Home Show Booth

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by GroundScapesIncorporated, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Posts: 386

    We are planning to do a few Home Shows and Buisness Expos this year. We have not done any in the past.
    Anybody got any tips on how to set up a booth?
    What needs to be in it and what dont?
    I was thinking about actually building a Hardscape into the booth. It would be alot of work, but it would also be totally awsome, I was thinking of a patio with two different levels with steps, columns, parapet walls, dummy outdoor kitchen, maybe a grill that works and serve free BBQ chicken fingers or something. Does this sound like overkill?
    What do you all think?
  2. bigviclbi

    bigviclbi LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 894

    I've seen full out sod lawns and patios done before. i go to a small one and have catalogs, brick samples, and a laptop with pics of our jobs, and photos in an album. I think if its a large show it would payoff to put down a patio, walls, and a pillar.
  3. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,929

    It all sounds great, but you have to remember that you have a very limited amount of time to set up and break down. The best thing to do is get your hardscape supplier to donate the materials and maybe put a small sign up that says "patio materials provided by ABC Supply" This way they get some advertising from it as well. Good Luck!

  4. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    I checked out a local home show acouple weeks ago. There were 11 landscapers there. The largest had a 20x30 booth. There were acouple 20x20s, 15x10s, and only 1 or 2 with 10x10s. Some guys had insane displays. Big perglas, plamsa tv's running slide shows, outdoor kitchens with granite counter tops, etc.

    To set up a decent size display, you need a large booth, and ALOT of man power to get something built in 2 days or less. When you add up all the cost, it cost ALOT of money to build a big display booth.

    If you can't do something that is absolutely breathe taking, i'd recommend going with a 10x10 booth and just display pictures and have a couple different pavers and wall blocks on display.
  5. GroundScapesIncorporated

    GroundScapesIncorporated LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Posts: 386

    Thanks for the good advice guys.
  6. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    We have a booth at a home remodeling show and a garden show each winter. If you get a booth at a show I highly recommend a practice set up in your warehouse / shop before hand. This will allow you to assemble all materials needed and get a good idea of how long it will take to setup.

    For paver displays try to choose a pattern that requires little or no cutting. Take into account the transition from showroom floor to your paver surface. Consider using a ramp so that nobody trips over the edge of the pavers. (potential lawsuit and bad publicity)

    Keep in mind that part of the setup time at a home show will be spent waiting to get into the building. We get our trucks in line at least two hours before the doors open so that we can get materials in right away. We use 7 guys to set up a 210 sq ft display.

    An outdoor kitchen / patio display would be a great spot to display a portfolio of your work. Displaying large color photos of your work is a must. As far as cooking food - most shows don't allow cooking because it violates fire code and they don't allow food to be given out because it competes with their concessions. Small water features such as an urn with fountain or small pondless waterfall is a huge draw.
  7. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    At home shows, when you put down a paver patio at ground level, do you lay the pavers right on the concrete floor or do ypu screed a inch of sand?
  8. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    my buddy did a home show and just put the pavers on the floor. they also set up a small retaining wall. they had a TV with a loop of various hardscape projects running. of course they had brochures and pics etc. I want to do one, but I am flat broke right now. I think they are a great way to get good leads for projects.
    my other friend had a guttr company and they set up a roof section and ran water over it into the leafguard gutters and into a catch basin and back around again. very cool and he got TONS of business from it.
  9. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    I'm going all out with marketing this year. I am doing 2 maybe 3 shows in march, than 4 shows in the fall.
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    Your display must be a replica of the real thing. It may take 3-5 days to set up and maybe 1 day to tear down. You will need plenty of paver brochures, plenty of business cards, and plenty of 4-color brochures.

    Here's a little tidbit of info: Home show traffic has been slowly dwindeling compared to previous years. The reason is because more and more people are simply doing their contractor shopping ONLINE. Back when home shows were first a big hit, the internet didn't exist, and that was your only way for meeting contractors and seeing what they're capabilities were. Well, now with the WWW, more and more people are simply surfing online, instead of loading up the family and venturing out.

    For the last 3 years, our homeshow results have dropped drastically. Last year we got a decent return. But the 2 prior years - ZILCH! Interest rates will have an effect on your return (depending on your market).

    We do one show a year. Period. We used to do multiple shows.

    Keep in mind, you can NOT be productive if you're tieing up your crew(s) with setting up and tearing down displays all spring and fall!!!!

    Look at the net profit of your average job. Next, look at the complete costs of doing each home show. Then, you need to determine exactly how many sales will each show get you. Do the math! If your area is like our's I'd bet you'll see that being at every show simply isn't PROFITABLE!

    About 8 few years ago we may have sold about 8 jobs from one show. Ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 each.

    Last year I think we sold 3 jobs. None over $15,000.00

    Just something for you folk to think about!

    If you wanna get sales - I suggest you do the home show that generates the most traffic, put together a nice website with HUNDREDS of pictures, optimize your search engine rankings, and do NICE door hangers.


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