6 Hidden Trade Show Display Costs

Trade Show Display Rentals Calculating Expenses | Exhibitus

Exhibiting at a trade show is an investment in your company’s visibility and success. Depending on your budget, you may purchase a custom display or look into trade show display rentals.

No matter which option you choose, don’t forget to account for hidden costs. Otherwise, you could be in for a surprise when unexpected bills tank your exhibit budget. Ensure a strong return on investment by paying attention to these six hidden trade show costs.

1. Drayage

Your shipment costs include material handling, also known as drayage. This non-negotiable fee is assessed by the union responsible for getting your booth materials from the truck to the exhibition space.

Drayage can be surprisingly expensive — sometimes running into thousands of dollars. The cost is based on the number of pieces and weight of your shipment.  Be sure to work with your exhibit house to get information about drayage costs before finalizing a budget.

2. Deadlines

If you don’t meet deadlines, you could be responsible for late or rush fees. Be sure that graphic and production items are approved on time to avoid rush fees.  Get all forms and service payments in on time as well. Missing deadline dates can run up your total bill by 30 percent or more when penalties are factored in.  Be sure you understand your exhibit house’s policies regarding payments and fees.

3. Labor

Precise planning and accurate timelines prevent unnecessary labor fees. Charges for labor aren’t based on the number of hours worked — they’re determined by the number of hours present.

For example, let’s say your booth space isn’t available for set up and move-in until 1 PM, but you requested the labor team arrive at 8 AM. You’ll be paying for those five hours of inactivity in addition to work performed to set up the booth.

4. Waiting Time

If your shipments are going directly to the trade show, wait time will impact the final costs. In some instances, the truck driver can be stuck waiting for hours, or even overnight. Keep in mind that the time spent in line is time on the clock, and then budget accordingly. Again, an experienced exhibit house can help you schedule activities such as labor and wait time to minimize the impact on your budget.

5. Fuel Surcharges

Fuel surcharges are another reason your initial shipping estimate is never set in stone. They’re based off the cost of fuel on the date of shipment, which can fluctuate. The distance the truck travels, as well as time spent waiting, make an impact on this non-negotiable charge.

6. Inefficient Packing

Shipping costs are educated estimates based on weight. It can also be billed on what’s known as “dimensional weight.” This is based on the size of the crates and other packing materials — not what’s physically stored inside of them.

You can save on shipping costs by consolidating your items to ship with the exhibit itself. Be careful with heavy items, like paper goods and water bottles. It’s better to print and purchase what you need once you’re at the show’s location. Stopping by a local printer and grocery store can save you thousands on shipping expenses.

Don’t Let Hidden Costs Break Your Budget

Being aware of hidden costs helps you define a realistic trade show budget. Shipping costs will always be a large expense, but display rentals can help offset costs.

At Exhibitus, our custom rentals are given the same attention to detail as custom purchases. No matter your needs, our trade show management expertise can take your trade show experience to the next level. Learn more about our services by contacting Exhibitus at 800-770-4392.


November 27, 2017