Drayage. If you’re new to the exhibiting industry you’re probably thinking “huh, that’s a funny word.” If you’ve exhibited before, you know just what a pain in the butt it can be!
So what is it?
Drayage is the term for the handling of exhibit materials from the advanced warehouse to the convention venue and from the dock to the exhibitor’s booth. It also covers crate removal and storage after set up and their return to the booth when the show is over. Trade show exhibitors pay a fee, based on the weight and number of packages, to have their show materials received at the dock (or transported from the warehouse) and moved to their show space. Drayage costs vary greatly from show to show.
Over our years in the industry, we’ve learned that it isn’t necessarily the cost of drayage that drives exhibitors crazy, but the uncertainty. No one enjoys being hit with a bill that’s thousands of dollars more than you were expecting.
There are a lot of ways to help lower your material handling expense. Shipping to the advance warehouse is usually less expensive (and much less stressful!) than shipping direct to show. For this reason we ship to the warehouse whenever possible. Consolidating your freight (no small boxes or items strapped to a crate) is another way to help lower this expense.
NOTE: If you’re using your own shipper to pick up the freight at the end of the show, be sure to read fine print of your service kit. It will specify the day and hour that your driver must show up and sign in at the marshaling yard. Failure to meet the deadline will disqualify the driver from picking up your freight, and the general service contractor will ship it back using their preferred contractor (which is always MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE).
So, how do you take away some of the guesswork? Firstly, you’ll need to get an estimated weight of your booth. We can provide a pretty close estimate of the weight for all of our standard rental kits and double decks. Custom designs can get a bit trickier, but we’ll do our best to give as accurate an estimate as possible. Next you’ll need to look up the standard rate for your show. This can typically be found in your General Show Contractor forms. Enter this information into the drayage calculator and you should have a pretty good estimate. It’s not foolproof, of course, but it’s better than guessing.
You might be wondering why P.O.P. Exhibits Inc. doesn’t cover drayage expenses… the short answer is: it saves you money!
We’re able to guarantee our rental pricing because of our confidence in our products and our team. We know how much the variables will cost us, which allows us to give you the best guaranteed price possible. Drayage is a cost that we simply don’t have any control over. Some exhibit companies mark up the cost of drayage in order to provide all-inclusive pricing to their clients. We prefer to give our clients the best price possible, but do our best to make sure that drayage isn’t something they’re blindsided by.