Trade Show Commentary

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

They Didn’t Think We’d Notice?

In Trade Show Displays on March 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

All I can say is that it doesn’t take a whole lot to raise your blood pressure about 50 points when you work in and around the trades show business any more. Here’s a great example of manipulating the calendar to generate big dollars for the trade show service contractors. This one is called the “artificial cut off date.”

What is that? Well, simply put, it means that the service contractor accepts freight at their advance warehouse usually beginning 30 days in advance of the move in date of the show. Normally, exhibitors can ship their freight to the warehouse, up to the service contractor’s move in date without any extra charge. Now that has changed, and the service contractor in Denver, Freeman

Shipping Crate

Shipping Crate

in this instance, now gives you 30 days, but they cut the service off at the normal rate “one week” before the exhibitor move in. Then, anything coming in during the last week is charged $16.25 per hundred weight with a minimum of 200 pounds, just for their inconvenience. Think about that. Who would suspect that if you can ship to this facility up to 30 days in advance and you schedule your freight to arrive a week in advance, that by doing so would be grounds for additional charges?

Now let’s be honest here. I was once a service contractor a number of years ago and even subcontracted shows from Freeman, who is a very good, upstanding and reputable company, but in the  interest of maximizing every dollar generating opportunity they can, this one seems like a blatant attempt to chisel away at the exhibitor’s pocket-book in a very cheap way! I say that because intuitively, no one would suspect that they getting themselves into this type of situation by having their freight arrive 5 days before the show moves in.

Service contractors normally don’t begin loading up the freight going to the show until a few days (depending on the size of the show) before their advance move in, and unless they are receiving the freight and putting the freight directly into a trailer that represents a specific geographic area on the show floor, they will use the advance time in the warehouse to segregate and batch the freight which is going into different areas on the show floor to allow for a more orderly move in. Therefore, receiving more advance freight up to the last-minute really doesn’t inconvenience their process much and alleviates what is normally a greater expense of receiving the freight at show site which is normally on a weekend which is obviously overtime.

What is gained by cutting off the regular advance warehouse rate off a week in advance? Money! At an additional $16.25 per hundred weight, if you calculate the amount of freight that normally comes in during the last week that the advance warehouse is open, this turns out to be very big dollars. But what about small shipments? Well, a small box is now charged an additional $32.50 per box if it arrives alone, on top of the existing material handling prices which might be as much as $90 or more per hundred weight with a minimum of 200 pounds. That little box get’s to be very valuable in a real hurry. It’s no wonder that more and more exhibitors are shipping directly to their hotels to avoid some of this.

I wrote this because the more you know, the more you and some of your clients can do to avoid a few of these very expensive pitfalls. But who’s to blame? Oddly enough it’s not the service contractors, but in my humble opinion,  the show managers who burden the service contractors with so many mandatory free-bees that they have to resort to this type of behavior to exist. It’s just sort of sad when it becomes so blatant.

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by Lowell Nickens, LinkedIn Profile