1. Show Paperwork
||Typically, we have found that mistakes
are made with the show paperwork. This is usually because the person
filling out the paperwork is not a field person, and does
not have time
to make themselves into a paperwork expert for each and every show. They
tend to fill out each upcoming set of show paperwork almost identically
past shows paperwork. However, rules, including services and time
frames change from venue to venue, so your paperwork strategy should
change as well. On average
these small mistakes cost you the customer
10% Ė 15% on services ordered.
2. General Contractor Billing
||We find that there are 15% ďmistakesĒ on the bill
from the General Contractor. It takes a lot of knowledge to spot all of
the mistakes and skill coupled with patience to
negotiate with the
general contractor and get everything corrected. Know what you ordered
and agree to pay accordingly. Get any billing mistakes worked out at the
||We ship from point to point, not
worrying about keeping exhibits in our home warehouse. We schedule
carefully so that maintenance is planned around when those exhibits
be in our area. Exhibits are designed very modularly, so that we can
even add to complicated exhibits without having the old pieces shipped
back for integration with the
new. By shipping point to point, we keep
exhibits on the most efficient path between venues. This can potentially
cut the costs of shipping by 50%.
We also use shipping by train for segments that do not require exact
delivery and/or pick-up times (depending on venue). This is quite a bit
less expensive (30-40%).
We fill in for our shipping companies
with the thought work. We donít assume that they know what they are
doing. They are focused on 100s of shipments per day. We are
a few, and ultimately are responsible to our customers.
We often use shippers that provide
shuttle runs within cities. A whole truck might cost $250-300 dollars as
a shuttle run, and these companies are at the trade show venues
day. They know the freight handling staff and this eases issues with
freight in and out and really limits wait times. This eliminates 50% of
the cost of shipping.
||We pick warehouses that are clean,
efficient and low cost. We donít rely on pull and prep at the warehouse.
We manage the condition of the exhibit from the field except in
circumstances where the warehouse comments on damage to the exhibit
during shipping. We inventory condition, marketing collateral and
supplies during takedown. This
eliminates double handling and cost, and
we find it to be every bit as reliable as pull and prep, but much less
5. Project Leadership
||Get the best lead man in the field for
each venue. Act as the hub for information, since you are the common
element from show to show. Supply your lead men with as much
as possible so that they can hit the ground running and instruct your I
& D crew on where specific items are and how to complete certain tasks.
Your notes are very
helpful for them. Experienced lead men work on 100
or more different exhibits a year. You focus on only a few. Help
reinforce their memory with accurate and detailed notes sent
to them or
their employer a few days before the show.
||Negotiate with your labor company to
receive a rate at or below show rate. We work with a few companies so
that no one company has the total pie. We make notes from show
on who is good in the crew and who isnít. We request that the good
members are repeats at future venues. For both management and I & D
familiarity leads to increased
||We stay during the show and do the cleaning
ourselves. This eliminates cleaning costs and insures that we are in the
booth first thing in the morning to get AV systems functioning,
that all electrical circuits and light bulbs are working, and that the
booth is provisioned and ready for action.
8. Cost Analyses for Devices and Negotiation
||We often perform cost analysis for
services like AV and overhead lighting. Usually, you work with an
independent AV house because you have a relationship with their staff.
at many venues this increases your cost. The show designated AV
supplier does not get charged any freight handling fees for the AV
equipment. Those AV equipment deliveries are
often whacked with a $300
minimum freight handling fee, so even if you are using just one monitor,
you pay $300 to have it delivered.
9. Overhead Lighting
||Freight handling fees can be huge. That
truss and the light fixtures can be very heavy. In fact with a small
exhibit, the truss and lights can actually weigh more than the exhibit.
will double your freight handling costs for the show. However, at
most venues, if you get your lighting package through the GC, you donít
pay any freight handling on the lights. In
addition, the general
contractor will often lock in a great price for rental, installation,
power, and on/off charges. This eliminates unknowns and there are many
with overhead or
Too many variables to control. You have a condor or two installing the
truss. $500 per hour each You need a lift to come back and aim the
lights. $500 per hour These large dollar
line items add up quickly. In
addition, you need the truss lighting to be installed before your
exhibit so that there is room to assemble the exhibit. The general
contractor has access
to the room early. They can get the lighting
installed the day before the freight comes into the hall, when they can
work the quickest and it costs you the least amount of money.
We have used specialty AV suppliers for
really advanced effects, but in general, everything that the typical
exhibitor requires can be provided more efficiently and for less money
the general contractor.
10. Seek Constant Improvement Ė The Game Is
||We use our knowledge and experience all
the time. We keep detailed notes and start working on improving the
results at the next show during this show. We donít assume that the
results from this show can be gotten at the next show using the same
strategy. The GCs change the rules. Your location changes. Your exhibit
changes. Your needs change. We
seek improvement and make changes to
create this improvement. We always want to get the work done in the most
efficient manner possible which insures the lowest possible
work with the general contractor before the show to let them know what
we need long in advance and find out what they need in order to keep our
efficiently. This keeps project costs down.
by Brett Lipeles