Things I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me About Exhibiting

January 11, 2018

Candy Adams

Candy Adams, aka “The Booth Mom®,” is a hands-on trade show exhibit project manager and trainer. She helps exhibitors maximize the return on their exhibit investment using the best strategic, tactical and training practices. 

No. 5: Ask for a discount. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Discounts are everywhere in the trade show industry. But they aren’t always stamped with the word, “DISCOUNT!” in big red letters.

When you’re working with your show vendors, always ask them how to obtain cost savings and the best value. They may offer discounts to new clients to incent you to try their services or have package deals, volume discounts for multiple shows or be willing to meet or beat other quotes you have solicited.

Many exhibitors don’t bother to ask about vendor discounts and leave a lot of cash on the table just because they didn’t ask, “What’s the best you can do on renting a plasma monitor at the ABC Show?” And discounts aren’t always visible in the base price – they can be found in areas like decreased shipping or delivery costs, shared labor costs or only being charged for the show days you’re actually using the equipment instead of the entire time the equipment is out of their shop.

But make sure you’re comparing apples to apples or it can drive you bananas. By using the “official” show contractors, you can generally avoid paying shipping charges and material handling charges on their products being hauled into the hall for you – like rented furnishings, audio-visual and computers. When using a non-official contractor, you’ll be charged for these services and possibly also travel expenses for the labor to deliver or install it onsite.

You also can avoid paying material handling charges on an exhibit rented from the General Service Contractor, which can amount to a sizable savings. For many years, I’ve worked with a colleague at Freeman to rent an exhibit for one of my non-profit clients with a bare-bones budget and somehow, every year he pulls off a miracle so we can hit budget (see my prior blog on relationships). And not paying the drayage on the exhibit is a big part of our savings!

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