Show site shipping companies work with the general contractor to provide outbound shipping services. You know who they are─those colorful flyers that that are passed out to every booth space offering you a way to ship your exhibit back home. These companies generally have a separate service desk location but they are frequently becoming part of the general contractor’s services. All that means is that you receive the services of the shipping company, but are billed through the general contractor. For this service, the general contractor will mark up the shipping company’s costs.
Remember from earlier blogs that the shipping company provides the general contractor with benefits in the way of services, equipment, or discounts for the privilege of being the official carrier, and they’ll pass these costs on to you in the form of higher rates. They have to provide labor to assist exhibitors at a service desk, distribute flyers, tag shipments, create labels and load shipments off the floor.
If the general contractor becomes the administrative extension of the shipping company then the mark ups are compounded. Examples of this are ads you see in exhibitor manuals promoting the transportation services of the general contractor such as Freeman Air.Freeman Decorating Company did not go into the airfreight business but instead promotes the services of an official show airfreight company as a service under their name.
So let’s summarize from last week and today:
- The general contractor ultimately needs to clear the show floor.
- You have to tell the general contractor what to do if your carrier does not show up.
- Checking the box on a material Handling form to redirect or return to warehouse give them the authority to force freight.
- Forced freight occurs when your carrier does not abide by the show rules for checking in on time.
- Costs are usually higher for show site transportation services than prearranged services.
- Forced Freight does not provide a price quote upfront and you are at the mercy of what the shipping company wants to charge you.
I know this is an area where you, the exhibitor, can feel very vulnerable. You turn in your Material Handling form and walk away from the show floor not knowing the outcome of the loading process. So what can you do to protect yourself? We will take a look at that next week as we focus in on the outbound shipping process.