It’s weird to think about it, especially since there is so much that goes in to making a successful event, but the time when your display is being installed may be the most important. In fact, it’s not hyperbole to state that installation-and-dismantle (I&D) can make or break your entire show.
The reason? No matter how much planning you put in place beforehand, I&D is almost entirely in the hands of workers you don’t know and who don’t know your plans or what they mean.
Really, your best bet is to stay on top of I&D to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.
Get to the Show Early
Head to your show a day early to get a look at the show floor and checkout the plans for under-carpet services, such as electrical and internet. No matter how well you prepare your documentation, crews have been known to make mistakes, such as incorrectly marking booth space (i.e., a 20-by-40-foot booth space being marked as a 20-by-30-foot space) or no markings fro your utilities because the orders were misplaced.
Arriving early allows you to take care of all potential disasters, big and small. If you can, try to solve these types of problems before the labor crew arrives, does the work incorrectly, and then has to redo it all again, which costs you big bucks.
Know Your Labor
There are two different types of union labor you can use to set up your exhibit. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
General Contractor (GC) Labor
GC labor is hired by show management to provide setup labor for exhibitors as well as for the show itself. The amount of work given to most GC varies throughout the year, meaning that many of its laborers are hired on a part-time basis.
This can be positive in that labor costs roughly five to 10 percent less than EAC, which you’ll learn about more below. In addition, labor is arranged directly through show management. This means they can make equipment, like forklifts, and personnel available as soon as you need it.
On the other hand, the typical laborer tends to be less skilled – not unskilled – but less skilled than EAC laborers. In addition, the GC stretches its labor pool across the entire show floor and beyond, which means that the team that worked on your booth may have several other jobs to attend to across the exhibit hall. It can be difficult to track them down should you need to once they’ve left.
Exhibitor-Appointed Contractor (EAC) Labor
An EAC is any company other than the GC that can be used for I&D. EACs typically have regular customers. Constant work means they hire many full-time workers, and full-time work tends to attract higher-skilled laborers. So, you’re more likely to work with experienced laborers through an EAC.
In addition, your EAC will typically provide you with a team supervisor and the ability to contact this person at anytime. If contracted through your design house, it is much more likely that your team will be familiar with your type of exhibit, if not your specific exhibit.
On the other hand, as they say, you get what you pay for. Using an EAC may cost you five to 10 percent more than the GC.
Avoiding Overtime and Double Time
Your union labor has many clauses that may turn straight time into overtime or double time. Make sure you stay informed of everything that could impact your invoice. Also, most labor contractors only guarantee a start time if you order an 8:00 a.m. start. Anything after the union’s lunch hour is considered a “will call” order, which means you’ll have to wait until they finally show up at your booth.
Planning is Essential
There are ways you can minimize labor hours by working with your design house. Your design house can help you identify areas that are labor intensive when on-site and offer alternatives. To see how The Trade Group can help you minimize I&D time as well as how our skilled workers can help you on site give us a call at 800-343-2005.