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On Being an Event Merchant: Costs of Doing an Event

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

One of the things people don’t realize is that we actually pay for our space at events. Some events can actually be quite expensive to do, and as an event merchant, you need to weigh the cost of the event against how much you expect to gain from that event. Remember, you can die from exposure.

The larger and more public the event, the more it costs to rent a space at that event. For example, a neighborhood craft fair could be $25-50, and a more publicized art show in a private space could be closer to $100. A booth space at a state fair or major art show in a park or at fairgrounds can reach thousands of dollars for a simple 10x10 space for a single weekend.

What does that money get used for? A large portion of it usually goes to advertising. Larger, more expensive shows can afford to pay for radio and billboard advertising, online pay-per-click ads on social media and search engine sites, and printed materials like banners, flyers, and signage. Event organizers do not tend to be wealthy people who pay out of pocket for these things.

With some events, there is a formula. Booth spaces pay for the venue, and entrance tickets pay for the entertainment. If you go to an event where you need to pay to attend, you can help support the artisans and artists at that event by buying merchandise from their booths. This gives them the ability to continue to not only keep coming back each year, but also to keep their businesses going throughout the year.

Additional costs for an event include transportation (rental truck for some, gas money, a percentage of vehicle insurance), event insurance (for events where merchants are required to carry their own insurance), food, and accommodations.

There is also the cost of buying the physical booth (very rarely are booths provided by organizers), creating signage for the booth, having business cards made, packaging, pricing supplies, credit card processing, and money security. The list goes on. All companies have these overhead costs, but with a small business, you have to pay attention to costs and make sure every expenditure has the possibility of bringing in enough profit to stay afloat.

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