Show $$ EZ Form: Profit or Loss?

Everybody knows doing shows can be risky business. Sometimes they are great, sometimes you barely break even. Determining when they are good and when they are poor is the question we are addressing here. With that information in hand, the time you devote to exhibiting at shows can be placed in perspective.

After looking at this sample, you can PRINT OUT a clean version of this form for your own use (printout requires 2 pages). If you keep your own individual show profit/loss records with your slides, then next year the $$ numbers will be readily available as reference when making the decision about whether or not it is worthwhile to re-apply to a particular show.

These figures deal with expenses directly related to the show in question, and do not take into account such expenses as van insurance, health insurance, studio insurance, utilities, van repair, self-employment taxes, etc.

EXAMPLE OF TYPICAL FORM INPUT -- Our sample below is for a studio where a single craftsperson does the show in person and is creating all their own work:

[A] Time required for the show itself:

How many days does the show run = 3

Days required for travel to and from show location (including packing van, setup, unpacking van, paperwork) = 2

Total days required = 5   (subtotal #1)


[B] Misc Show Expenses:

Show fee = $450
Electricity at booth = $50
Total food cost = $100 (5 days)
Total motel cost= $190 (3 nights split the room, one night full cost)
Gas and oil = $80
Misc travel [tolls, parking] = $20
Advertising in show paper = $95
Postage for show cards mailed in advance = $25 [100 cards at 25 cents each]

Add these together to get show expenses:  $1010   (subtotal #2)


[C] Next, determine your income:

Sales at show = $3165   (subtotal #3)

From subtotal #3, subtract #2:  $3165 less $1010 = $2155   (subtotal #4)

Sales tax collected on total sales amount:  $3165 x.05% = $158.25

Charge card fees to be deducted by your bank for any credit cards you accepted:  $1600 x 2.5% = $40

Add these two amounts together (== $198.25), then subtract this total from #4:  $2155 - $198.25 = $1956.75   (Subtotal #5)


[D] Cost of Materials:

We need to know how much was the cost of the raw materials that you used to make your show sales?

The easiest way to do that is to estimate the approximate percentage $$ cost of the materials/tools required to produce your typical show inventory -- is it  5%?  8%?  10%??   Let's say it = 8%

[Note: when you determine this figure for yourself, it is better to use a higher percentage rather than a lower number, as there are always misc. expenses that are hard to track]

Multiply your total sales (#3) by your estimated materials cost percentage (in this example, 8%):  $3165 x .08% = $253.20 cost of materials

Now from #5, subtract this materials $$ amount:  $1956.75 less $253.20 = $1703.55   (subtotal #6)

This figure, $1703.55, is very close to the amount you cleared at this show. To get the actual $$ figure, however, you must also take into consideration the expenses mentioned at the top (insurance, utilities, etc).


[E] Time required in the studio:

Finally, let's get our time worked out in more detail:

What is the retail $$ value of the inventory you produce in an average day? Let's say you can create $450 finished inventory per day.

Divide the total sales (#3) by the $$ amount you can create each day (in our example it is $450):

$3165 divided by $450 = 7 days to make the inventory which you sold at this one show.

Now add to this the number of days it took to do the show: 7 plus 5 = 12 days


[F] The Numbers:

So, it took 12 days to earn approximately $1703.55 clear, or about $142 per day.

Now, divide this by the average number of hours per day it took for you to prepare your inventory & participate in this show. For this example, let's say you averaged 9 hours in the studio and 1 hour doing miscellaneous paperwork (== 10 hours/day); and we'll also say you spent 10 hours per day involved with the show itself:

$142 per day divided by 10 hours, or $14.20 per hour (based on a single person doing all the work).

So is this good or bad? That of course is up to you. But by doing this exercise, you will at least have the figures in front of you when you decide whether or not to re-apply to any given show.

You can also fill in your own estimated figures for any show you are considering for the first time. This will tell you what you need to earn to make that event worthwhile.

PRINT OUT a clean version of this form for your own use.

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