Shipping Your Trade Show Exhibit: What to Consider

Probably one of the most commonly overlooked areas of trade show services is shipping – often becoming an after-thought and not properly planned for.  In reality, the choices you make regarding the shipping of your exhibit are mission-critical to the success of your show.

Keep in mind that, in the trade show business, production and setup timelines are built backwards – starting with the end-date and time that your booth needs to be set-up on the show floor. So, by effectively communicating to your display house from the outset, exactly when your company expects the exhibit to be set-up, AND handed over to your team, your display house can create an accurate timeline for production and show services – including recommendations for the best shipping method(s).

It really can’t be stressed enough how important it is to effectively communicate all of your expectations regarding deadlines to your display house – as early in the process as possible. And this includes asking the right questions!

Ask Your Display House the Right Questions Up-Front

As with just about anything that requires planning and accurate execution – asking the right questions up-front, and making your expectations known from the beginning is key.

Here are a few short, direct questions and topics that you should discuss with your trade show partner during the early planning stages:

  • When will my exhibit be set-up and completely turned over to my team on the show floor? (If your team needs time for testing presentations and such, let them know this!)
  • Does the display house automatically ship to the show site?
  • Does the display house automatically ship to the advanced warehouse?
  • What will be the total design/production time of my trade show booth?
  • What method of shipping is recommended? And what options do I have?
  • What about shipping insurance? What is covered by the carrier’s insurance and should I purchase additional coverage?

Without asking these questions of your display house up-front and having an open discussion about timing and expectations – it’s very possible to make assumptions about shipping and show services – which can lead to confusion, bad feelings, and in the worst cases…unsuccessful events.

But it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. A bit of pre-planning, asking the right questions, and knowing what trade show services are available to you – can take the stress out of show logistics.  In-fact, with a number of VIP Trade Show Shipping Services available to you, just about all shipping-related mishaps can be avoided.

VIP Trade Show Shipping Services

When planning the logistics of your trade show event, take into consideration all of the “VIP Shipping Services” which may be available to you:

  • Dedicated trucks and trailers – meaning that only YOUR trade show exhibit will be loaded onto the truck or trailer. No other cargo will be on the same truck with your booth or exhibit.
  • When using dedicated shipping – there is never a need to unload your exhibit crates from the truck, during transit, in order to make other pickups or deliveries – this alone greatly reduces the risk of damage or items being lost or misplaced.
  • Dedicated shipping includes the “sealing” of the trailer/truck once loaded and the door not being opened again until your shipment reaches its destination (checked upon delivery and noted). This greatly minimizes the risk of theft or items being damaged.
  • Some trucks are even equipped with video feeds and GPS technology, so you not only know exactly where your shipment is, but can actually “see” it during transit!
  • The ability to ship to advanced trade show warehouses and avoid the rush deliveries experience, at the loading docks, on the trade show delivery days. This requires a bit of extra time to be built into the overall timeline, so plan ahead.
  • Carpet can be bagged and sealed, protecting it against damage.
  • Photos of your assets can be taken before and after shipping, giving you valuable proof of the condition of your assets BEFORE they’re loaded onto the truck.
  • Optional, additional insurance may be purchased above what the freight carrier includes.

Some of the Risks with Conventional Ground Transport

Not at all knocking conventional (less expensive) ground transport, but there are a few risks to your trade show booth that can be avoided with a VIP Shipping Service:

  • Conventional ground transport trucks are not dedicated, so there is risk of damage or lost items when trucks stop to load and unload other cargo on the way to your exhibit’s destination.
  • The standard insurance conventional ground transport offers may not cover the total value of your trade show booth.
  • Conventional ground transport may not have the ability to deliver to advanced warehouses, which can affect timing and budget.
  • Did we mention that, with conventional ground transport, things sometimes just get lost or damaged while in transit?

Again, with a bit of planning and asking the right questions of your display house, the pitfalls of shipping can be almost entirely avoided – leading to trade show exhibitor bliss!

ColorCraft offers a full range of VIP Shipping Services for the exhibits we design! Like to learn more about how your next show can be on-time and stress-free? Give us a call, we’ll be happy to walk you through our full range of trade show services.

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