How to Use Job Costing to Track Trade Show Expenses (and Determine Profit)

The ability to track costs, revenues, and profits is an important aspect of any business – but what about tracking that information for specific jobs or projects? As a wholesale distribution business, you may not realize how many unique jobs/projects you have in any given year where you could benefit from tracking the associated costs, revenues, and profits. A great example of this is trade shows. Many wholesale distributors sell through a variety of sales channels including industry trade shows. Even if trade shows only account for a small percentage of your annual sales, it is still a good idea to track each trade show as its own project, allowing you to determine costs, revenues, and overall profits. This level of tracking will help you make decisions about trade shows in the future.

One of the features that is included in Blue Link ERP is the Job Costing Module. Job costing is something that, historically, is used to keep track of a project like building a house, but for Blue Link users in the wholesale and distribution industry, we have seen them maximize the usefulness of the level of tracking that job costing can offer, and apply it to something like trade shows. When attending a trade show, there are many costs that may not be immediately clear, but if properly tracked, will allow you to get a real understanding of the cost and benefits of attending. For example, at a trade show you might have purchased food or advertising materials for the show, or just general miscellaneous items, then later on you get some leads from the show that turned into sales and now you’re left wondering if the cost of going outweighed the benefits. Job Costing will let you solve that mystery, and you will be able to find out if you made or lost money by attending that trade show. This allows a business owner to make smarter decisions, and avoid frivolous spending.

When analyzing this data and the job costing reports, there are some questions that you should be asking yourself, like – was it worth going to that show? Was this a profitable business venture? Were our estimates vs actual costs accurate? After you ask yourself these questions with your data in front of you, you should be able to come to better and more informed conclusions, and appropriately budget for next time There might be alternative paths that can introduce your business to potential customers – less costly options, for example. Or, potentially you will find out that the cost is heavily outweighed by the benefits of having that face to face interaction with clients, and you add more trade shows to the calendar. By being able to really look at this data and not just try to come up with something off the top of your head, there won’t be any guessing or wondering if you made the right gut choice – you will have the numbers to back it up.

For a more in-depth look at Job Costing, and how easy it is to do in Blue Link, take a look at the video below. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!