8 Trade Show Shipping Tips to Streamline Your Logistics

Navigate your trade show shipping logistics like a pro with our expert tips. You’ll discover important tips and learn to make the most of ...
Natalie Kienzle
December 4, 2019
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Learn about eight trade show shipping tips you need to guarantee success at your business’ next exhibition. Make sure that your presence at a trade show is a success by planning out the needed details. This includes having your exhibition booth, materials, and products delivered in a timely and professional manner. 

There are eight tips you can follow for a stress-free and professional event :

  1. Plan Ahead
  2. Find an experienced shipping service 
  3. Communicate with your shipper
  4. Get familiar with the exhibitor’s manual 
  5. Keep a detailed inventory
  6. Make sense of insurance
  7. Avoid extra items
  8. Complete all documents

These tips, along with the right shipper, can get your booth to and from any show with ease.

What Are Trade Show Shipping Services?

Between creating marketing materials and designing your booth, getting ready for a trade show can seem overwhelming. Trade show shipping services involve the transportation of all exhibition materials from one location to the event venue.  

If you don’t get booth materials shipped to the show on time and on budget, you can’t make the most of the opportunity. The good news is that with diligent planning and a little legwork, you can find an experienced trade show shipper to take on the load and the stress.

With the right partner and a few tips, you can make the transition from warehouse to the trade show floor simple. 

Here are eight tips we’ve put together just for you.  

trade show shipping tips image of a head with a lightbulb

1. Plan Ahead

There is only one place to begin when it comes to achieving trade show shipping success, and this is planning in advance. It pays to develop a detailed timeline as soon as you know you and your team are going to attend a trade show.

In order to find the best transportation solution for your trade show shipping requirements, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there any special requirements required for pick-up and delivery?
  • How much time have you allotted for transportation?
  • Where is the shipment going?
  • What are the packaging requirements for the shipment?

When compared with traditional freight, trade show shipping can have longer timelines. You may need to send your materials and booth items weeks in advance.  Working the details out ahead of time can present you with more opportunities in terms of lowering the cost and benefiting from different transportation options

Start looking at your options and booking a service between two weeks to a month before your preferred shipment date. The sooner you do so, the better. Carriers that specialize in trade shows could end up booking up their capacity if your orders are not scheduled in time. 

Furthermore, by providing notice, you enable carriers to optimize the movement of your freight. This can often result in some great cost savings. 

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

2. Find an Experienced Trade Show Shipping Company 

The next piece of the puzzle is to make sure you choose a trade show shipping company with care. There are a lot of different businesses across the United States that provide general freight services.

For the best experience, we recommend the following:

Take the time to read their website so that you can make sure that they have many years of experience behind their belt. It is also advisable to take the time to read reviews that have been left by people that have already used the services of a trade show shipping company before. 

This will give you a good indication into their level of quality. Make sure you read comments on independent review platforms, as you can be sure of the authenticity of these reviews. 

animated image of people talking

3. Communicate with Your Shipper

Once you choose a trade show shipping company to work with, you will be assigned a representative who will handle all the different aspects of shipping for your trade show materials, displays, and booth

With good communication, you can: 

  • Build a strong relationship with your assigned representative
  • Stay in touch for updates and address any concerns

This person should be available for you to contact whenever you need to, and you should definitely do so. By building up a relationship with your shipper, you will be able to ensure the transportation to your show site is productive and materials will arrive on time. 

4. Get Familiar With the Exhibitors Manual 

The vast majority of trade shows and exhibitions will provide their exhibitors with a manual, which will explain everything they need to know about the show. This includes information on insurance requirements, as well as general rules and regulations. 

Common information items include:

  • Venue information
  • Booth setup and tear down dates
  • Shipping deadlines
  • On-site handling procedures
  • Health and safety notices
  • Fire safety regulations
  • Marshalling yard locations
  • Electrical services

In addition to this, the trade show exhibitor’s manual should also feature information about general shipping guidelines. This will include information on the recommended freight forwarder for the exhibition. 

You’ll be provided with information on how to arrange pre-show storage and are typically provided with a point of contact for all things shipping related. It’s important to pass along that information to your preferred carrier. 

At USA Trade Show Shipping, we know what to expect from most show organizers and can work with your point of contact to make the process easier. 

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

cartoon image of a checklist

5. Keep a Detailed Inventory

There are a number of different documents you are going to need to keep a hold of, as well as pieces of information that you will need to keep handy, too. One of the most important is your detailed inventory list.

To make your life easier and to avoid stress, it is a good idea to ship your display early so you don’t have any last-minute concerns. Planning your inventory ahead of time makes this possible. 

