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Clarissa Piquero Kierner's Articles

Trade Show Basics: Labor And Rigging

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Previously in this series the details for dealing with electrical, audio/visual, and carpet order forms were discussed.  Now, it’s time to tackle some of the forms we tend to get
the most questions on: labor and rigging.


If you exhibit at tradeshows, be prepared to work with union labor at many venues around the country.  While some Right to Work States are very flexible with what you can
do in your trade show booth space, be prepared for the venues where you will not be able to place a plug in an outlet yourself.

Using Show Labor or Independent Contractors for Exhibit Installation and Dismantle (I&D)

If you have a portable exhibit you generally have the option to set up your trade show exhibit yourself.  A portable exhibit is typically defined as “not needing tools.”  Exhibits that
fit this description include: Pop-ups, Bannerstands, Tabletop Displays, and Tablethrows.  Some venues will even allow the installation of custom modular exhibits provided that
they are inline booths.  Generally (thought not always!), island booth installation needs to be handled either by show labor or your own independent contractor.  Check the rules!  
You don’t want to get blindsided by steep charges at a show site just because you didn’t know the rules ahead of time!

Using Show Labor

If you are having show labor handle your I&D there are a few items you want to be aware of:

Using an Independent Contractor

Right now you may be thinking to yourself: “I don’t know any contactors in (insert city name here)!”  Don’t worry!  That’s where your  exhibit management partner can help.  Generally
these folks have contacts around the country that are familiar with your particular booth hardware and can quote you a price for the I&D.  Quotes from independent contractors can
be much less complicated as you generally won’t need to schedule their time or provide a supervisor.  Contractors generally know if union labor is required at a show site and will
schedule their crews accordingly.  One thing to keep in mind with contractors is that you will have to provide an EAC form to the decorator.

EAC – Exhibitor Appointed Contractor

If you are providing outside (non-show) labor for the I&D of your booth make sure to search your show kit for an EAC form.  This form may go by another name (Non-Official Contractor,
Outside Labor, etc) but it is the EXHIBITOR’S responsibility to fill out this form.  Also, CHECK THE DEADLINE!  Many show’s have different due dates for the EAC form from the regular
show kit forms.  Make sure you share this information with your exhibit management partner and/or the independent contractor you are working with as they will need to provide you with
the EACs complete company details and a copy of their Certificate of Insurance.

Speaking of Certificate of Insurance….

Any show in which you are using outside labor will require a Certificate of Insurance (COI) on file.  Again, CHECK THE DEADLINE! Failure to turn in COIs and EACs on time can result in
costly charges.  You want to make sure you are turning in these forms with plenty of time. Failure to turn them in can lead to your I&D contractor not being allowed to access the show
floor and result in you hiring show labor at show rates on site. Make your life easier, plan ahead!


Just saying the word ‘rigging’ is enough to send even the most seasoned trade show veteran screaming for the hills!  Rigging refers to any work that is done to hang structures from the
exhibit hall ceiling. Rigging work generally needs to be arranged separately from the I&D as there can be separate unions that handle this work.  Here are some quick tips to keep in mind
when arranging this labor:

Labor and rigging are just a couple parts of trade shows that require a solid game plan in order to achieve success.  Armed with this information and a little prior planning, any exhibitor can
be confidant and ready for their next show.

©  2013 by Clarissa Piquero Kierner