Skip to main content

Trade show overtime costs can put a serious wrench in your annual trade show budget. You spent all that time designing the perfect booth that is both attractive and low-cost, only to get hit with a bill for overtime from your contractor once the show is over. At Evo Exhibits, we understand the importance of sticking to your budget, and we can help you navigate this tricky part of the process!

Here are our top 10 ways to avoid trade show overtime costs:

1. Supervise the Installation and Dismantle

If you want to make sure your contractor gets the job done quickly and efficiently without dipping into overtime, you’d be wise to stick around the area to supervise the building process. Not only does the presence of the client get the team moving at top speed, but you can also aid the process by relaying questions to the show management about the space or any other concerns the builders might have. This will ensure that your booth gets up quickly and efficiently.

2. Take Advantage of Management Services

You might think that you know better when it comes to getting the best deal in town on I&D services, but chances are your exhibit company will have stronger connections in that industry – they might even offer their own I&D services like we do at Evo! Be sure to express to your exhibit company that you’re on a tight budget but would still like to utilize their management services. Prevent overtime costs by getting advice and recommendations from your exhibit company; they often know the best in the business and will be able to hire a crew that has experience with your specific brand of exhibit.

3. Go for Ease and Simplicity

If your main concern this year is to keep your trade show overtime costs low, then don’t go nuts with your booth design. When you’re in the initial phases of the design process, keep in mind that this booth needs to be set up quickly, so try not to go crazy with intricate details and complicated, artistic motifs. Pick a design / booth structure that lends itself to easy installation and dismantle. The less detailed your booth is, the quicker it’ll be up and the least likely you’ll get stuck having to pay the builders overtime.

4. Get There Early

If you have the option to be the first in line to set up, take it. Signing up for the first spot in the day means that your crew will have optimal time to finish up the job and there will be no chance that they’ll have to wait around for another build that’s taking way too long. It always pays to be ready to go early!

5. Get a Second Opinion

If this is your first trade show, it can be difficult to estimate how long it will take to build your booth. Your exhibit company will be able to give you an idea, but nothing will be more accurate than accounts straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s always a good idea to ask around and see how long it usually takes other companies to build their booths. If you find yourself in the presence of other entrepreneurs, take advantage of the situation and casually ask how long it usually takes for their booths to go up.

6. Come Prepared

There’s a lot you can “pre-build” to make sure everything runs smoothly. Before the build, review the set-up instructions with your exhibit company representative and have them walk you through it step-by-step. If you’ll be supervising the build, you should understand the process just as thoroughly as your contractor. On the day of the build, everyone should have a clear idea of what needs to happen. If you can make sure you understand the process, you’ll be able to guide your team quickly to the finish line.

7. Familiarize Yourself with the Area

Get a copy of the trade show floor plan and anticipate any obstacles, either overhead or floor level, that might be a problem during the build. Things like poles, fire extinguishers, and internet network pods can unexpectedly throw off the building process. Evo Exhibits takes all of these obstructions into account when planning and designing your booth, making sure there’s absolutely nothing that may be an issue.

8. Play By the Rules

If you’re handling it yourself, make sure you submit your exhibit plans to the trade show management well before the show. There are certain height restrictions that most trade shows enforce that will have an effect on whether or not your exhibit is fire-safe. Most trade shows also have rules regarding line-of-sight and hanging signs. You want to make sure you’re well within their guidelines, otherwise you’ll get stuck having to change your exhibit on-site and will no doubt get hit with unexpected trade show overtime costs as a result.

9. Give Your I&D Team a Heads Up

Send your contractor a list of all the tools you anticipate they’ll be needing to build the booth. You can get this information from your exhibit company when they walk you through the instructions. Making sure your crew knows which tools they’ll need to build your exhibit will prevent any time getting wasted, running around, borrowing tools or worst, taking a trip in the truck to pick up something they didn’t know they needed. Evo Exhibits relays all of this important information to their installation and dismantle team during a pre-show meeting.

10. Ask for Line-item Invoices

Occasionally, companies can accidentally be charged for items that they provided themselves such as plastic sheeting or protective carpet. Make sure that you aren’t being charged for random supplies and that the overtime that is charged is accurate to what actually happened. If you’re supervising, this shouldn’t be an issue.


Trade show overtime costs can be tricky to navigate, so we always suggest partnering with an experienced and professional trade show partner. At Evo Exhibits, we believe in engaging our clients every step of the way, from pre-show Discovery to post-show Connections. Contact us today to make your next trade show experience unforgettable!




Contact Us

Lets make something awesome together.

Phone: 630-520-0710