If your company is new to exhibiting at trade shows, you’re probably excitedly brainstorming ideas for your displays, and beginning to make plans. It’s critical to understand some basics about how trade show labor services may impact the future costs of your proposed exhibit designs. You may think you’re designing an exhibit that your team can transport and set up with no professional help, but in some cases, regulations may prevent them from doing simple tasks that you’d never think you needed professional help to accomplish.
- Logistics – Logistics includes more than what happens with your goods once they arrive at the show venue, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on those final stages that happen at the venue. Nearly all large trade shows have an advance warehouse where exhibitors and their trade show houses can send exhibit materials for short-term storage before the show. This helps ensure that everything your exhibit needs is on the site before it’s time to set up. Typically the advance warehouse is used by exhibitors with elaborate displays that require a lot of materials, but in some cases, shipping a portable display to the advance warehouse may be a smarter option than paying to put it on a plane as luggage with your booth team. If you’re considering shipping portable display material for a booth you plan to set up yourselves, be sure the venue will allow you to pick up and carry your own equipment within the venue; sometimes, this is not permitted. Find out what each show offers and what makes the best sense for your purposes.
- Know The Rules For Each Show – There can be a lot of variation in the rules between different venues and shows, so it’s important to check every venue’s rules before finalizing plans to exhibit there. Last minutes changes can be costly, so you want to make sure you’re always on top of what’s coming. U.S. trade show venues have some general exhibit rules and regulations that are often the same from one venue to the next, like height restrictions and what types of exhibits can be installed in each type of booth space. Make sure you know what your shows’ rules are for set-up and dismantle times; many shows charge a penalty for opening late or closing early.
- I&D Labor And Supervision – One of the biggest variables you’ll face is the regulations regarding Installation and Dismantle (I&D). Most venues will allow exhibitors to install their own equipment, as long as the installation is tool-free, and doesn’t require using a ladder. Some venues allow exhibitors to do simple electrical connections and cabling on their own, while other venues require that these tasks be completed by certified workers. In other cases, the municipality or venue will require that exhibitors hire union laborers through an appointed General Services Contractor to do all of the I&D work. If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider hiring your own contractor to supervise the GSC’s laborers. Having an advocate who is directly accountable to you for the work being done correctly and on time helps you avoid delays and extra charges.