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Have You Noticed The Price Of Gas? 3 Tips To Reduce Trade Show Shipping Costs

By now you’ve no doubt noticed the rising gas prices you’re paying at the pump.  Our industry is no different and has seen a dramatic rise in trade show transportation costs due to the high cost of crude oil and gas prices.

While we strive to use the most economical means of transportation, almost every carrier is adding a fuel surcharge to our shipments.  Sometimes this fuel surcharge can be as high as 15%!  Unfortunately there’s not a lot that can be done to lower the costs, but we have a few examples and suggestions that may help you save on your exhibit and trade show related shipping costs.

Ship early!

If you’re shipping tradeshow displays, large or small to a venue, always plan your shipments in advance so you can use the least expensive mode of transportation.  Ground or deferred shipping carries the best rates and will save you over the long haul.  Plan your shipments well in advance and give your exhibit house enough notice to enable ground transportation to be utilized.

Avoid last minute shipments

It’s inevitable that you’ll have last minute shipments of collateral materials or product that may not have been ready with your exhibit freight.  If possible try and avoid separate shipments into the show venue.  Many exhibitors Fed-ex or UPS shipments in small pieces to shows.  This costs you in two areas.  Obviously the higher cost of express or expedited shipping hits your budget, but the “hidden” or unseen charges that you get socked with onsite such as “small package handling” fees levied by show decorators can really run your freight and handling costs higher than necessary.

If possible consolidate your shipment with your trade show exhibit and ship it together to achieve better economy.  If a split shipment cannot be avoided it’s best to palletize it and ship it with a common carrier to avoid small package handling fees.  Be careful to hit your “target move-in date” to avoid additional fees for freight arriving on the wrong date.

Shipping Literature? No don’t do it!

Many exhibitors still adhere to the old rule of shipping thousands of pieces of literature to their shows.  We recommend a thorough review of your literature and collateral policy.  Studies show that over 80% of literature handed out at conventions never makes it out of the show city.  A smart way of getting information into your prospects hands is to consider a USB flash drive with pre-loaded information about your company or products.  This solves two problems!  First, it provides a “give-away” item that’s very useful to almost anyone.  Second it allows you to “package” the information onto the device thereby saving both printing costs as well as the higher cost of shipping literature to shows.

We hope these suggestions are helpful in helping you keep your transportation and show site costs under control.

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About the Author

Mark is President and CEO of Skyline North Exhibits. With over 18 years experience in the trade show industry his primary focus is to help clients achieve the results they need from their trade show programs as well as providing trade show exhibits in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Northern New England. Skyline North is a full service exhibit design, manufacturing, and service facility located in Rochester, NY.

4 responses to “Have You Noticed The Price Of Gas? 3 Tips To Reduce Trade Show Shipping Costs

  1. Great tips Mark! At APG Cash Drawer, we’re moving away from bringing literature to trade shows. It’s expensive to print and people end up leaving it at the show. We now have product CD’s to hand out.

  2. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the article. Exhibitors can also save by using lighter weight exhibit solutions or by renting a solution close to the venue instead of shipping their exhibit across the country and back. All the best, Doug

  3. Very practical advice, Mark. Thanks. In addition to saving printing costs on paper literature– we’ve found having an electronic version can be prepared later in the schedule for last minute information that always seems to happen with new products for shows.

  4. I don’t think the flash drive is a practical solution being that they are at least $10 for 1G! Maybe a better solution is a CD or to find a local printer that can print and deliver your materials to the show/hotel.

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