Rolling the dice on the show floor

Do you like to play at any game of chance for money? Are you willing to risk money on the outcome of something involving luck like gambling on a toss of the dice? Are you a risk taker? Chances are that after reading these last few questions you are not a hard-core gambler. If you are stop reading – because the word estimates and all its connotations do not bother you one bit, you are a gambler.

Reviewing two sales orders from two separate exhibit companies can be a quick lesson in gambling. If on any line the word estimate, approximate, guesstimate, ballpark figure, or total with post show bill to follow appears and you sign for that exhibit you are a gambler.

Comparing Apples to Apples

If any of the following words or phrases appear on your sales order and you have no idea of your final costs, then you are a gambler. Is it your money or department budget you are using to take a gamble?

  • “Prices are estimates only.”
  • “Pricing based on timeline.”
  • “Pricing does not include furniture, flooring, central kitchen, additional lighting fixtures.”
  • “Pricing includes completion of all forms + 17% or 20% or 25% and your credit card information.”
  • “Shipping will range from $1,000 to $25,000. based on 2 semi trucks,actual cost will be invoiced.”
  • “All Travel/Hotel/Flight Fees – estimate only. To be charged on client card.”
  • “Install and Dismantle – estimated at straight time (which never happens) $3500.”
  • “Install and Dismantle – estimate $37,500 – $65,000 – invoiced at end of show.”

Additional Costs – a new term for charging you more

  • “Project Management Fee – managing creation of your exhibit every step of the way from concept to design to installation.” $7500 – $15,000
  • “On-site booth supervision only $750 per day.”
  • “Design and Production Cads.” $4500 ex. – take the free provided design and move to engineered drawings
  • “Current pricing range does not include: A/V equipment, Show Services, Taxes, Graphics, ETC.”

That’s it – take out your two or three exhibit house documents, lay them next to each other, and really comb through them to be certain that your bottom line is truly the final price with no post show billing or invoice to follow. Gambling after show hours in the casino can be good, clean, fun; not so much so on the trade show floor.

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