Material Handling Explained + Drayage Calculator!


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.

Here’s the Thing about Double Deck Exhibits

Do you know that up until 2012 there were very few exhibit houses offering 2-Story Exhibits for sale and even fewer offering them as rentals. Much has changed and much has been written about Double Deck pros and cons over the last few years but as we get ready to enter 2019 let’s take a moment to review.

Been there done that.

Some of our clients rented a Double Deck and then decided to go back to renting a single level exhibit. One of the reasons for this has to do with weight, for the more an exhibit weighs the heavier the financial burden when it comes to the show imposed expense called Drayage. Multi-Story booth designs have to be structurally engineered so as to…. basically, be safe. This equates to more weight. Another reason might have to do with with space; if you’re able to secure a larger booth space you can spread out and negate the need for extra square footage upstairs. Marketing goals and the need for a different kind of presentation can play a role. Perhaps a large monitor and easily accessible seating are more important that a private conference area.

Double Deck Exhibit Rentals continue to be popular, however, due to a number of positives. There’s the exclusive feeling you get when you are sitting upstairs and sharing that may help in building one on one relationships. It can be relatively open or completely private. The surrounding walls provide tons of branding space as well as visibility from around the hall. The bottom line is that they are impressive, solid, visible and strong. If this is how you like to think of your company perhaps it’s time to move up.

Note: P.O.P. Exhibits Inc. has been offering decks since 2007.


How To Line up Prospects before your next Show

You’d be surprised at the percentage of companies whose trade show marketing plan consists of jumping on a plane and showing up for the show. Everyone knows that a little pre-show effort can enhance your efforts at the show regardless as to the product/service you are selling. So, why not do it?

One idea is to create contests and giveaways to gather attention online. Everyone loves winning something and by consistently running fun, low cost giveaways, you can build or increase your following. The idea is to focus less on what it is you’re giving away and more on how you’re getting people to participate. Try offering a contest entry in exchange for new customers/prospects liking your Facebook page or for existing customers to refer a friend.

What really makes sense is to carry the theme or concept into your Rental Booth Design.