How to Draft Trade Show Equipment RFPs

The request for proposal (RFP) for your trade show equipment can be tough to write.  There is no real template or checklist of things that should be included in the RFP for your new trade show equipment.  But the fact is, if you want trade show equipment that meets your expectations, you should write your RFP in such a way that it can be interpreted correctly.  The company creating your trade show equipment should be provided with a bunch of information to better tailor the trade show equipment to your business.

Who Are You?

The RFP for your trade show equipment should include some information on your business.  What do you sell, and who are you trying to sell it to?  It is useful if the people responding to your RFP can customize the style of the trade show equipment to best suit the people you want to attract.

What are trade shows to you?

You will want trade show equipment to work with you to accomplish the goals of your business.  Your trade show equipment will be different if you are trying to bring a new product to market than if you are trying to attract leads/customers to your business.  Does your trade show equipment need to change from show to show, based on what type of show it is, or a difference in booth space? 

How much do you want to spend?

Your budget is important in any RFP.  It might be that you inform those you ask for a submission that you want to spend an amount that is slightly less than your total budget for trade show equipment, in order to hold back some for unforeseen instances.  However, since you will probably evaluate proposals for trade show equipment based heavily on the cost, it is only fair that you provide your budget information.  Doing so will result in proposals for trade show equipment that are more in line with your expectations in every way.  Make sure you make clear precisely what you expect to be included within the price you have set (for example, labour on the design and construction of trade show equipment).

What do you need from them?

Your RFP should make clear what you want your contractor to provide besides the physical trade show equipment.  Presumably, you want them to do the initial design and then the fabrication of your trade show equipment.  You might also want them to create graphics or even store and ship your trade show equipment in between shows.

Do you have any specific design instructions?

Maybe you have had trade show equipment with issues in the past, and you do not want to deal with those problems again.  Conversely, perhaps there is something about your outgoing trade show equipment setup that is absolutely brilliant and which you must have again.  In either case, your trade show equipment contractor needs to know; otherwise, you will get fewer—or no—trade show equipment designs that you like.

In the end, it’s hard to make an argument that it is possible to include too much information in your trade show equipment RFP.  Make sure your potential contractor is well equipped to give you the best trade show equipment available by giving them all of the information they could possibly require.  The resulting trade show equipment will be all the better because of it.