6 Tips for Shipping Your Trade Show Display

If you are new to exhibiting, shipping a trade show display can be an intimidating task. Luckily there are many freight transportation options available. Often the easiest route is to use the trade show’s official carrier as they usually are familiar with the show hall and trade show process. However, this is usually not the most affordable option. There are a few ways that you can reduce your shipping costs without compromising the safety of your trade show display. Selecting a vendor that is familiar with trade shows will help streamline the process. Having your custom trade show display shipped directly from the vendor to the show will also make the process much easier. Be sure you give yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare for the shipping of your trade show booth. If your packing and transportation is rushed, there is a good chance that your booth will be damaged before or after the show. The following are six tips to help ease the stress of shipping your display booth.

  1. Design Smarter

If you are exhibiting on a budget or travelling a long distance for your next trade show, it’s a good idea to design with transportation in mind. With each extra package or mile, your shipping costs can increase exponentially. Be sure to take shipping into mind when calculating your budget and designing your booth. If you are working with a design professional to develop a large, impressive truss booth (http://www.iconicdisplays.com/Truss-Displays.html) , then the vendor will most likely be able to assist you in shipping the booth to and from the event. However, if you are looking to purchase and transport a more simple display on your own, it might be in your best interest to choose a pop up or modular display that is portable and easy to set up.

  1. Package with Care

This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many trade show displays end up being damaged because of poor packaging. Though your freight carriers and drayage contactor should take care in handling your shipment, packages always get tousled around, stacked, shoved, and even dropped during transport. The best chance you have of your display surviving the trade show without a scratch is by packaging it correctly. All pieces of your display should be protected and carefully placed into lightweight but durable shipping containers or plastic wrapped and secured onto wooden palettes. Be sure you properly label each piece with your name, company name, booth number, show name and location, and delivery address and date. Using bright colors when packaging your display will make it easier to locate your shipment and keep it together during set up and teardown.

  1. Go the Rental Route

Depending on your business’s trade show experience, you may choose to rent a display instead of purchasing one. If your company is exhibiting as a one-time project, or hasn’t determined exactly what type of display is right for your brand, exploring your options by renting might be a good idea. Plenty of display companies offer rental packages that include everything you need to create an attractive, functional booth. The best part is– they’ll also handle the shipping. Many display companies can bundle purchase and rental accessories, allowing you to keep certain parts of your display and return the rest if you choose to.

  1. Don’t Forget Drayage Expenses

The drayage contractor is responsible for the transportation of your shipment between the loading area at the show (or carrier’s vehicle) and your designated booth location. Drayage contractors and their rates are established by the event and the show hall, and are based on weight. Because each loose piece is also assigned a minimum charge, it’s usually a good idea to consolidate packages in your shipment as much as possible. Your drayage, or material handling bill, also includes the removal of your shipping containers once your display is set up, storing them, and then returning them to your booth once the show is over. Drayage can be expensive, so be sure you take this into account when calculating your budget for shipping and handling.

  1. Keep Paperwork on Hand

Your Bill of Lading includes all of the information about your booth that is necessary for both the transportation company and the drayage contractor. Once you arrive at the show, it should be turned in to the customer service desk. Be sure to include the show name, exhibitor name, booth number, service contractor, number of pieces, weight per piece, total weight, your company name, and the target move-in date. In addition to this bill, you should also keep notes of your shipment for your freight carrier and for your own records. Make sure each piece is clearly labeled and make note of how many pieces you have before shipping. You will also need to fill out a material handling agreement before leaving the show. A good way to keep all of this information accessible is by creating a contact list ahead of time, with information for your freight carrier, the show’s general service contractor, the show decorator, and of course you and your booth staff.

  1. Protect Expensive Accessories

If your trade show booth includes expensive accessories or materials, it is a good idea to take extra care when shipping. Unless the parts are being sipped directly from the display vendor, you should take a few extra steps to ensure that they arrive at the show safely. Wrapping items together in plastic may work for smaller boxes, but doesn’t provide any protection for banners, countertops, or shelving. Using large plastic shipping tubs or crates lined with foam or padding is a good way to combine and protect smaller items. Any containers that are labeled as fragile or have specific shipping instructions may be subject to additional drayage costs. For this reason, it’s a good idea to handle the transportation of expensive pieces yourself if possible. If your booth includes expensive TV monitors or touch screens, be sure that these receive extra attention in shipping and handling.

Taking extra steps to prepare your booth for shipping will help prevent unexpected damages or complications. Before your next trade show, be sure you have all of your bases covered from paperwork to padding. Reducing stress through proper planning and organization will allow you to focus more on your company goals throughout the event, and ensure your display’s usability far into the future.