Home and Garden Shows

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Mid-Ohio Scaper, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Mid-Ohio Scaper

    Mid-Ohio Scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    The Columbus Home and Garden Show is going on right now. I went down there to check it out and talk to my supplier and some other contractors a bit about whether or not it's worth the two grand for a ten by ten booth. Some said yes, some said no.
    Wanted to see what the consensus was here on the lawn site.
    Have you spent the time and energy to do home and garden shows? And was it worth it?
    I've been scaping for a while and get my work from referrals but with the economic outlook I was wondering if this was a good route to go in terms of drumming up new clients.
    Your thoughts...............
  2. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Sure, if you can afford the 2k then its always good to get the exposure. You definetely should make a few new contacts while displaying your work, may even meet some old customers who need add-ons or have moved.
  3. B & B Yardscape

    B & B Yardscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    You missed this years, so who knows what the economy will look like for next year. Work this year and put away the $2k and then do it next year.
  4. BOEpavers

    BOEpavers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    We are a Hardscaping Only company. For the last five years the only "advertising" we've done was at our local builder's association home show. First year was a 10 by 10 booth, next was a 10 x 20, and for the last 3 years a 20 x 20 with exposure on 3 aisles. This booth cost us $2400 as association members and would be around $3,000 for non-members. The show averages 7-8k attendees over a 3-day run. This year attendance was down slightly, in part due to the economy and in part due to some 64 degree weather on Sunday after a long bout with snow, ice and cold weather for the previous several weeks. We debated about attending at all or reducing the booth size due to the economy, but we felt it cheap money to keep our exposure. We have regular attendees return each year to "see what you did different this year" as we always change our booth design, products showcased, etc. Along with the business you get from the current year's leads, we've gotten business years after a person visited the booth. Just this year we had a customer who mentioned he'd been coming by for the past three years and finally has decided what he wanted and had the funds and we now have a signed contract. As mentioned earlier we have our previous customers come by to talk add-ons or other work.

    Obviously our show works for us - you need to talk to more vendors at the show you're considering - how were their results (don't push for specifics, especially if it is someone in your industry)?, What has their track record been over the last x years (good companies should know where their leads come from and the close rates). Check with the show sponsors - what has the attendance been for the past x years, do they have any demographics on the ages, home ownership status, average income of attendees, etc? With this info you then need to sit down and look at participation in the show as part of your overall marketing plan - where does it fit in the budget(keep in mind that in addition to booth rentals you have set-up costs, incidental costs, are the materials to construct the display loaned or do you have to purchase, do you have to pay for cut material, etc.)?, are the attendees likely to be the type of customer that would purchase your services?, what is the overall feel of other vendors towards the value of the show?, etc. Once you answer those questions then you can make a decision on whether to participate. What we like about the show is it gives prospects a chance to see an actual example of your design for the space, your workmanship (don't skimp because it is a show - spend extra time and attention to detail), the look and feel of the materials, etc. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.
  5. tatmkr

    tatmkr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    I did the home and garden show in 2007. The key to success thre is your booth. I won an award for my 10x10 and recieved excellent results. I think we recieved about 24 solid leads resulting in estimates, not to mention unaccounted residuals later in the year. The sales as a result generated about $20,000 in company profit. Which makes about a 10x return on the investment.
    Note: You need to work your butt off down there to maximize every person that walks by. Your competing with the huge gardens and you need to have your ducks in a row:
    -Design an eyecatching display that stops people, water is always a must for me.
    -Professional signage and flyers, ditch the office printer stuff
    -Dress to impress, ditch the jeans and throw on some khakis
    -Get a digital photo show put together and borrow the biggest tv you can find
    -Find flowers for the booth
    -Be prepared to be turned down by the hg show, it's extremely competitive getting in thre and landscapers are plentiful

    If you are willing to put in th tme, then the show cn be great. I know a company that wasted a 10x20 booth with the same old pavers, walls, and columns. The did almost the exact opposite of every thing that I listed and it show. They got about a dozen leads and no sales!
  6. Mid-Ohio Scaper

    Mid-Ohio Scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    10x10!!!! You can only do so much with 100sqft. What did you do that was so special it got you an award?
    I had some ideas that I've been kicking around, but still in the brainstorming phase.
    My supplier is going to front all of my materials so that's one expense I don't have to worry about. If the economy is still in this funk by the next H&G show I don't think it'll be a problem getting in on the first try.
  7. pghlandscape

    pghlandscape LawnSite Member
    from pgh,pa.
    Messages: 61

    we just wrapped up the Home and Garden show on Sunday 3/9 and it was a great show people are still spending the money. we had a 10x20 booth and the total cost for the show was a little over 10k best money ever spent. i have been running estimates all day and phone calls all night (took in over 300 names) and sold 3 jobs so far from the show (23700.00) out of 7 leads we also sold 65 fire pits at the show (we are not a dealer)






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