Whether it’s your first show or your hundredth, there’s one part (well, two actually) that are likely on your least of least favorite activities. You know I’m talking about the installation and tear down of your custom exhibit, and not the bland lunch you are forced to pick up from the trade show venue because you just can’t find a way to sneak away to a local restaurant!
You can make things easier on yourself, though you’ll still probably despise the process. Here are some tips for a smoother experience.
Hire help. It is okay to hire outside help to get the job done! There are many options, but if you do many shows across the country, it’s best to go with a firm that offers multiple locations nationwide. This way, you don’t have to contact companies everywhere you travel to work out the details of what you need. Instead, they will have all of your details on file and you’ll know exactly what you’re paying.
If you hire help, submit the EAC form. If you’ve never set up a trade show booth before, you might wonder what this is. Basically, if you choose to hire an outside contractor to help you with setup and tear down, you need to give the exhibition management notice of this, typically by a specific deadline. Of course, if it is after the deadline, see what you can do about getting approval. Your contractor might be able to assist.
Make sure your shipper knows their stuff. This is crucial to assuring everything arrives on time, in the location they are supposed to be in, and in one piece! There’s nothing worse than broken products or display components. To make it easier, you should label each item being shipped.
Plan like a pro. When you are dealing with multiple people, you want to plan accordingly, and plan well, to ensure that everyone is clear on what they are to be doing. Planning in advance also allows you to find the best rates on things like running your electric. Make sure all service orders for things such as that are completed in advance, and specify any details – in the case of electrical, this means providing a detailed schematic showing where each component should be installed. For the person responsible for setting up the booth itself, it means providing a detailed schematic of where on the floor it should be, how big it is, and what it should look like. Be sure these service orders are submitted well in advance in order to ensure any questions contractors may have. Also, don’t forget to keep copies of these plans yourself in the event a contractor loses them!
Set up a solid schedule. This is crucial. The show begins at a certain time, and your customers and prospective customers expect things to be all set up and ready to go. Determine when the venue will allow you to begin the set up process, usually found in the paperwork from the venue itself. Factor in time to perform tasks besides booth setup as well, such as electrical or carpet laying. You need to be as accurate as possible since you are paying for crew whether they’re busy or not. If the electrical contractor is still working to get things up and running, that leaves the set up crew standing around waiting to begin. If you mis-schedule set up, you’re paying for that time spent doing nothing! As part of your planning process, be sure to speak with all contractors working on your booth in order to determine how long each stage of the process will take in order to effectively schedule everyone in.
Read union regulations in each city you travel to. Did you know that some cities union’s will not allow you to set up your own booth? Before you begin anything, you need to see exactly what you need to hire out for and what you can do on your own.
Keep an accurate inventory list. This is a given, but must be mentioned for those new to exhibiting. It’s great you are labeling the crates, but if you don’t have a list of them, it’s hard to keep track. What’s more, your contractors have no idea what is what, so this list is important to give to them!
Find a trustworthy supervisor. The person you choose should not only know everything about your booth, they should also have a solid understanding of the unions of the city you are setting up in. Make sure your supervisor is available during the entire set up and tear down process, there to answer questions that can arise from any of the contractors.
You can take some of the weight off of your shoulders – hire out help to get it all set up, and then packed up when the show ends. If this isn’t appealing to you and you want to minimize the people you need to pay, consider a pop up booth. Then all you need to worry about is stocking products and pamphlets! Contact us today to go over your trade show booth options, we have the perfect solution for you!