Myself with budget decor plus strategic community partnerships to save $$!

Event Budget cheat sheet

Event Budget cheat sheet 

An event budget will ultimately depend on the nature and goals of your event. A wedding planner will have a significantly different budget than a craft market or trade show organizer. I’ve created a general guide for event planning budget items to consider. Please note that not all of these will apply to you. I’m hoping this article can shed light on often overlooked components of an event!

Trade shows/artisan markets:

A total budget for this type of event will vary greatly. I would first start of by thinking of a number you have in mind to make. For example, I put on a Christmas craft fair a few years ago and was hoping to make $3k from my one day event. The event was so well attended that I actually made $5k! We had 700 customers paying $5 each ($3500) and i sold out of my vendor tables and made an extra $1500 after my marketing costs! This is after I paid for signage, the venue, advertising and a staff member! Think about the nature of your event, the cost of tickets and how many attendees you would expect. 

Here is a quick example of how much a budget can vary based on the cost of tickets and attendees: 

Scenario A: 

600 tickets at $5: $3000 at the door 

45 booths sold at $60= $2700

$5700 Minus venue fee $1000, one staff $200, marketing materials $200, insurance $150)

$4150 profit

Scenario B: 

900 tickets at $5: $4500 at the door

60 booths at $60: $3600

$8100 Minus venue fee $1000, one staff $200, marketing materials $200, insurance $150)

$6550 profit

If you are organizing a craft market, I recommend keeping door admission under $8 as your vendors are depending on a high volume of customers to sell a lot of items! 

Venue: This cost will vary greatly from a $300 church hall to a $10,000 (or more) iconic venue or hotel banquet room. Look at not only the fixed cost of the venue but what the capacity is and how many booths you could rent out. 

Staff: How many staff do you need to run the event? Again, this will greatly depend on the size of your show! A small gym sized event can get away with one additional staff where a larger venue will require at least one other staff and a team of volunteers! On that note: can you get away with one or two staff and a team of volunteers?  Don’t forget setting up the event and the post event clean up! How many staff do you think you need for this? Is the venue supplying set up and clean up staff?  One affordable way to do event set up and clean up is to reach out to highschool sport teams looking to fulfill volunteer hours! Put those lacrosse muscles to work setting up tables and everyone wins! An effective pitch would have you explaining what charity component your event has

Charity component: Back to this! A huge boost for an event is to have a charity aspect! Radio and online newsletters will be more apt to advertise your event as well. An inexpensive way to do this is to donate a table/booth to a local charity. For example when I was running my vintage shows, I had a local non profit thrift shop sell their wares! This really cost me nothing, besides a small area at my event yet gained me so many new avenues of advertising my event. For example, the local thrift shop also put up posters and gave out hand bills leading up to the event, bringing me many more shopping customers! 

Insurance: You can view my other article all about whether insurance is neccesary, and once again, costs will vary greatly so do your research!

Front desk Supplies (pens, tape, cash box, draw bin, paper etc): Small but add up fast! 

Signage: Trust me when i say it! This ads up quickly! For a craft show, even basic hand made signs can cost upwards of $100. Save money by making them by hand or using various dollarstore materials to make them as good as you can. I would also invest in professional signage only at the venue. You could look into vista print or staples if you don’t have a home computer. 

At this Christmas fair, I saved money by keeping the decor simple. I had a large moon balloon at the door which matched the theme of my event!

Marketing/advertising: You’re hard working vendors will want to see that you are advertising the event. Now, I often recommend exhausting all free avenues first such as social media channels, all “submit your event online” to calendars you can for local newspapers, newsletters and local tourism websites with a lot of reach! I actually would only pay if I had a few hundred dollars left in my budget and could get a local influencer to promote my event. Before doing this, think about your ticket cost and ask yourself, if I am paying this marketing avenue $300, they need to bring me 60 new customers (at $5 each). Do I believe this is worth it and possible? If not, don’t do it! Put up more posters for free and keep sharing your event on social media! 

My little assistant 9 month old daughter helping me to put up posters around town for an event!

Table rentals: Is the venue supplying tables or are you renting them from a sub contractor? Or are your vendors solely responsible for bringing the tables? 

This event budget guide has really skimmed the surface without getting into guest speakers, AV rentals, atm rentals and more. I hope this budget guide has helped you to think about the true cost and profit possibilities of your event.  By knowing all of your costs up front, you will be set up for success in a big way!

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