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Spooky Drayage

If receiving your drayage bill continues to be a haunting experience, it may just be time to break loose and retire that old heavyweight trade show exhibit.

Exhibitors pay to have trade show contractors haul their exhibit materials from the loading dock to their booth space and then back after the show. That price also includes removing empty crates before the show and returning them afterward. This is called “drayage” and it’s expensive. This is a frightening trade show fact.

How do you figure drayage costs?
On average drayage charges can be from $65 – $85 CWT. This varies from show to show.

Drayage is charged by the hundredweight (CWT). If your drayage rate is $65/CWT: find out the weight of your crated exhibit, then divide by 100 pounds, and multiply by 65. 2,000 lbs ÷ 100 x 65 = $3,250.00

Tips to Save:

  • Drayage rates to the show site are slightly less than drayage to the advance warehouse
  • Drayage on common carrier shipments is slightly less than drayage via specialized carrier (van line, company truck)
  • You pay less drayage on crated versus pad-wrapped shipments
  • Beware of after hours and weekend drayage surcharges (up to 35%)
  • Beware of the minimum drayage weight rate (often 200 pounds); think twice about extra shipments
  • Before leaving any show, match your drayage cost estimates and agreements (get them in writing) against actual bill

How do you cut drayage costs?

When buying or renting an exhibit, it is wise to keep drayage in mind. Can you imagine paying $6,500.00 every time you need a five-ton exhibit hauled into a show hall? The good news is today’s Custom Modular Exhibits are much lighter than the traditional hard-wall custom exhibits of the past. In addition, this year’s breakthrough product, WindScape™ Exhibit System, incorporates air technology and packs the lightest of all.

The treat of a great exhibit is that it provides your company with all of the WOW and is light on your operating expenses. That’s not a trick, it’s just wise planning.

About the Author

Linda-Marie Martinez was an Exhibiting Consultant from Skyline Orange County.

4 responses to “Spooky Drayage

  1. I have been in the industry for years and still wonder why they bill by weight. They use the same piece of equipment to bring 550 lbs or a ton to my booth, so why does it cost more?

  2. Lynne — For anyone who understands the general services contractors’ business model, I think this is a rhetorical question. Follow the trail of the money and material handling is the biggest moneymaker at any show.

    And if the show manager wants a “zero invoice” at the end of the show, just watch the material handling rates skyrocket accordingly, again, passing the costs of all the services provided by the general contractor for the show manager at no cost (i.e. hanging aisle signs, aisle carpet and labor to lay it, reg. counters, entrance units, masking drape, trash pick-up, etc.) on to the exhibitor at the bottom of the food chain.

  3. Congratulations to Mark Nelson of Microscopy Innovations, the winner of the Spooky Drayage blog contest.

    This Halloween theme blog had a Trick buried within and Mark found it. He has a great eye! It must be from reviewing after show billing.

    The correct answer:
    2,000 lbs ÷ 100 x 65 = $1,300.00

    Way to go Mark!

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