8 Essential Tips for Shipping to a Trade Show

In this guide, we will reveal all of the trade show shipping tips you need to guarantee success at your business’ next exhibition. A trade...
Trade Show Shipping
December 4, 2019

In this guide, we will reveal all of the trade show shipping tips you need to guarantee success at your business’ next exhibition. A trade show is any sort of exhibition whereby businesses gather to show off their products and services. In order to make sure that your presence at a trade show is a success, you need to plan to perfection. This includes having your exhibition stand and any other materials and products you will be using delivered in a timely and professional manner. This is where trade show shipping comes in. 

There are many tips you can follow for a smooth arrival when shipping to a trade show. Follow these trade show shipping tips:

  • Plan in advance
  • Find a trade show shipping company with experience
  • Communicate with your shipper
  • Know the exhibitor’s manual inside and out
  • Keep the details organized
  • Make sense of insurance
  • Don’t send extra items
  • Complete all documents

Working with the right shipper and following these tips can get your booth to and from the show without hassle.

What is Trade Show Shipping?

On top of booking travel arrangements, creating marketing collateral, and designing your booth, organizing the shipment of all of your trade show materials can seem overwhelming. This is especially the case when you consider just how important this service is. If you do not get your booth materials to your show on time and in a safe manner, you’re not going to be able to make the most of the opportunity. However, the trouble is that diligent planning and some legwork is required in order to make sure you don’t run into any problems. Being aware of trade show intricacies and staying organized can be a massive help. 

Trade show shipping is the process used to get your booth to the show on time and intact. It requires working with a skilled and experienced logistics partner. Even with the right partner, there are a few tips you can follow to make the transition from warehouse to trade show floor simple. With that being said, below, we have put together some advice on trade show shipping, ensuring you have all of the details you need.

1. Plan in AdvancePlan in Advance

There is only one place to begin when it comes to achieving trade show shipping success, and this is planning in advance. In order to best determine the transportation solution that is going to be the most efficient 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. Therefore, it pays to develop a detailed timeline as soon as you know you and your team are going to attend a tradeshow. It is vital to make shipping a priority. This is because working ahead of time can present you with more opportunities in terms of lowering the cost and benefiting from different transportation options. 

In some cases, a show may have their own preferred carried. However, you are not obliged to go down this route. You can shop around and ask a number of different carriers for a quote. Once you build up a relationship with a good logistics company, you can rely on them whenever you need assistance with any sort of trade show freight, and so it is advisable to find your own provider that you can rely on rather than using a different recommended freight company every time you attend a new trade show.

In terms of recommended timings, it is advisable to make sure you 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 a Trade Show Shipping Company with Experience

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. However, rather than going down this route, you are advised to look for a company that has specific experience in trade show shipping. This should be something that they specialize in if you are to get the best possible results.

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. 

3. Communicate with Your ShipperCommunicate with Your Shipper

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

4. Know the Exhibitors Manual Inside and Out

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. You can also expect information about exhibit services, travel, and deadlines. In regards to the latter, you will be able to discover all of the important deadlines with regard to your shipment.

In addition to this, the trade show manual should also feature information about general shipping guidelines. This will include information on the recommended freight forwarder for the exhibition. Although all trade shows provide a recommended company for shipping, you are not obligated to use their service. You will also be provided with information on how to arrange pre-show storage and any other services relating to the on-site handling and delivery of your goods. You will also be typically provided with a point of contact for all things shipping related.

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.

5. Keep the Details OrganizedKeep the Details Organized

In addition to the tips that have already been presented, it is important to keep all of the details organized. 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. 

To make your life easier and to avoid stress, it is a good idea to ship your display early so you have not got any last-minute concerns. Shipping to an advanced warehouse will give you full confidence that your display will move in on schedule. You run the risk of missing the start of the exhibit if you send your display to the show site directly. This is because these deliveries are not offloaded until the advance-warehouse deliveries have been. If you are going to be sending any sort of shipment directly to the show site because you have no other choice to, then make sure your carrier knows of the move-in hours for the show. Let them know if your shipment is a targeted booth for a specified move-in time or 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, and corporate insurance policies. Some carriers will also provide you with exhibition floater insurance, which will ensure that your items are covered for the entire show. 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. 

7. Don’t Send Extra ItemsDon’t Send 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. After all, 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. Because of this, you are recommended to only send materials and things that you are genuinely going to need.

8. Complete All Documents Correctly

Finally, you need to make sure that all of the documents associated with the shipment have been completed correctly. Proper paperwork and labeling are critical for trade show freight. You run the risk of materials being misplaced if you do not complete the paperwork correctly. You also need to make sure that all of the following details are placed on the paperwork:

  • 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. 

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.

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 of 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 tradeshow 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

Shipping to a Trade Show with R+L Global Logistics

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the different elements and qualities that you need to consider when it comes to finding the best company to help you with your trade show shipping requirements. One company that ticks all of the boxes that have been mentioned, and many more, is R+L Global Logistics. 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. 

Trade show transportation services logistics make up a big part of our business. Over the years, we have built up strong relationships with exhibit systems providers who trust us to deliver a seamless customer experience. You can be sure that you are in the right hands with us, whether you are reviewing a CES checklist or prepping for a trade show booth. We have our own warehouses across the United States, as well as being partners with exhibit providers and having strong relationships with leading shows. This ensures that we have all bases covered when it comes to providing exceptional trade show logistics services. If you would like more information about the service that we provide or you want a free trade show freight shipping quote, all you need to do is give us a call on (866) 415 8986. You can also use our live chat feature for further help and assistance. 

So there you have it: all of the important trade show shipping tips that you need to make sure that your trade show goes off without a hitch. If you follow the advice that has been provided in this guide, you will be able to make certain that there are no disasters on the day caused by not having your exhibition stand or any of the other important items you require.

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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