Drayage Ideas of the Future

03/18/20 by Brandon

Today at Exhibit Edge, we’re going to talk about future ways that general contractors could charge for drayage. We often compare drayage to taxes. It’s filled with all kinds of rules, fine print, and extra costs that are very hard to understand and comply with. Sounds like taxes, right?

So in the news your hear people talk about a “flat tax.” You hear politicians say we should eliminate loopholes and deductions. You may also hear other terms such as a consumption tax, paying your fair share, alternative minimum tax, and on and on. Well, these same concepts can apply to drayage.

Let’s look at each idea one by one:

  • A flat drayage charge (or flat tax) – This would be one simple charge for everyone based upon the amount of weight you brought in to the show. If you bring in 500 lbs or 5,000 lbs, you would be charged the same rate for each 100 hundred pound increments.
  • Eliminating drayage loopholes and deductions – You may say that these don’t exist in drayage, but we believe that they do. When you get a rental exhibit from the general contractor they will tell you that drayage is free. When you use the GC’s transportation company you may be offered discounts in your drayage rate. When you use the in-house AV or custom furniture company there is no drayage attached to the order as with outside companies. These loopholes and deductions can influence business in one direction over another.
  • Paying your fair share – You can’t get me to touch that one. No Way. We think everyone feels they are paying more than their fair share. The only thing we will say is opposite what you might be thinking. The idea would be to eliminate the “roll it through the front door” crowd and everyone pays something, which should lower the rate for everyone. Darn – we did go there – didn’t we! Moving on.
  • Consumption drayage or Alternative Minimum drayage – This could also be considered a flat drayage charge by connecting a simple drayage rate to the number of booth spaces you order. For example: It could be a minimum drayage rate of $600 per 10 x 10 booth space. You could even have a different rate for linear vs. island exhibits. The rate for island exhibits would be a little more. Bottom line, everyone could budget for the show and you could set a maximum weight limit for each 10 x 10 booth space and have a process for those who are overweight. The whole idea is to get things simple and create more certainty and consistency. Gee – where have we heard that before?

General contractors have experimented with these ideas in some form or another. There have been shows that we have seen with no overtime charges or special handling fees.  Associations could include a drayage fee as part of the space rental fee and collect and use these funds to negotiate better terms with the drayage companies they choose.

Look – all we’re saying is with the struggle between reduced weights and the resulting higher drayage rates maybe there are other ways to approach this subject. It would be great to see associations and general contractors explore these ideas but they kind of need to do it together. You, as the exhibitor, can mention these ideas along the way. Drayage isn’t getting any cheaper or easier to understand – right?