Lisa Apolinski is a professional speaker, blogger, and digital strategist. With her company, 3DogWrite.com, she works with event managers to get their message to attendees, particularly through digital channels, on and off the show floor.
Paying the Piper: Check Invoices for Accuracy
I just read a blog by Rachel O’Sullivan on checking after-show invoices. She focused on material handling fees, but I have to say, you probably need to check all invoices for services you get at the show for accuracy.
There are times when your electrician or plumber or materials handler marks things for your booth as incorrect. Put another way, how many times have you received crates that didn’t belong to you (that has happened to me a couple of times) or have had to go walking around a show floor for a clearly marked crate for your booth? (I push back if they try to charge me for moving that crate, by the way. If I had to go on a scout mission, it is worth the cost of the forklift.) Be sure to be in your booth when work is being done and know how long the person was in the booth. Someone should know, and that ends up being the person who pays the bill (ie you).
Get a reputation
This may sound mean, but get a reputation for being stickler when it comes to having accurate invoices at the end of the show. If they know you are going to check it and not just pay, chances are you will get someone actually being more careful with your invoice. This may also stop the behavior Rachel cited in her blog, if you think there is a tendency to overcharge. If they know you are on it, they will be more inclined as well.
Build a rapport
Don’t forget that the workers at the trade show are human and trying to do their job as best as they can. Friends will go the extra mile for you, and be more careful with you, your booth, and your budget. Treat the workers with respect, assume that it was in fact an error, and of course, assume that they will do whatever they can in their power to correct any invoices that are wrong. If you go in with a negative attitude, a negative attitude is what you will receive.
The one in charge of your budget is you, so don’t let the show itself run away with it. Be sure to check invoices and stay on top of your budget game.