Trade Show Tips

5 Mistakes that Drive Up Shipping Costs & How to Avoid Them

Trade shows can be a great way to get new leads in the pipeline and grow your revenue, but if you’re not managing trade show costs wisely, they can also be pricier than you expect. Shipping is one area where businesses tend to be hit by unexpected costs. Here are 5 mistakes that drive up trade show shipping costs and ways your team can avoid them.

1. Not Providing an Accurate Description

Any shipping company will need the material dimensions, weight, and freight type (e.g. pallets) to provide a shipping quote. If your description isn’t accurate, the quote will be off and you’ll end up paying more than you anticipated. By taking the extra time to double-check your data, you can get an accurate quote and be able to plan other areas of your budget accordingly.

2. Not Being Clear in Pickup Instructions

For companies that are shipping products from multiple locations, such as outside vendors, fulfillment centers, etc., it’s critical to note the specifics of each location. Your shipping company will need contact information for each site including hours of operation, address, contact on site, and any reference numbers for a smooth pickup. Don’t forget to accurately describe the items being shipped! If the items are not considered “standard,” they need to be accounted for prior to picking up to ensure the shipping company has the right materials (liftgate, blanket wrap, pallet jack) to handle the load.

3. Using the Wrong Packaging

Protecting your trade show goods starts with the packaging you use to ship. When it comes to shipping cost, the type of packaging also serves as an indicator of how much you will be spending on transporting your materials. While in the past cost were determined strictly by the weight of the item, today shipping companies charge basis on your item weight or its corresponding dimensional weight.

4. Not Anticipating Drayage Fees

While you will have to pay drayage fees to get your exhibit moved from the loading dock to the trade show floor, there are several factors that affect the amount you’ll pay. These include the number of pallets, time of day, and the amount of handling that will be required. When you understand what variables affect drayage, you can take steps to lower your costs. By shipping to an advance warehouse, you can bypass some of your drayage cost, which will help save you money.

5. Overlooking Return Shipping

If your trade show materials need round-trip transportation, your shipping company will want to know those details prior to checking in at the opening of the show. Appropriate paperwork needs to be filled out ahead of time, and there are guidelines your shipping company will need to follow to help make sure the freight isn’t “forced” after the show has ended.

When it comes to getting your trade show exhibit safely to and from a show, it’s important to partner with a full-service exhibit provider who has experience navigating different conference center’s shipment policies. At Nimlok NYC, we handle every aspect of our client’s trade show programs so they can focus on what matters — getting their staff is prepared to reach its event goals. Contact our team to learn more about our services and to start designing a custom trade show booth for your next show!

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