Exhibitor Tips – Rigging Tips

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Cost saving tips – Rigging Services

Rigging involves the hanging of various structures above your booth. These structures range from the average sign to theatrical trusses, from which lights can be mounted and signs can be hung. You will often see those larger structures in larger custom island exhibits. But, for most exhibitors, rigging consists of suspending a tension fabric structure from the exhibit hall ceiling above their booth. Here are the factors to know about:

Material handling (Drayage) does not include shipping and trucking; those are completely separate costs. At first glance, the cost seems steep, but when you consider all the handling involved in critical compressed periods of time, it makes more sense. Material Handling Costs vary from show to show, depending on considerations and requirements raised in negotiations. In general, we see the Material costs around $50 for every one hundred pounds. So if your display weighs 1000 lbs, that’s 10 one hundreds times $50 each, giving you a total drayage fee of$500.

Material handling (Drayage) includes:

  • Riggers work overhead, using cat walks near the roof structure or Condor lifts from the aisle.
  • Rules require riggers to assemble the signs they hang, to verify safety
  • Shows often require hanging signs to arrive earlier and separately
  • Some signs require multiple hang points
  • Some signs require an additional filament line to hold its position

Hanging Signs are hugely popular. Any booth can hang a sign, but investing in a larger island booth space gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the overhead real estate. Most shows have rigging crews who systematically build and hang the signs above the show floor. They use lift equipment and cat walks along the roof to position the mounts and hang points. You order the rigging service using the rigging form in your Exhibitor Services Manual. Pay attention to special requirements because many shows require the hanging sign to be shipped early using special rigging labels.

Tip: For insurance reasons, the riggers will insist on assembling your sign so they can verify that it is a safe overhead structure that can be safely hung above your trade show display. It’s a good idea to plan where and when they will assemble the sign, especially if it is in or near your booth space; sometimes getting the sign assembled and off the ground will stall your labor crew from working on the ground portion of your trade show display.

At Exhibit People we stage the setup so the floor is fairly clear when the sign needs to be installed. If you know space will be tight, then plan ahead and bring painters plastic from Home Depot to have a clean surface to assemble the sign. If you’re lucky, there will be other booths or open carpeted spaces near your booth that can be used. As far as cost goes, it’s best to email exhibit drawings and get a detailed rigging quote from Exhibitor Services in the event office so you have no surprises in labor or materials.

Glove Tip: Finger prints are common on light colored fabric of your tension fabric structure. Oils from the hands pick up dirt and grease from the frame assembly making it easy to smudge dirt off on the fabric when installing the fabric skin. White cotton gloves are cheap at any home improvement store and well worth a few bucks to protect the appearance of your hanging sign.

Rental Tip: You can save money by renting the tension fabric structure frame and only buying the printed cover. Once you buy the printed cover you can reuse it show after show, renting only the frame. This is nice since the printed cover is light and compact and easy to store until you need it again.

Tip: Display Lighting, theatrical lighting, and theatrical trusses can be rented. Sign frames can be rented as well, depending on their shape. The printed cover must be purchased, but it is yours to use as often as you like.

Tip: Depending on the venue, different methods may be used to hang your sign. Sometimes motors are involved to raise an assembled sign from the ground level. Most trade show facilities have options for mounting to their roofing structure. In better designed facilities, there are many hang points accessible via cat walks near the roof. However, in some facilities like Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, most hang points require new holes in the ceiling material, and this can affect the rigging costs to you.

Terms Tip: ‘Trade Show Exhibits’ and ‘Exhibition Stands’ are the same as ‘Trade Show Booths’ and ‘Trade Show Displays.’ At one time, “Displays” were portable and “Exhibits” were custom, but there is no longer a distinction between the two terms. Outside of the US, ‘Exhibition Stands’ is the term most commonly used. ‘Portable,’ ‘Modular,’ ‘Hybrid,’ and ‘Custom’ are also common industry terms. These terms, like ‘displays’ and ‘exhibits,’ have lost their distinction, and many booths can be classified in one or more of those categories. For example, some portable displays are modular and custom as well. Most Exhibit Companies offer portable, modular and custom displays and exhibits.

Overall advancements on large format graphics and tube structures have greatly improved trade show displays and exhibit design in general. We feel a big overhead presence can be one of the most important aspects of the effectiveness of your trade show display.

The show offers cost-saving options like ceiling-mounted halogen lights, so truss and theatrical lighting may not be necessary for many exhibit designs. Talk with one of our rental consultants and we can help you make the best choice for your overhead trade show sign. You can reach us at 888-323-2830.