people standing around pacific coast builders conference
Builders' trade shows are either too small or too big. If you go to a home show at your local mall, chances are that you'll see all of your competitors, but you probably won't learn anything that you don't already know. And if you go the mother of all trade shows, The International Builders' Show (IBS), held in either Orlando or Las Vegas, you'll knock elbows with 61,000 other people and wear out a pair of shoes trying to see all the exhibits (which is impossible).

On the other hand, the Pacific Coast Builders' Conference (PCBC), held in San Francisco every year for the last five decades and this year from June 8-11, attracted just over 11,000 people in 2009. Regardless of its name, PCBC is not just for builders left of the Rockies; it attracts exhibitors and attendees from all over the world, probably because it is such a good show. While you won't see 50 different Taiwanese manufacturers of multi-bit screwdrivers, (as you might among the 1200 exhibitors at IBS) you will see about 600 purveyors of the latest, high-quality tools and materials. And over 100 guest speakers will give seminars and talks on topic relevant to your business.

An added benefit is that the show is in the tourist friendly city of San Francisco, which to my mind is worlds better than going to Orlando, Las Vegas, or the mall. Take your wife or partner to PCBC. You'll be glad you did.

For more information about the show and about travel and accommodations, go to A final tip: Whenever I go to PCBC from the East Coast, I always fly into Oakland airport rather than San Francisco International. Flights are cheaper and it's easier to get to the show from Oakland.

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