Firstly, these tips are aimed toward exhibitors who own their booth and are hiring a company to handle the install & dismantle. If you’re renting your exhibit through us, we’ll handle your trade show install and dismantle at a guaranteed price for you! We’ll bold items in this article that still apply when renting from us.

Early Communication!

The theme of these tips is simple: PLAN AHEAD! Many preventable snags can end up slowing down installation on the show floor and slow downs end up driving up your labor costs. These tips will help you prepare for a smooth install and avoid waiting time unnecessarily. We can’t stress this enough. Schedule a call with the lead on the I & D team to discuss the details & your expectations. Send a set-up diagram, booth orientation and graphic layout orientation ahead of time for them to reference during set up. Confirm date and times as well as contact info so that you can communicate efficiently when the big day comes. 

Be on top of Show Orders

Make sure your electrical order has been scheduled for installation prior to your set up day. Send your trade show install and dismantle provider copies of your electrical order and a grid layout detailing the location (and specific power needs) for each drop. Be sure that the grid layout indicates the surrounding booth locations to ensure the booth is being oriented properly. 

TIP: 100 watt bulb = 1 amp; 1 monitor = 3 amps; count up light bulbs and monitors to confirm how many “amps” you need at each drop, based on the # of lights or electronics that will be drawing power from each drop! If you’re unsure of what to order we’ll be happy to make recommendations. Extra drops can added later if necessary, but it’ll cost more so better to plan ahead. 

 Same thing with your flooring. Double-check to make sure your flooring has been scheduled for installation prior to your set-up. There’s no bigger time killer than your install team having to wait around on the show floor for electrical or flooring to be installed. Don’t let this happen to you! Be sure to send copies of your carpet and/or flooring order to your I & D company, so if there are delays at show site, they can act as the advocate on your behalf. The same applies if you have a hanging sign, make sure the order is submitted to have it installed before set up. It can usually be installed after if necessary, but it’s much easier for the riggers to do it before the booth is set up. Don’t forget to send a copy of the rigging order to your I & D company!

Think about the logistics

Let your I & D company know if any special tools or equipment is necessary for set up. Arranging to have ladders, genie lifts, carts, etc at your booth space before set up will save everyone valuable time. 

Try to check in before set up

If possible, ask if your I & D company can check to make sure electrical, flooring and rigging has been installed properly the day before set up. This often isn’t possible with smaller shows that only have one or two set up days, but it’s worth checking. Have them also check that the booth is clear of crates and materials so that nothing gets in the way of set up the next morning. 

Bring the label maker! Or tape + a sharpie

Do a good job of labeling every exhibit component, and be sure to check that everything corresponds with your set-up diagrams.

Make notes/take photos

Take photos and make notes to help describe any little tricks, tips, or special attention details for assembling any of the more complicated components of your exhibit. 

Bring set up diagrams

Along with helpful photos and notes, make sure to print and email copies of any line drawings, renderings, and staging photos of your exhibit design. Also include hard packets of this information in your exhibit cases/crates, so there are plenty of copies for the I & D team to reference.

Meet with the team

If you’re present for set up, hold a brief meeting with the I & D team right before installation begins to review your expectations for the day. Go over your set-up diagrams and photos so they can visualize the finished product. A list of the proper order in which components should be built is helpful to avoid the need for backtracking. 

Request a change if needed

If someone on your trade show install and dismantle team just isn’t performing to your standards, request a change. You’re paying a lot of money for this service. It’s okay to expect everyone to be on-time, professional, and productive. Tell the I & D Lead that you need to replace that individual with someone more experienced.

We know from experience to expect the unexpected on the trade show floor. We hope that these tips help you prepare for a successful install & dismantle. The first couple of shows with a new exhibit can be stressful. With a bit of planning the surprises can hopefully be kept to a minimum.