Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘freight’

Here’s a Handy Drayage Calculator (and it’s FREE)

September 14th, 2018 COMMENTS

Material Handling/Drayage Calculator

Trade Show Material Handling CalculatorMention “drayage” or “material handling” to any exhibitor and it’s bound to start a conversation. And not always a pleasant one.

Over the years, I’ve learned that while the amount matters, it’s really the uncertainty that drives most exhibitors crazy. No one enjoys calling their company Controller to inform them that your company credit card was just maxed out… on Day 0 of the trade show.  

There are many ways to lower your drayage expense, such as shipping to the advanced warehouse and consolidating your freight (no small boxes or strapping items to a crate). That’s a conversation every exhibitor should have with their exhibit house or display provider. You can save a lot of money by tapping into the expert advice of an exhibit professional. 

So how do you predict your material handling expense? Use our handy Drayage Calculator. If you know the standard rate for the show, which can typically be found in your General Show Contractor forms and the weight of your shipment, enter those numbers into the calculator. Then determine if there will be any special handling charges and when you expect the freight to hit the dock (straight time or overtime). The calculator can give you a good estimate. 

It’s not foolproof, but it’s better than guessing, which is what most exhibitors do now. Give it a try. It’s free. Let us know if it prevented that ugly phone call with your Controller.

Clicking on the image will redirect you to the Drayage Calculator webpage. Be sure to bookmark it. 

Trade Show Material Handling Calculator (Drayage)  


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or


When Technology Bites: Word on the Street — July 20th thru July 24th

July 25th, 2015 1 COMMENT
Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

I love technology! But sometimes, I fear, we miss the basics, the commonsense in our effort to make things more efficient and streamlined — like what makes sense. For example…

Last week I met with a transportation company, one of the well-known Big TWO. At the beginning of 2015, this carrier introduced a slick handing system in their sorting facilities replacing the old system that required someone to manually check measurements on larger packages.

This new system uses calibrated lasers to scan a case or package to take the dimensions. It’s way cool! And from a business perspective I appreciate the time it saves as opposed to hand measuring each large piece. But that is where the cool factor hits a glitch.

Measuring Roto-Molded Cases

Freight_2In our world, which includes portable, modular, and hybrid exhibits, we ship thousands of pop-ups, panel systems, counters, workstations, and component orders each year. Many ship in portable, durable, and reliable roto-molded cases. We know, as do you, that the first shipment better be perfect. You want that baby showing up looking new, case included. So many of us wrap those cases in heavy poly bags, heavy shrink-wrap, or some other protective packaging hoping the case looks as new as the exhibit it holds when the client sees it for the very first time.

Well, this week I learned of a big flaw in the transportation companies new process/flow system that uses those cool lasers. It’s so good at calibration and scanning that it catches the very outermost dimension possible. Let’s say you packed a case in a protective heavy-duty poly bag, then taped and or heat sealed it shut at the open end. Well look at the photo. See down by the floor how the bag, not the case, is sticking out? When you account for that, your 26″ wide case just became 34″ to the new/cool scanner. Or look at the other photo. Say your client is shipping this from the show floor after their fifth use. They do everything right, including pulling the case straps really tight. But the tail on the strap is curled up like the picture. Now your 9″ deep case just became 13″ deep by the lasers standards.

FreightI mention this up not as a complaint with the  new, highly-efficient system. I understand why they implemented it. But these “new” potential dimensions just doubled your client’s cost to move that case because the case became “over-sized” in the eyes of the new laser machine.

To their credit, the freight company sent a rep to review our concerns, and they are giving our client a credit. But there is no way around this in the future. So I was told “you and your customers need to be mindful of this on all shipments.”

Back to my original point, and again not complaining, but sometime the latest and greatest technology cannot replace the common sense that comes pre-equipped in a human with a measuring tape.

I would encourage you all to take some heed to this story. It’s much more than just a little extra charge here and there on some shipments. It can double the cost of your shipments.

After a little bit of research I have found that it’s not just the big TWO that are moving, or have moved, in this direction. Many smaller transportation companies and even some regional carriers are looking to adopt similar systems.

Have a great weekend ahead!

Be well!



What You Should Know about Exhibit Budgeting

August 7th, 2009 COMMENTS
  • How to differentiate between normal marketing expenses and exhibit marketing expenses
  • The exhibit is the largest initial expense, but your ongoing exhibit marketing will easily surpass that initial cost 
  • Create a budget and maintain an accurate Return on Investment (ROI) on your exhibit marketing
  • Include the Exhibit Costs, Onsite Expenses, and Show Services when developing your budget

An Accurate Exhibit Budget

Companies should define a workable exhibit marketing budget, one that includes all related costs. However, the line between marketing expenses and exhibit marketing expenses can be somewhat fuzzy. You will want to create a well-defined budget that separates them.  

The exhibit is typically the largest initial expense. However, over time, the cost of using the exhibit will easily surpass the initial cost of the exhibit, often significantly. When constructing a budget, evaluate your ability to maintain the expense year after year. Weigh the repercussions of scaling back. In some industries, scaling back can be more damaging than never exhibiting in the first place.  

Creating an Exhibit Budget

Creating a budget allows you to figure an accurate ROI. You should account for pre- and post-show marketing, travel costs, lodging, and entertainment. You’ll need to factor in freight, drayage, show labor, carpeting, and electricity expenses. These can be significant expenses. Most I&D companies will estimate the labor time from a faxed set-up drawing. Most freight companies can estimate the shipping charges based on dimensions and weight provided by the exhibit seller. You should also factor in minor repairs due to freight damage or repeated set-up. Generally, common sense will determine if the exhibit packing is sufficiently for repetitive use, the vibration of the road, and the pounding of the forklift during freight handling.  

Don’t forget to factor in the usable life of your exhibit and assign a cost to each show. On average, an exhibit is effective for three years. Any longer and the exhibit may be dated or worn. Any earlier and the marketing value is not realized. (more…)