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Five Exhibit Logistics Tips to Save Time, Money & Fingernails

You can fly to the show early, stay up late and bite your nails. Or you can save your nerves, your nails (and some money) by following these tips for bringing your exhibit in on time and within budget.

1. Ship early, but don’t ship to the warehouse

With most shows, it costs significantly less in drayage to ship your freight directly to the show site vs. to the general contractor’s warehouse. How can you take advantage of those savings and still avoid the expense that goes along with show-site freight delivery (especially when shipping in bad-weather months)?

Try this trick: Ship early, and tell your carrier you want your freight held in the show city and delivered on the first direct-ship date. Many carriers (especially those that handle a lot of freight) will hold your truckload shipments for a minimal charge. You get the benefit of headache-free shipping and the savings of direct drayage rates.

2. Let your carpet travel on its own

Want to start installing your booth at the first possible hour without paying the higher costs of shipping your display to the warehouse? It’s easy. Ship your carpet and pad to the contractor’s warehouse, and ship your exhibit directly to the show site. Since warehouse freight typically is brought in first, your I&D company can lay your electrical, pad and carpet while your direct freight is being brought into the hall. The drayage rate savings from shipping your display direct will more than cover the extra freight charges you pay to ship the carpet and pad separately.

3. Send your exhibit’s lead carpenter to supervise setup

When your display house’s account executive offers to accompany your booth on the road, say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Then instruct them to send your lead carpenter instead. For out-of-town installations, you’re better off having the carpenter supervise installation and breakdown. Who’s best to handle display-based problems? Clearly, the carpenter who prepped the display before it went on the road. Take advantage of that person’s knowledge and experience in getting your booth up right – and fast – and save those daily account executive charges.

4. Make a map for the electricians

Don’t wait for the electricians to come to your space to start your electrical work. Ship your I&D company your electrical (and other utilities) plans, and have them send a carpenter to mark the floor and supervise electrical installation. By installing your utilities early, you will avoid paying for labor to wait around to get started or work overtime to finish. When you and your display arrive, your space will be ready for carpet and pad, and you’ll be off to a great start.

5. Inspect your booth at the close of the show

Rather than waiting for the display to return to your exhibit house to do a refurb inspection, take a walk-through at the close of the show with your lead carpenter. If you make a list of the needed repairs before your display goes back into the crates, you’ll save on inspection charges. Before your next show, you and your lead carpenter will know just what needs to be done.

Remember, the fundamentals still hold true: Planning and foresight will ease the confusion of trade shows and ensure that you come in on budget.

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