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9 Key Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Trade Show Exhibit Design Firm

If you’ve landed on this blog, you are most likely considering hiring a design firm to create your custom trade show exhibit. As with any major business decision, due diligence is a crucial process for identifying the right partner. It is likely the design experts you are interested in provide more than extravagant exhibits. Most companies will also help you coordinate shipping, set up and tear down, as well as other marketing services for your event.

Because trade show booth design companies are multifaceted, you have a lot of ground to cover when it comes time to interview them. Here, we’ve identified nine questions you should ask a design company before hiring them.

1. Do You Have Experience in My Industry?

Depending on the technical aspects of your products and services, your exhibit may require a specific type of expertise. Working with a trade show design company with a specific experience in your industry or with similar companies can make the entire process smoother.

2. Can I View Your Portfolio?

The design partner should be eager to share a portfolio of work with you. If they don’t, that is a red flag. Give them bonus points if they share exhibits from clients in the same or related industries. Not only will browsing their past work show you their creative potential, but it will also give you confidence (or not) in their abilities.

3. Am I Able to Talk to Any Previous or Current Clients of Yours?

Just like a job interview, speaking to references can make or break your decision to move forward. Design houses will always put their best foot forward in an interview, but clients—past or present—will provide the most insight as to what it is like to work with the company.

4. Can You Walk Me Through Your Overall Design Process?

Each design company will have a different approach to design, but getting a good understanding of their process will shed light on everyone’s role, including yours. It’ll also inform you of a generic timeline, so you can have realistic expectations of your experience.

5. What Are My Storage Options?

Storing your exhibit is an important piece of your trade show puzzle. You want to be assured your design partner makes it easy to ship, manage and store all of the pieces they’ve created in a safe and easily accessible warehouse. Be sure to ask about your access capabilities, the location of the warehouse and inventory management.

6. How Do You Prove Trade Show ROI?

One of the most important aspects of investing in an exhibit is proving the value it brings after each show. Inquire about the firm’s ability to capture, track and analyze trade show data. They should offer a measurement process that validates trade show performance and demonstrates the monetary contribution that engagement provided.

7. What Trade Show Services Do You Provide?

If an exhibit design house provides creative services, they might also provide show services like installation and dismantling, technical wiring and more. Be sure to have them clarify the term “turnkey” if that’s how they label their services. This is a common term used in the trade show industry, but you need to know exactly what is included. It is likely that trade show management is part of a turnkey program, so you’ll need to plan for dividing and conquering tasks with an on-site manager if that’s the case.

8. Who Will Be My Main Point of Contact?

Your account executive (AE) will be the most important relationship you have throughout the design process. Understanding the AE’s experience and responsibilities could sway you to go with one company over another. Your AE is the liaison between your company’s vision and their design team, so clear communication and positive interactions are key.

9. How Do You Help with Tradeshow Paperwork and Coordination?

One of the greatest benefits of working with a reputable and experienced exhibit design company is their ability to reduce your workload and detail handling. The partner needs to coordinate all of the logistics between your exhibit and trade show contractors. If they don’t, keep looking.

We know choosing the right design partner can be overwhelming, so we hope this list helps you feel more prepared. At Exhibitus, we would be proud to be your design partner for your next exhibit. Contact us today to meet our team and learn more about our trade show program potential.