There is no doubt that expenses add up quickly when you exhibit at a trade show. Months (sometimes years) in advance you have to pay for the space. Then you need an eye-catching display to put in the space, and sometimes boxes of brochures or fun items to give away. Next you need plane tickets, hotel rooms and food for your staff. After all that, it can seem like too much to pay the contractors at the convention center to hook up your electricity, lay rental carpet, and set up your booth. You may be tempted to do it all yourself to save money. Before you do that, please consider some of the thingst that have happened to us and our clients over the years:
"I only need one (or two or three) places to plug in my lights. Why should I hire an electrician?" Did you know that at any time the Fire Marshal can come by and randomly inspect your booth? If you don't have the correct type of cord taped down in the exactly proper way under your carpet, you could face a large fine. Not to mention the danger of having your lights or other equipment malfunciton or blow a fuse. Or worse yet, if the convention center has a contract with the local electrical union and they find out you did not pay for their services, you could end up being charged anyway. Better to let the electricians make sure you get the correct power in the right place, and that everything is secured properly.
"Rental carpet is a waste of money! I'll just bring my own." Remeber that electrical cord that needs to be taped down properly under the carpet? Most of the time, the padding needs to be cut so that the cords are not a tripping hazard to your staff and attendees. There also needs to be a large hole where the cord end comes through the carpet for your counter, monitor, or other items in the middle of the booth. If you cut holes in your carpet (or carpet squares) for one show, can you be sure they will be in the same spot for the next show? What if something is spilled on your carpet and causes a stain? Do you have plastic to cover your carpet while the booth is installed? Are you prepared to deal with the mess when a forklift runs over it? Although you don't always get the exact color you want with a rental carpet, you don't have to worry about keeping it looking nice, and it's one less thing to worry about when you or your staff arrive to set up your display. We have found that the decrease in worry and frustration far outweighs the additional cost to rent carpet from the show decorator.
"We don't need to hire anyone to set up our booth. One day will be plenty of time." If you have a small booth (up to 200 square feet) and you have used the exact display at previous shows, this is most likely correct. But if your booth is larger than 200 square feet, if you have new elements in your booth, or a lot of products to arrange after the booth structure is in place, you might be in trouble. The two sentences above are actually two different potential problems, but they are related. Anytime you have a new booth that is larger than 10 x 10, it's best to have professional help for the first show. There also may be regulations at your show stating that you must have union labor involved if any tools are required or if you need to stand on a ladder. Our clients find that having a supervisor from Area or a trusted team of show laborers makes the difference between opening a show rested and prepared and opening a show stressed out and possibly without the booth functioning as it should. Even if there are no requirements for professional help, and you have used the booth before, we always recommend two days to set up. You never know what might happen once you arrive on site!
We hope this post has given you some food for thought. Call us before your next show to make sure you spend those trade show dollars wisely! 844-275-2732