Are you thinking about building or remodeling your home but not sure where to begin? Whether you’re looking for a home builder, remodeling company or simply seeking replacement windows, a new roof, or want an entire kitchen or room addition, one of the best ways to survey most options in the shortest amount of time is to attend a trade show. A process that might take weeks can be consolidated down to a single day or weekend.

Having the opportunity to see many choices in one place is incredibly valuable. But don’t let the thought of all those exhibitors and booths overwhelm you. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you head out the door.

5 things to consider prior to attending the WCBA Home Building Remodeling Expo

Washington County Builders Association Home Building Remodeling Expo

Sample of a Trade Show Floor Plan

Decide What You Need
The best way to make the most out of your trade show experience is to do some research first. Know what product you’re looking for and have information about it. Look at the list of exhibitors and note where their booths are located. However, be flexible – there may be products you’re not aware of, features you hadn’t considered, or a better solution than the one you initially decided on. Just as important – know your budget!

Compare Products and Meet Suppliers/Contractors
The best aspect of trade shows is the ability to immediately compare a variety of companies’ services, prices, and products. Ask lots of questions, meet contractors, and discover new businesses. Discuss solutions firsthand while seeing and touching the products. For example, you can find out how easy a particular brand of window is to operate; how well it glides open; whether you want it in vinyl or wood; and compare prices, fees, and the variety  product lines.

Attend Presentations and Take Notes
It’s a great idea to attend a presentation or two throughout the day – especially if the product or contractor you are interested in is the presenter. These classes offer a lot of information and, if you have questions, you can follow up with them at their booth. Bring a few pens (sometimes they’re handed out at exhibits) and a notebook to keep track of whom you’ve spoken to and what you’ve learned. Once you get home, your notes will help you decide what to do and which company to work with.

Collect Business Cards
Many exhibitors offer business cards. It’s the perfect way to remember who you need to follow up. Write notes on the back of cards to remind you of critical issues discussed and bring a purse, bag, or container to organize them. Consider bringing cards of your own to speed the process of sharing contact information.

Final Thoughts
Just by walking around and interacting with others, you’ll be able to find the products you’re looking for, at the best prices, and be confident in your choices. You may meet someone who is looking for the same product as you. Compare notes and potential options. You might also meet people who already own the product you’re looking for or have worked with a contractor you’re considering. They can give you their opinion or let you know if they had any issues. This “inside” information is invaluable to your decision-making process.