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Trade Show Exhibit Information from IGE Group —

Trade Show Labor Services: A Beginner’s Guide

Trade Show Labor Services

It’s critical to understand how trade show labor services may impact the future costs of your proposed exhibit designs. If your company is new to exhibiting at trade shows, you’re probably brainstorming ideas for your displays and beginning to make plans.  You may think you’re designing an exhibit that your team can transport and set up without professional help. But sometimes regulations may prevent them from doing simple tasks that you’d never think you needed professional help to accomplish.


Logistics includes more than what happens with your goods once they arrive at the show venue. For the purpose 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 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. However, shipping a portable display to the advance warehouse may be smarter than paying to put it on a plane.  Ensure the venue will allow you to pick up and carry your own equipment within the location; 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 great variation in the rules between different venues and shows, so it’s important to check 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 general exhibit rules and regulations that are often the same from one venue to the next. This includes 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 allow exhibitors to install their own equipment, as long as it is tool-free and doesn’t require using a ladder. Some venues allow exhibitors to do simple electrical connections and cabling on their own. Others require that these tasks be completed by certified workers. In some cases, the municipality or venue requires 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, consider hiring your own contractor to supervise the GSC’s laborers. Having an advocate directly accountable to you for the work being done correctly and on time helps you avoid delays and extra charges.