rubber pad to stand on too.

If I could figure out how to add a pic I would post one of my booth. My pics don’t have a ‘‘URL’’ that I can find. A little help here would be greatly appreciated.

I have done several home shows mostly for my internet company and had both success and no success, you must have a game plan! don’t go into it without a plan.
The last home show I did I bought a wheel for people to spin, kinda like the wheel of fortune :slight_smile: the great thing is as long as you get them to stop you will have a chance to sell them your service.

Here is a press release that was written about how we created a buzz… hope this is helpful.

[B]Hi Adrian,[/B]
A lot of business owners do poorly in shows because they don’t have a clear intention.
The most important part of having a good experience doing a trade show is to go in there focussing on 2 things: collecting as many names and email addresses of potential clients as possible and connecting with business owners in non-competing industries.
To collect names and email addresses offer a prize such as a free window cleaning. Have a sign displaying your offer that’s big enough to be seen and read from far away in all directions.
People will be coming up to you just to toss their cards into your fish bowl.
[B]If you’re on a low budget try this[/B].
Partner with a window manufacturer or other related business and share their space with them.
Pay them a buck a card or so, so that they’re motivated to get visitors to drop cards in too.
Learn as much as you can about their business and help them man the booth.
Do the drawing at the end of the show and notify everyone of the winner a few days to a week after the show via email.
Then a little later email them all again (except the winner of course) and offer them a consolation prize of 20% off your services as a gesture of good will just for entering.
Imagine collecting 200-500 cards and generating 20 -100 new clients or more over the course of 2011.
Would that be worth your while given the lifetime value of a client? You bet it will.
Continue to keep in touch with these prospects over time and continue to generate new business.
[B]With the business owners you meet,[/B]
concentrate on pool maintenance, carpet cleaning, sprinkler system maintenance companies - any non-competing companies especially those that are likely to have a comparably sized client list.
Approach them about doing joint mailings. You mail a special offer from them to your clients and they do the same for you.
Just be sure you get to know these business owners well and that they each deliver excellent services and have excellent customer care.
Ask for client referrals and check out their promo materials to be sure they’re top notch.
Be sure you feel it out with him or her so that you’re not exposing your clients to anyone sub par to your business.
Also if you do more than one of these be sure to stagger them so you don’t get more business than you can handle all at once.
Hope this helps you.