5 Tips to Reduce Drayage Costs | Condit
07.24.2012

5 Tips to Reduce Drayage Costs

You plan and budget for your big trade show. You are within budget and during the post show wrap up you receive your post show invoice and fall off your chair as the drayage cost was a big shock.

What is drayage?
The Definition of Drayage (AKA Material Handling) by the show contractor Freeman, is the unloading of exhibit properties, storing up to 30 days in advance of the show at a warehouse, delivering properties to the booth, the handling of empties to and from the show, and removing of material from the booth for reloading onto outbound carriers.

How should you control drayage costs?

1. Know your target dates to avoid overtime charges.
Warehouses accept freight between certain hours. These normal hours can be 6:30 to 2:30 and anything after 2:30 can be considered overtime. Additionally each trade show has arrival dates that accept freight at the warehouse. If you miss these dates you can be charged an additional 25%.  Consider shipping items direct to show site or if they are small ship the items to your hotel and hand carry them to your booth.

2. Know your material handling rates.
Determine if your drayage is included in the purchase of your booth space. Many times you must ship direct to the show site if drayage is included. It can be more cost effective to ship to the warehouse. Check your show kit and compare the various rates.  Also, check on any special handling fees. FedEx and UPS shipments can be assessed special handling fees alone with oversized equipment. Understanding these special handling fees will help you build your trade show marketing budget.

3. Understand the minimum drayage amount.
You should consolidate shipments to be at a minimum of 200 lbs. Again, check your show kit to determine what the minimum weight is for your event.  Consolidated items will be based on total weight and not individual charges which will add up quickly.

4. Scheduled move in and move out dates.
Each trade show has scheduled move in and move out dates.  Work with your install and dismantle team to schedule to have your exhibit set up on a non-overtime day and time. Check your service kit as the event may not be charging overtime rates for weekend move in or move out. The show move in may indicate Sunday and Monday with the show opening on Tuesday. If you can move in on normal time on Monday and have enough time to set up your booth, you can save the Sunday overtime charges.  Work with your transportation company to deliver and pick up your exhibit within the best times to save you money.

5. Have a pre-show meeting one month before the event.
Do your company team mates understand the high cost of drayage and shipping?  Can you avoid the multiple FedEx and UPS overnight packages going to show site? Can you crate or palletize those loose items to ship within the minimum drayage amount?  Having a pre-show meeting well before the event date and having a key point of contact can help you stay within budget.

Use these tips to help you avoid the post show drayage sticker shock.

Please contact Condit if you have any questions about how to save more money on your next drayage invoice.