Of all the planning involved in arranging a display at a conference or exhibition, how to get the stand to the venue is often left until late in the day. Usually, this is because people think they can do it themselves.
And for the simplest of events, this can be an option.
If all you need is a metre-wide roll up stand, you could sling that over your shoulder and get to the venue by public transport.
But if you’ve got anything more than that – a box of brochures or your laptop for example – you’ll need dedicated transport. Which is when you might think about throwing it all in the back of the car or renting a van.
Once again, this is an option for smaller displays and offers some tangible benefits:
The Pros of DIY event logistics
- Everything is under your control – You have all your materials with you at all times. As long as you make it to the venue you can be pretty sure your display stand will too.
- It can be cheaper – If you’re using your own vehicle and the venue provides free parking you should be in a good position to keep.
- It can mean less paperwork – You don’t have to worry about filling in a form of your requirements that a specialist company needs to give you an accurate quote and comprehensive insurance.
- Your colleagues might be impressed – If you want a reputation as someone who can turn their hand to anything and will do anything to help out, driving box loads of materials across the country might help you get it.
However, we believe the downsides of trying to do event logistics yourself are considerably greater.
The Cons of DIY event logistics
- Cost – It’s often more expensive than you think to hire a van.
The likelihood is you’ll need to pick up or accept delivery of your rental van the night before your event and drop it off the morning after. Hiring a van just for ‘one day’ can easily exceed £150+VAT before you look at fuel, deposits and any potential damage.
- Stress – Do you really need the hassle?
Apart from needing to collect and drop off the van before and after the event, and the loading and unloading the materials, you also have to face the hassle of early morning traffic. Any delay means you may face the ignominy of having to set up your stand after the event has started.
- Time – Don’t you have something better to do?
DIY deliveries are time-consuming and can distract you from more value adding activity. As a marketing or event professional, it’s worth asking yourself whether your time is better-spent loading boxes into a van or putting some extra time into your pitch?
- Insurance – What if it all goes wrong?
If you’re hiring a van you might find liability insurance is included in the fee, but what about damage to your stand or materials? Or to the rental vehicle itself? If you’re using your own vehicle you’ll need to check that business use is covered in your personal insurance.
- Access and parking – Hidden costs of DIY event logistics
Event logistics specialists will often have ongoing relationships with venues that provide preferential access to delivery areas at peak times. Those doing it on their own often find themselves parked on double yellows, hazard warning lights flashing as they rush to carry their equipment in through the main entrance. Add to that the difficulty and the cost of finding parking near larger venues and it’s a pain you can do without.
- The physical challenge – It’s a sweaty job!
Transporting and building stands under a time pressure is a job that gets people hot and bothered. If you plan to do it yourself we strongly suggest taking a change of clothes with you and asking the organisers if there are shower facilities on site. Not only will you have the perspiration to contend with, it’s almost inevitable you’ll get scuff marks on your shirt or blouse no matter how careful you are. After all that, it’s unlikely you’ll look or feel your best as you greet potential clients.
In an increasingly litigious business environment, employers might also want to consider the potential for injury and corporate liability if they ask untrained staff to carry heavy equipment and put up displays as a cost saving measure.
Although event logistics may seem simple enough, we respectfully suggest you leave it to an organisation like Bill Bowden Event Logistics and focus your time on doing what you do best.