Who Are the Show Site Shipping Companies?

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.
The show site shipping company works with the general contractor to provide outbound shipping services. You know who they are? They are those colorful flyers that you see on the last day of the show. You know – the ones that are passed out to every booth space offering you a way to ship your exhibit back home. These companies will either have a separate service desk location or more and more they are 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 videos 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. They will need to pass on these costs to you in the form of higher rates. They do 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 “re-direct” 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 then 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.

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