Using the Return to Warehouse Option

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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.

When you turn in the Material Handling form to ship your exhibit at the close of the show you are always asked at the service desk what should they do if your carrier does not show up? You are given two choices:

  1. You can choose to have the shipment “rerouted” using a carrier that the general contractor chooses for outbound shipping  OR
  2. You can have the general contractor remove your freight off the show floor and take in back their local storage facility. They will hold it there for further instructions. This second option is called “return to warehouse”.

So what do you do? This is a hard decision to make because there is a little objective criteria to your decision. On the one hand, you are at the mercy of the general contractor’s shipping company and whatever price they want to charge for shipping your freight. You will be charged a shipping fee without the benefit of a prearranged price quote.  The cost is usually significantly higher than the original quote from your preferred carrier.

Now the other option is to have the shipment return to the contractor’s local warehouse but there is usually little information to tell you what the associated costs are for this service. My experience tells me that the costs are somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 dollars per hundred weight as an average. So what do you do?

I have, on many occasions, checked the return to warehouse box. Why? It is an option that provides a fixed price for the shipment. I can go back to my shipping company and have them absorb the cost for this extra fee and still have them return my shipment at the original agreed price. So lets’ run some numbers. If my shipment weights 3,000 lbs. and the return to warehouse fee is $15 per hundred weight then my cost for this service is $450. I can have my carrier pick up the shipment a day or two later and the carrier can absorb this added fee for their negligence at not showing up on time at show site. On the other hand that same $1,400 return shipment could cost $2,300 as an example using the reroute method where you have no control over pricing. At least, with the return to warehouse option, you know what your costs are going to be by asking at the service desk.

I also think that you get a little more leniency with the general contractor when you choose the return to warehouse option. They will not force your freight as fast knowing they have to take it back to their facility. Next week we will look at the relation between the show contractor and the freight company who would get your forced freight.

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.