Whether you’re just starting out or are a long-running small business, event marketing can feel like a losing battle when you have a tight budget and your competitors seem to be able to go all out. But no matter how large or small your budget, marketing your brand is an area worth investing in. Custom pop up tents can have a large impact at any event your brand attends, from trade shows to local festivals, and they don’t have to cost an exorbitant amount. In this guide, we’ll help you determine how to afford a custom pop up tent on your small-business budget.
Can You Afford a Custom Tent on a Tight Budget?
When you’re working with a tight budget, it’s tempting to head down to your local superstore and pick up a $100 plain, non-printed pop up tent for your events. But while this may seem to save you money in the moment, in the long-run, this poor marketing decision will end up costing you money in the long run.
Considering Your Return on Investment
When determining where to spend your budget, it’s critical that you look not only in the up-front costs of products but also in the overall return on investment. While a cheap, plain pop-up tent will cost less than a custom pop up tent initially, the return on investment just isn’t there.
First of all, the pop up tents you find in your local superstores don’t just cost less because they aren’t custom printed. They generally also cost less than custom pop up tents because they are cheaply manufactured. While they may serve their purpose at one or two events, over time you’ll find that the canopies tear or the tent frames bend. By the end of your event season, the money you spent on your cheaply made tent has gone down the drain.
In contrast, by purchasing a custom tent through a trusted manufacturer, you invest not only in custom branding for your company but also in a high-quality pop-up tent. Buying on a budget doesn’t mean you have to buy the cheapest version around. By considering your return on investment and looking at things like warranties and product durability, you’ll find you can afford to spend a little more up front knowing you won’t need to re-incur those same marketing expenses in six months.
It’s also important to consider the importance of branding. A customized pop up tent will always have a bigger impact on your customers than a plain pop up tent. At larger events like festivals and trade shows, customers will often walk right by plain pop up tents in favor of custom pop up tents. As a small business, every contact with a potential new customer counts. If customers aren’t drawn to your pop up tent, you may as well have not attended the event at all.
Affording a Custom Tent on a Tight Budget
Custom tents don’t have to be inaccessible to small businesses. While you may not be able to afford grandiose custom inflatables, a custom pop up tent is very doable even on a tight budget. All that a budget means is that you may need to get a little more creative than brands that could afford to go all out on event marketing.
To get creative, we recommend calling your tent manufacturer ahead of time. Discuss your marketing budget candidly. Trusted manufacturers have experience in this area. They have worked with other brands like yours and know how you can get the most bang for your marketing buck.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Custom Tents
There are a number of factors that affect how much your custom pop up tent will cost. Understanding these factors before you contact your manufacturer may aid you in your conversation and help you make smart budgeting decisions for your brand.
Pop Up Tent with Logo Print Area
One way that manufacturers may reduce the cost of a custom pop up tent is to limit the area you can print on. Customized pop up tents with limited printing space can be a great compromise between the cheap, non-printed tents your brand used to buy and the fully customized pop up tents you see large corporations advertising with.
Your brand’s logo can be a great thing to print in your allotted printing space. Your logo is eye-catching and can scale up or down depending on how much space your manufacturer is giving you to work with in your budget. If customers are looking for your tent at an event, they’ll easily recognize you by your logo. For new customers, your logo will help with brand recognition down the road.
Custom Pop Up Tent Frames
Not all custom pop up tent frames are the same. The most cost-effective hardware option comes in the form of square-legged frames, which are usually made of steel. While these frames are not as durable as hexagon frames (shown above), also made of steel or commercial grade aluminum, they’re still quite sturdy and can be great for brands who only use their tents for a few events each year.
Custom Pop Up Canopy Costs
Your canopy fabric is another factor in the overall cost of your pop up tent. Most pop up tents come in either 300, 400, or 600 Denier fabric. 600 Denier polyester fabric will last longer than 300 Denier fabric and will print more true to color, so if you’re taking your pop up tent to large events, you may not want to cut costs here. However, if you’re just looking to represent your brand at a few local indoor events, 300 Denier fabric may be all you need.
Another aspect of your canopy to consider is whether or not the manufacturer is using weather-proof coatings on the polyester. For many manufacturers, these coatings, including UV-protection and water-resistance, come standard. If they do not, you need to consider whether or not your pop up tent will be featured at outdoor events before choosing the right tent canopy for your brand.
Custom Pop Up Tent Warranties
The final factor in your custom pop up tent’s costs is its warranty. Manufacturers offer different warranties on pop up tents, which can last anywhere from 6 months to a lifetime. While longer warranties offer greater insurance that your brand won’t recur this expense down the road, they also come with a larger up-front price tag.
If you know that your brand won’t require heavy use out of your tent, you may choose to purchase a tent with a shorter warranty to save yourself some up front costs. Shorter warranties are also a good choice for brands who may change their logo in a year and need new marketing materials down the road anyway.
Choosing the Best Custom Tent Manufacturer for Your Brand
When you’re working with a tight budget, you can’t afford to take chances. Every penny you spend counts. This means that it’s especially important for your brand to do research on marketing materials before you buy. It’s much better to spend time up front doing research on tent manufacturers than to learn down the road that you invested your money poorly.
Manufacturers Specializing in Custom Canopy Tents
When choosing the best tent manufacturer for your brand, the first thing you want to look into is whether or not they specialize in creating custom pop up tents. By spending a little time on a company’s website, you should be able to see how long they’ve been in business selling custom pop-up tents.
Custom Tent Manufacturers in Your Industry
Most manufacturers who have been in business for a while will also show off some of the bigger brands they’ve worked with. Looking through the brands they’ve worked with is a great way to see if the manufacturer is used to working with brands like yours. For example, if the only thing you see advertised on a manufacturer’s website is sports teams and your brand is a brewery, they may not be equipped to understand your particular marketing needs. On the other hand, if you see other brands like yours advertised or a wide variety of brands advertised, you can feel confident that the manufacturer has experience in your event marketing space.
Reviews Are a Goldmine
Customer reviews are a great way to see what other people are saying about a manufacturer. Don’t just look at whether or not a brand gets 5-star reviews: take the time to read some of the reviews to see what customers do and do not like about a brand. This can help you decide if customers like a brand because of the quality of their products, their customer service, or something else.
Trusting Your Gut Instincts
Once you’ve done your research and come up with a list of potential tent manufacturers, your gut should be the final decision-maker on the best manufacturer for your brand. Call and speak to customer service representatives, ask for product samples, and see how you feel about the way you’re treated. If you feel like you’re being brushed off because you have a tight budget, you may be speaking with the wrong manufacturer. Your event marketing team should make you feel like an MVP no matter how big or small your marketing budget may be!
A Final Note on Custom Pop Up Tents for Tight Budgets
Just as brands working with tight budgets need to be especially conscious about doing their research, they also need to be especially conscious about protecting their investments. Once you’ve put money into a custom pop up tent for your brand, it’s critical that you do everything in your power to make that money work for you. This includes keeping your pop up tent clean and professional-looking so that it has the best impact at the events you attend, storing your tent in a cool, dry location so that it doesn’t rust or mildew between uses, and following all manufacturer use and care instructions. It also means keeping your paperwork on hand so that if something does happen to your tent, you can fall back on your manufacturer’s warranty when necessary.
Here at MVP Visuals, we have more than a decade of experience working with brands of all sizes to create the perfect custom event displays that won’t break the bank. Shop custom tents, printed tablecloths, and more today!