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Top 5 Recommendations to Control Drayage Costs

How many times have your show services been estimated and all costs seem to be under control until you receive the post-show service invoice, and the drayage cost shocks you and throws you over your budget?!

The official definition of drayage (aka material handling) is the unloading of your exhibit properties, storing up to 30 days in advance of the show at a warehouse, delivering properties to the booth, the handling of empty containers to and from storage, and removing of material from the booth for reloading onto outbound carriers. (Freeman)

Top 5 Recommendations to Control Drayage Costs

  1. Consolidate Shipments Under 200 lbs. into One Shipment.  There is always a minimum drayage charge for every shipment delivered to the warehouse or show site.  By consolidating shipments, your charges will be based on the total shipment weight, instead of individual minimum charges.  Plus, by consolidating, your properties will stay together and have less of a chance of being misplaced!
  2. Know the Material Handling Rates.  Sometimes it is less expensive to ship your trade show exhibit to the warehouse, and other times it is more cost effective to ship direct to the show site.  Some shows now include the cost of drayage with booth space, but usually require you to ship direct to the show site.  Do your homework, review the show kit, and compare freight costs, the timing of the arrival of freight, and what makes sense for your booth space.
  3. Know the Target Dates to Avoid Overtime Charges.  Every warehouse accepts freight between certain hours and for each show there is a warehouse deadline.  If you miss this deadline, overtime charges are often 25%+ more than the standard rates. Consider shipping direct to show site if you can, or if the shipment is small, ship it to your hotel and hand-carry it into the show.  Again, this information is within the show kit.
  4. Understand what is Considered “Special Handling”.  Did you know that if carpet and padding is shipped with your crated exhibit properties, that special handling charges often apply?  If a truck requires ground unloading, or if you ship via FedEx, UPS, Airborne or DHL, that these shipments are also charged at a higher rate?  Understand the general contractors’ definition of special handling and work with your traffic manager to ship your items properly labeled, in the right size truck, and not mixed with loose items.
  5. Is Your Move-In or Move-Out Target Date on an Overtime Day?  Many shows have targeted move-in and move-out dates.  Perhaps your trade show booth is scheduled to move out on a Saturday even though the show ends at 2 PM on Friday. Review the show kit to find the person you can contact to request to have this date changed. Many times this will be allowed, but of course it depends on the size of your booth and where you are located on the show floor. It does not hurt to inquire, as it could save you $$$.
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About the Author

Valerie Hurst is a Marketing Consultant at Skyline Central Ohio and focuses on helping exhibitors with trade show strategies that make an impact, generate leads, extend engagement, and are measurable. She has been helping clients with their Ohio trade show displays for 20 years. From portable to custom modular trade show displays, she ensures that each exhibitors’ trade show program receives the attention they deserve to ensure success.

One response to “Top 5 Recommendations to Control Drayage Costs

  1. Great list! #4 might make the difference between shipping items to the show, or renting from the contractor.

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