Shipping to an advanced warehouse will give you full confidence that your display will move in on schedule. Having your trade show materials near the convention facility lowers the risks of traffic flow problems and gives you some leeway in case something did go wrong or was forgotten. It’s also likely to get you a better move-in time with the show organizer. 

Always look into advance bookings with care. Average warehouse rental across the country varies and so do vacancy rates. 

Warehousing in Major Trade Show Destinations

LocationAverage Warehouse Rent (sq feet)Average Vacancy Rate
New York City, NY$29.606.7%
New Orleans, LA$16.856.9%
Chicago, IL$6.323.0%
Dallas, TX$4.705.8%
San Diego, CA$34.2416.8%
Orlando, FL$22.2516.4%
Las Vegas, NV$1.030.1%
Source: The Trade Group, CBRE, Statista, CommercialCafe

If you are going to be sending any sort of shipment directly to the show site because you have no other choice, then make sure your carrier knows of the move-in hours for the show and the specific date. 

In terms of getting organized, something else you are going to need to do is keep the phone numbers and names of the following people in your phone contact list:

  • The show decorator
  • The customer service center for the trade show shipping carrier
  • The general services contractor and the on-site representative

By having these contact numbers handy, you will be able to reach those who can help with ease.

6. Make Sense of Insurance

Insurance is another critical area of consideration for trade show shipping. There are a lot of different insurance options available when it comes to your trade show shipments. 

This includes:

  • Extended liability coverage 
  • Carrier insurance
  • Corporate insurance policies
  • Exhibition floater insurance

The vast majority of freight forwarding companies today are insured against delays and loss. However, rather than assuming that this is the case, you definitely need to make sure that you get in touch with the company to make certain that it is.

USA Trade Show Shipping does offer comprehensive insurance policies that can be customized according to your company’s needs.  

binders stacked on top of boxes

7. Avoid Extra Items

Finally, a lot of people look for different ways to cut the costs associated with freight forwarding for their trade show. One of the most effective ways to do this is to make sure that you only send the items that you need

While it can be very tempting to ship a lot of extra items, just in case you need them, this is only going to end up costing you more money. Not only do you need to consider the expense of getting your items from their current destination to the trade show itself, but you also need to think about the cost of storing these products and materials once you arrive. 

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials?
Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

8. Complete All Documents Correctly

Finally, you need to make sure that all the documents associated with the shipment have been completed correctly. Proper paperwork and labeling are critical for trade show organization.

Make sure that all the following details are placed on the paperwork to avoid misplaced materials:

  • Delivery address
  • The date it must arrive by
  • Number of pieces
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Point of contact
  • Company name 
  • Booth number

It is advisable to place this information on all sides of your case, crate, or pallet. Clarification matters because freight is going to be stored with a number of other shipments for trade shows. 

You may even receive color-coded labels, depending on the show you are going to be exhibiting at. These labels can be helpful because they enable event staff to figure out which areas or rooms the freight needs to go to. If these labels have been provided to you, then you should definitely use them. 

One of the most important documents is the Bill of Lading (BOL). This is utilized at the time of pickup. It is imperative when it comes to ensuring your trade show freight shipment goes as smoothly as possible. You need to make sure that all the following information is printed on the BOL:

  • The dock number for delivery
  • The trade show decorator and phone number
  • The contact information and the name of the on-site trade show contact for your company
  • The number and name of your trade show booth
  • The specific hall or event room within the facility
  • The complete name of the show - do not use any acronyms
  • The physical address of the complex or building where the show is taking place

By following these trade show shipping tips, you can make the most of your event experience. No matter what city you go to or what cargo you need shipped, USA Trade Show Shipping can help you get the job done right. 

Discover the Difference With USA Trade Show Shipping

Mastering trade show shipping tips is essential to ensure the success of your next event. With USA Trade Show Shipping, you can rest easy knowing that we've got you covered. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing top-notch service, ensuring a seamless experience from start to finish.

Our trade show shipping team has been designated to ensure that specialist trade show shipping requirements are met. With more than 50 years of combined experience across our team, you can be confident of outstanding results when you use our service. 

USA Trade Show Shipping offers a comprehensive range of services, including:

  • Setup and Break down Service
  • Freight Insurance
  • Nationwide Access

So there you have it: all the important trade show shipping tips that you need to make sure that your trade show goes off without a hitch. Experience the USA Trade Show Shipping difference and take the first step towards a stress-free and successful event. Call us now at (866) 415-8986 or complete our risk-free quote request form to get started on your trade show shipping journey.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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