5 Steps to Hire Labor for Installation and Dismantling of Your Exhibit
You can plan every detail of every element of your exhibit, but there will always be those little snafus that still happen. Humans make mistakes, and accidents will happen. Despite meticulous planning, the human element will never be fully removed from the equation of trade show events.
When it comes to installation and dismantling crews, there have been cases of missing blueprints, crews that never show, and crews that show up when there is no delivery to install. Then you have the union laborers such as plumbers, carpet installers, riggers, electricians, carpenters, decorators, and AV techs.
The loopholes for error abound, but you can abate as many as possible by doing some research, communicating with all parties, and planning for a few common issues.
#1 Decide the Type of Labor You Need
There are primarily two types of labor provided at a trade show, GSC (General Show Contractor) and I&D Labor (Installation and Dismantle). I&D labor is typically off-site, third-party labor, and if often, unionized.
The GSC comes part and parcel with the location and offers GC support in addition to booth labor. I&D operations are brought in by clients directly and are usually made up of more highly skilled crews and lead GCs.
Depending on the level of skill needed to assemble your booth and how much time must be dedicated to the task, you may not need to bring in outside help. On-site labor will be less expensive and often doesn’t require a minimum hour count.
#2 Check with The Local Unions
If you decide to go with union labor or are considering it, investigate the local requirements and stipulations by obtaining the services manually. Here you will find detailed information on start time, breaks and durations, clock-out times, safety regulations, laborer numbers, minimum hour requirements, and how much it will cost.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of hours needed as well as overtime so you can properly set a budget. Don’t assume the rules are the same because you’ve used the same event location in the past. Ask around and make sure you have current information.
#3 Keep Open Lines of Communication
Before you request any labor, reverse engineer the entire installation, working from close backward to open. Outline this into detailed steps so you can clearly communicate the timeline and expectations.
Include everything from measurements, freight deliveries, rigging, electrical, audio and visual, internet, installation, carpet, assembly, cleaning, decorating, displays, and plastic sheeting install and takedown.
Prior to any work taking place, send this outline to your GSC or I&D team along with estimated labor hours for installation as well as dismantling, order forms, and all on-site requirements such as power, internet, and lighting. When you show up at the venue, make sure you or your team also have backup copies that can be shared hand-to-hand.
Once you’re on-site, get to know the crews and your lead contact. If something comes up and you need supplies or equipment from an off-site location, you’ll know exactly who to seek out and can let them delegate as needed.
Always keep a positive and professional working relationship. Commend the team for a job well done and show your appreciation for their unique skills. Even if they fall short of your expectations, stay positive and prove to be a good connection for them to have.
#4 Don’t Overextend Your Laborers
Carefully review all paperwork and regulations related to laborer efforts. Anything that falls outside the scope of their projects could result in costly penalties or even contract termination. If you come against any issues, seek out the floor manager to troubleshoot the situation and see what your other options are.
#5 Aim for Repeat Service
If you’ve been around the event circuit for any length of time at all, you know how complex the dismantling process really is. From shipping arrangements and security concerns to repacking displays and taking down the rigging, this is no small task.
Try to recruit the same crew for the takedown as for installation, as they’ll already be familiar with your booth. This will make the process much smoother and potentially faster. Both of which will save your company money in the budget.
When you’re working through installation details with the lead or GC o, make arrangements to secure the same laborers for dismantling. Identify them by name and get confirmation of their arrival, if possible.
Hire Right and Finish Strong
In the end, you’re looking for long-term partnerships and a healthy working environment. Treat laborers like valued members of your team who can do what no one else in the booth can. This will have a positive impact on your installation and dismantling process. You may even have a go-to team for your next event!
Need more help? Contact a member of our team!