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Many companies that exhibit in trade shows turn the entire event over to their marketing or sales department. Of all their priorities, the cost of trade show shipping seldom makes the list. The top three priorities usually consist of the following:

1. Determine show goals and how to achieve them
2. Design, write and produce all materials for the show
3. Make sure the booth tells the company’s story and is in great shape for the show

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that saving money on shipping the booth and other materials to the trade show is not one of the top three priorities. After all, the show makes it easy to handle trade show shipping. Their decorator will handle it all for you. Piece of cake, right?

Actually, that can be a very expensive piece of trade show shipping cake. Here’s why.

Lack of competition drives costs higher

Trade shows are not in business to save you money. Neither is the decorator (which is clear every time you request an extra outlet for your booth).

Decorators select an official show carrier for a trade show. Since there is no competition, the official carrier can charge full rate card, minus a healthy commission for the decorator. There is nothing underhanded about the arrangement, it just leaves exhibitors paying full rate for shipping to and from a trade show. In exchange for paying a lot, exhibitors don’t have to worry about how their freight is being shipped. Great deal?

Once you see the savings exhibitors are giving up, you might not think this is such a great deal after all.

Real savings are a shocker

One of our trade show shipping experts ran two quotes with a nationally recognized carrier that is frequently an official trade show carrier. Both quotes were for shipping 500 pounds of trade show cargo with the freight class of 125 (all trade show cargo has an NMFC of 125) from Las Vegas, NV to Bronx, NY. One quote was for the carrier’s rate card price (which is very similar to what the decorator will charge you). The other quote was for shipping via FreightCenter’s discount with that carrier. Here’s how they came out.

Quote 1 - Standard freight rate from the carrier: Cost to exhibitor equals $4,883.42.

Quote 2 - Discounted quote via FreightCenter: Cost to exhibitor equals $618.78.

If the exhibitor had booked their freight through FreightCenter instead of through the show decorator, they would have saved $4,264.64. And FreightCenter would have used the exact same carrier.

Even if the decorator passed on a 50% discount, the cost would still be 4x more than the FreightCenter discounted rate.

And remember, the freight shipping fee does not include the drayage cost you will have to pay at the exhibit center. Drayage covers the moving of your booth and materials from the loading dock to your booth location. And while drayage is not a shipping cost, it is a reminder that trade show shipping costs can add up quickly.

Just imagine how much more money that exhibitor could have put into their booth (or saved their company) if they had spent $4,264.24 less on shipping. Now, imagine saving that much on every trade show shipment, and in each direction.

Peace of mind service is always a trade show necessity

Knowing that your trade show materials will arrive on time and in good condition is very important.

But FreightCenter provides the same peace of mind to thousands of customers nationwide. Most of our customers are not freight shipping experts. They rely on FreightCenter’s experience and expertise to make sure every aspect of your trade show shipment is handled properly, from pickup to delivery, including generation of all necessary paperwork and payment to the carrier.

In fact, peace of mind service is exactly why Golden Krust Bakery famous for their many flavors of Caribbean Patty, handles all their trade show shipping through FreightCenter. Their story illustrates that peace of mind service can be the #1 reason for choosing FreightCenter over the official carrier.

Larry Mead is National Sales Director for Golden Krust Bakery. One of his many responsibilities is leading the company’s efforts at trade shows. He is not a shipping expert.

In 2015 one of the pallets Larry had shipped to a trade show didn’t arrive. Larry quickly had another pallet put together, but he didn’t want to use the same carrier. He asked someone in his office for a referral, and FreightCenter was recommended. Larry contacted FreightCenter and was helped by Craig, a longtime logistics specialist. Craig immediately saw to it that Larry’s problem was handled. Since then, Larry swears by working with FreightCenter.

“We exhibit our products at 10 shows a year, and Craig helps us with every one of them because I know I can trust him to get the job done. By the end of the year, we probably will be exhibiting at 15 or 16 trade shows annually, and we couldn’t do that without knowing everything will come off without a hitch. I don’t want to have to think about this stuff, and thanks to Craig and FreightCenter, I don’t have to.”

Even some trade show organizers are beginning to get the word

Redwood Media Group’s mission to connect top artists, gallery owners and publishers with collectors and dealers. They make that happen with art shows all over the US.

Rather than referring their exhibitors to a preferred carrier that will pay commissions to the decorator, RMG recommends three different freight brokers — including FreightCenter — that will provide outstanding service while saving exhibitors money. Few galleries have thousands of dollars laying around they can spend on shipping. RMG understands that the lower the freight costs, the more exhibitors they will be able to attract to their shows. They also know that the service must be best in class.

Make your next trade show shipping experience better

Before booking your next trade show shipment, compare the price you are given by the trade show manager with one provided by FreightCenter. The savings will be substantial. The quality of service may be even better.

For a free trade show quote, use our free online quote tool or call FreightCenter at 844-212-7447.

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