Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I can remember before the housing bust going to Home Shows and Builder Shows and Home and Garden Shows and having a good time.  Each had their own theme and unique participants.  Now they are lumped under the general heading of Home and Garden Shows.  But since the recession many builders are asking themselves if it's really worth spending money for the booth, advertising, setting up and tearing down, the manpower and aggravation. 

I'm getting ready to start attending this year's shows in my area including ones in Washington, DC, Baltimore and some local ones and I've been reading the advance releases from some of them and it's not a pretty picture for the new home builders.  If it weren't for the large tract builders and a couple of small builders, these shows wouldn't have any resemblance to the Builder Shows of the past decade.

Now we'll get to the real reason people go to Home and Garden Shows:

New Home Builder Booths - Even though there are fewer of them the past couple of years, the ones that are there are actually talking with people and trying their best to land appointments after the show.  Many are handing out packets with all sorts of interesting materials included.  Modular home builders are the best because they get their brochures from the modular home factory.  These people are usually the owners and know why they are there.  These are my heroes!

Remodeler Booths - A close second to home builders, these folks put a lot of time and effort into trying to set an appointment to give people an estimate either at the show or at the home.  Some of these guys were new home builders who now have gone over to remodeling to save their business.  More heroes.

Supplier Booths - I rank these people right up there with the builders and remodelers.  They can't really make any direct sales but will turn over any leads to their authorized dealers.  Most of these people are no nonsense guys and gals that take their work seriously and are proud of their products.

Landscaper Booths - What would a Home and Garden Show be without them.  My wife and I really enjoy looking at what they can accomplish in a relatively small space.  The people manning the booth are very knowledgeable and will take the time to answer even my dumbest questions.  I have found a couple of companies that I now buy from and have recommended their services to new home builders.  The stone walls, hothouses and flower displays always make the show visitor feel good.

And here are the ones that I can live without:

Realtor Booths - These just irritate me to no end.  Every booth seems to be the same.  Pencils, pens and memo pads being handed out along with small pieces of candy from a bowl.  Offers to give me a free estimate of what your home will sell for in today's crappy market.  And then there are the Realtors that only seem to want to talk with each other and view the people walking up to their booth as an interruption to their conversations. They also have a habit of eating sandwiches and drinking Starbucks while on duty.

Banker Booths - I really can't imagine that a bank really snags anybody with those darn magnets and mini calendars.  Most of them look like they would rather be somewhere else.  Do they really think people that pay to go to a Home Show want to talk to a banker about credit scores and home loans in the middle of other people listening to them.  The best thing about them is that they dress better than the Realtors and don't eat in their booths.  That's because they are being paid to be there.

Refrigerator Magnet People Booths - I just cringe when I see one of these booths.  Thousands of little trinkets and foam cartoon cutouts with magnets attached to the back for decorating anything metal.  I just howl as I walk by and watch women cutting out more patterns inside the booth like I really want to see how this crap is made.  But they do have the best food.  Everything is homemade and brought with them for their enjoyment while they work.

There are other types of booths at both the large and small home shows and some are interesting but most should stick with working the Flea Market circuit.


Randy said...

Stopped doing homeshows a few years ago.. too expensive. I find for the same amount of money on internet advertising I get a better return and clients that are serious about doing something.

Peter said...

I think home shows are the greatest things. My friend Bruce and I go and admire all the landscaping possibilities and dream about what we can do to our rear yard. It is so nice to see all the pretty flowers this time of the year. Being so dark and gray outside, the flowers boost our spirits and let us think of things to come. We especially love the hot tub displays. So many endless possibilities.