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Carpeting Your Booth Space Part II

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Welcome to “Exhibitor Lounge” sponsored by Exhibit Edge.com.  I am your host and Trade Show Mixologist, Michael Gray. Here, each week, you receive simple, practical, and proven tips to improve your trade show marketing strategy and get better results while maximizing your budget.

So now that we understand the general contractors standard rental carpet let’s look at the option of purchasing and sending your own carpet to the show. The two reasons that you would select this option are to save money and to provide a better look.

A better look is easily achieved if the carpet is fresher and of greater quality (meaning a higher density, pile and material). The color options are much greater when purchasing and can offer more unique looks and color combinations with the exhibit structure. Oh yeah- you can also purchase the carpet 10′ deep saving valuable booth space. But, does all this come with a price?

Of course you would expect to pay more to purchase a carpet the first time then to rent one. You also have to factor in the cost to store, ship, install and remove your carpet onsite. So let’s break it all down.

I use a general rule of thumb that a carpet and pad is about 100 lbs. per 10 x 10 area. So one space is 100 lbs., two spaces is 200 lbs. and so on. So let’s figure out the cost of shipping the carpet. How you ship your materials will have a big impact on the cost. If you ship by air you know the carpet roll will not fit on a pallet so it will need to be sent separately causing two concerns.

1. A dimensional weight increase which we discussed in an earlier training video.

2. There is a possibility that your entire shipment will be charged a “Special handling” drayage fee because of the carpet.

What – you say! Well, here’s the deal. The carpet, even if it is in a carpet bag with handles to carry it, is considered by many general contractors as a loose item. They conclude that it is not in a case or a container that can easily be moved without extra handing on the part of the loading dock or (drayage) crew. This drayage rule is then applied to the entire shipment as it would be difficult to separate the weights of the shipment at the loading dock. In this case one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch. This is not a drayage discussion so we need to let that go for now.

Now – if you ship by padded van then the only real cost for smaller carpets is the drayage cost as the carpet is not really factored into the shipping cost. It can usually fit in between the nook and crannies of the overall shipment, not increasing the shipment’s volume. You can also avoid the special handling fee for the entire shipment by putting the carpet on a separate bill of lading, which works best for 10 x 20 and larger carpets that will use up the 200 lb. drayage minimum. You can also attach the carpet and padding to one of the crates so it is not considered a loose item.

So let’s calculate the costs per show.

A 10 x 10 carpet will cost about $100 to $150 each way to ship by air. It will add $100 to $150 in drayage and there is some effort, not much, to install and remove it. So let’s use a number around $400 complete to send a 10 x 10 carpet. If you ship using a padded van then that number is more like $200 for a 10 x 10. Compare that number with the rental price for each show and you will be ready to decide what is right for you. Oh yeah, I also calculate that two rentals is about what a purchase price would be and you should figure about 10 uses before you need to repurchase. Hey – that was a lot to digest in one video so we will stop there.

Know that your exhibit company does this kind of price shopping on your behalf all the time. They can also offer discounted rentals and are in a better position to use padded van shipments when they have multiple clients on the same show. So owning a carpet and having it available for use in some situations may be a good option.

As always, please respond with your questions or comments and let others know about EXHIBITOR LOUNGE.COM. We will see you next week. Until then, I am your host Michael Gray telling you to RELAX in the Exhibitor Lounge.