Make your boss happy by knowing your budget before you start planning your business meeting or event, and then stick to it. Events and expos can get out of hand quickly when spending on small items begins to add up.  Here are some tips to help you trim the cost of live events for your organization:

Avoid surprises – When renting a facility or working with vendors make sure you get all agreements in writing, and understand the full scope of the service agreement by reading it in full before securing the space/service with a deposit.  Does your space include things like carpeting, electricity or wifi access or will you need to pay for those individually?

Set your budget appropriately – Has your organization done shows in the past that are comparable in size, or at the same location?  Look at previous expenditure on similar shows and then build a 10 percent contingency into your budget to accommodate for any unexpected expenses.

Check invoices – Since some invoices are billed in the middle of or after live events, it’s easy to lose track amid the chaos and some less-than-honest vendors count on that.  Make sure you reference invoices against original quotes to check for discrepancies. Question any charges that don’t seem appropriate.

Control staffing – It’s not a good idea to over staff your event.  This eats up cost and limits your ROI.  Keep your staff to a minimal (for most shows, two to three people is sufficient unless you have a larger exhibitor space and need to cover your floor).  You can avoid having multiple people in charge of light and sound by utilizing AV control software.  This lets you run all your light and sound from a single device with only one technician.

Shop for hotel deals in the immediate area – Trade shows and exhibitions often work out deals with local hotels to provide attendees and exhibitors with discounted rooms.  It might not get you reward points if its outside your preferred brand but it’s a great way to save money on your budget.

Watch for forgotten expenses – Extra expenses are sometimes missed with calculating budget, including shipping.  Things like overnight shipping, as well as having to ship your products back after the show, overtime charges, freight handling fees, labor for set up and tear down, feeding staff during events, fuel, tolls, etc can make your expenses creep up.

Crossing the border
– If you ever do a show outside of the US, watch out for currency conversions.  These can put a dent in your budget depending on how the dollar converts.