There are so many services available and most of them are required by the show decorator on the trade show floor. Starting from the beginning I would like to break down the difference between shipping to “Advance Warehouse” vs. shipping “Direct to Show”.
When you first receive your show service kit from the decorator you will notice a cut off date for shipping to be received to the advance warehouse and dates you can ship direct to the show based on your location in the floor plan. One of the first things you should do is make note of these dates and plan your timeline backwards.
Advance warehouse - what exactly is it and why should I bother to get my stuff there that early?
Let me break it down for you. The Advance Warehouse is designed to hold the freight sometimes months ahead of the show, cutting off normally 3 weeks prior to the Direct To Show shipping date. After the Advance Warehouse cutoff date, listed in small print under the address provided, you will be forced to send direct to show on your exact (aka Target) move in date. The Advance Warehouse will reload all of your freight a day or two prior to your Target move in date and take it to the show site for you. Commonly the material handling charge will be slightly higher for advance shipments due to the extra steps required in loading and unloading. This cost is minimal in comparison to the time saved waiting for your freight to arrive and unload on the day of your move in. This is a cost you can budget and plan ahead for alleviating the unknown. Here is a quick scenario that might help you grasp the cost savings.
Say you send “direct to show” on the time and date you are scheduled for move in. Your truck driver will first have to check into the “marshaling yard” (this is required) and is given a number. You might be truck number 72 out of 400 to be off loaded and then staged to be escorted by forklift to your space. If you have scheduled your labor team for an 8:00am labor call, now most likely your team will not be able to start the build process until 1:45pm, as an example. Therefore, your labor crew is waiting around and enjoying their hourly rate getting zero work done on your build all morning, or until your booth freight arrives to your space. This results in overtime labor costs and an over budget situation that you will have no control over.
Now I will run you through how seamless an advance freight install should go.
Your target move in date and time have arrived. You enter your booth space to find a large empty slab of concrete and 7 shipping crates or skids surrounding the aisles of your space. Perfect! Now your labor crew is ready to work at their 8am start time like you planned and your booth build will finish on time and on budget. Offsetting the slightly higher, but known, material and handling fees you have incurred from the Advance Warehouse.
In closing, shipping to the Advance Warehouse can save you a headache and an overage invoice from the show or your EAC. If for some reason you absolutely cannot make the deadline for the Advance Warehouse, at the very least send your flooring and any hanging signs so your labor team can get started on schedule while you are waiting for your freight.
Casey is a resident trade show expert at Apple Rock, having been on both sides as a customer and an employee. She is small but mighty and knows how to get the job done. When not traveling the world supervising installs for clients she likes to spend her weekends with her family on the lake.