Do you know if your upcoming event requires “trade show labor?”

What is Trade Show Labor?

Trade Show Labor is when the venue requires that you hire their staff to install and dismantle your booth or exhibit at a major trade show. This can also include skilled trade staff or union staff such as electricians.

Trade Show Labor: How To Find Out of it is Required

Step 1. Look in your Trade Show Packet

Step 2. Find out if you can bring additional staff to assist or coordinate with their trade show labor staff,

Step 3. Schedule the venue’s trade show staff ahead of time if possible and arrange for your own staff and supervisor to be at the venue for exhibit installation.

Find Out if Trade Show Labor is Required For Your Next Live Event. Click To Tweet

Additional Information

Trade Show Exhibits have certainly changed over the years. It has gone from what color of fabric do you want on your pop up display to the beautiful works of expert craftsperson’s we see today.

One thing though that has stayed pretty consistent is the requirement that exhibitors use show labor to install and dismantle their booths in most major venues. For some people, this is just an added unnecessary cost that cannot be avoided. Others have adjusted to the fact they can’t change it so they have found ways to make it work for them.

There are companies that specialize in trade show labor if you are not required to use the people provided by the show or convention center. We can help you determine you labor requirements, the skills they will need, and any specialized expertise required.

Read what the show packet has to say about labor. If show labor is required, it is usually much less expensive to order it ahead of time than it is to order at the show.

Trade Show Labor Tip: It is usually much less expensive to order it ahead of time #tradeshows Click To Tweet


Trade Show Labor: Shipping and Moving Your Display (Drayage)


First off, what is Drayage?

Drayage is defined as the transport of goods over a short distance in the shipping industry and logistics industry. (source: Wikipedia)

When it comes to Trade Shows, this Drayage is the movement of the materials and components to set up your booth. Often you will need to use show labor to move these items to your space on the exhibition floor. Also transporting these items from advanced storage is also usually done with show labor.

You should make sure that you understand from the show packet what types of dollies or other carrying equipment are allowed.  Most conventions or show will not allow 4 wheel dollies, but many will allow 2 wheel ones. There also may be a limit on the number of times you can go back and forth to your booth space. Make sure that you know these requirements in advance and have a plan for everything you need at your booth and not just the exhibit itself.

Trade Show Labor and the Advance Warehouse

The Advance Warehouse can be used to store your booth before your show labor is used to move it to the venue for setup.

Booth and Exhibit Transport and Storage

Most large shows will have a space to store product and booth components in advance of the show.  This is called the Advance Warehouse. It is short-term storage you can use to ship your booth materials,  components, and products in advance of the show to ensure that everything you will need has arrived in time to be transported. You will be notified when things arrive so that you can ensure your exhibit is ready to be set up.

Another great use for the Advance Warehouse is when it is cheaper to ship your booth to the venue using freight or cargo shipping versus paying to pack them into the plane or renting large vehicles to transport the show booth with your trade show personnel or your own show labor.


Not All Show Labor is Created Equal

Trade Show Booth Labor

Find out if you need Trade Show Labor at your next Trade Show or Live Event.

Keep in mind that not all show labor is equal. Some have been putting exhibits up and down for years and others have been doing it for days. The early orders usually get the more experienced workers.

Many private companies are members of the local union and qualify to meet the show labor requirement. Employees of these companies are usually experienced and used to working with different types of displays. As an exhibit company, we work with several of these companies around the country and world. Though the cost per hour of these companies is generally the same as show labor, their experience and expertise should help you to save some money.

We frequently send our own personnel to shows even when there is a show labor requirement. If we are not allowed to help with the install, our employee will, because of familiarity, supervise the crew. We ensure things are done properly and in the correct order. Each show venue is different. Check if they allow a supervisor or other staff to assist or direct them.

There is no reason to fear show labor requirements. If you plan properly and work with your PacWest consultant, you will get the results you expect.