The Benefits Of Working With An Exhibitor Appointed Contractor ( EAC )
Let’s first discuss what an EAC is. EAC stands for Exhibitor Appointed Contractor. This is a term General Contractors use for industry suppliers, who meet the proper insurance requirements, that work on the show floor on behalf of the Exhibitor. Typically, those that fit into this category are either an installation and dismantle (I&D) company, or an Exhibit House. EAC’s complete a standard EAC form and provide proof of insurance before they can enter the show floor to perform work.
So why would you want to use an EAC?
Why not simply get your booth and booth services from the General Contractor? The reasons can vary, however, the most common reason is price.
There is a sense that the General Contractor is the most costly, but also the most convenient option. Shopping around will give you a better price or a better service for the same price. Historically, this has been generally true. The General Contractor may have some very good workers just as some EAC’s may have some inexperienced workers, and vice versa. It’s not a given that you will always get better price and service with an EAC. However, it does make sense that you might feel the General Contractors are best suited to manage freight and union workers, while anything else is secondary. Some might feel their workforce is too large, cumbersome, and restricted, and that you’re better off letting them handle your freight while another company handles your exhibit install.
General Contractors are most interested in trade show rental business. Some do also have custom exhibit divisions, but rental fits their business model best. General Contractors are already renting basic flooring and furniture, why wouldn’t they expand that into complete rental solutions?
Rental Exhibits, however, have evolved to become highly customized. Gone are the days of choosing a kit and simply designing graphics to fit that kit. EAC’s have had to differentiate themselves from the General Contractor by working to provide better designs and better service. Today, it can be hard to tell which booths are rental and which are custom purchased. You can thank EAC’s for this evolution.
Modular components are the biggest clue that you may be looking at a rental booth. The truth is that rental booths are mostly modular rental parts, with a portion of customization to meet the client’s needs and wants. A rental companies’ challenge is to master their modular inventory so that it’s highly reconfigurable while also retaining in-house capabilities to customize.
Both General Contractors and Exhibit Houses can build a rental inventory, develop custom capabilities, and hire staff to design, quote and service rental projects.
So again, why work with an EAC?
In short, it comes down to personal service and specialization. Many exhibiting companies today want a long-term relationship with a trade show rental specialist, much like we all want to find a doctor who gets to know us very well and specializes in our areas of concern. Choosing to work with an EAC can give you these benefits:
• Higher level of creative skill and passion
• Personal relationship/friendship
• Deeper commitment to your success
• Experienced liaison to keep General Contractor costs in check
• Consistency, no matter where your next show is
• More accountability when resolving problems
• More forgiveness on client errors
Keep in mind that it is uncommon for an Exhibit House to be a large public company. Most are smaller owner-operators, managing by a tight-knit team. Even the largest Exhibits Houses are tiny compared to Freeman or GES. Choosing to work with an EAC ensures competition in design, service and price.
EAC’s bring a much-needed diversity and spirit of competition to the show floor and can be your strongest ally as your company invests in a trade show experience. In today’s trade shows, you will see jaw dropping exhibit designs on the show floor, and again, many will be jaw dropping rental designs. These rental designs push the General Contractors to deliver more booth for less money. In that market, all exhibitors win.
We are rental specialists; rentals are all we do. Our niche is high impact, budget friendly, custom rental trade show booths. We value how well Freeman, GES, and other General Contractors are able to move-in and move-out today’s trade shows. Dealing with massive amounts of freight, a crazy diversity of electrical and internet needs, and the impressive overhead rigging that gives each show their skyline. We applaud them, and with their specialization and ours together our clients get the best bang for their buck. As we round the corner of the COVID-19 shutdown, we hope the industry as a whole can come away with a greater appreciation for specialization as a way to ensure that each aspect of a live event is the best it can be.