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Cost Savings Tips for Trade Show Exhibitors

Updated on November 30, 2014

Trade Show Expenses

The main expenses related to trade show marketing after the cost of the actual floor space include the display or exhibit that you will send to the show as well as the graphics that you showcase on the display or exhibit. Followed by shipping, flooring and show related services.

Displays and Exhibits

Lets start with your display/exhibit and graphics. Most or the newer style displays utilize graphic-based panels and materials to allow you to cut down on expenses by allowing your actual graphics to be a part of the exhibit. The older method was to build an exhibit and then attach graphics. Fabric graphics and direct print substrates allow you to reduce expense by allowing the graphics to serve as a part of your structure. You can see a lot of examples at:

Trade Show Shipping Costs

The next major expense is shipping to the show. Shipping costs are based on size and weight. However keep in mind that large shipments that are light weight are almost always billed at their "dimensional weight." This means that an empty crate can cost the same to ship as an average weight full crate. Reducing the size of your shipment is just as important as reducing its weight.

Most trade shows offer two shipping options. The first is to an advanced warehouse and the second is direct to the show site. Shipping to an advanced warehouse will always cost less because the target window for the delivery is much more flexible compared to shipping direct to a show site. Shipping direct to a show site will offer a very specific date and time for when your shipping company can deliver. Additionally, there is usually a wait to unload at a show site that will incur "waiting time" charges from the shipping company. It is very rare to experience waiting time at advance warehouse locations and very common at the show site.

Reduce Drayage

Drayage is more commonly referred to as "material handling" these days. This is the cost that the show will charge to unload your freight deliveries at either the advance warehouse or show site. The cost is based entirely on the weight of your deliveries. The cost is almost always per 100lbs. With a 100lb minimum per delivery. This means if you send 3 different shipments all weighing only 25lbs you would be billed based on three 100lb (minimum) deliveries.

The price per 100lbs is usually different for advance or direct shipments. Some shows charge a premium for direct and others charge a premium for advanced. Look at your material handling order form to see the price difference. Some shows can charge over $1 per pound ($100 per 100lbs) for drayage. Therefore, reducing the weight of your exhibit however possible can greatly reduce this expense.

More Information

For more in-depth coverage on these topics you can find articles dedicated to each subject at:

We hope you found this information helpful.

© 2014 Joe Bottone


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