5 Reasons to use professional Install/Dismantle Firms

David Holladay, with our good friends at ExpoDisplays, recently published a blog entitled 5 Reasons to use professional Install/Dismantle Firms. We thought it was such good advice that it was certainly worth sharing, as is, with you. To read the post by David, continue reading below as we’ve copied it for you.

5 Reasons to use professional Install/Dismantle Firms
by David Holladay and ExpoDisplays

Over the years I’ve watched exhibitors spend lots of time, energy and effort trying to save money on display I&D (install/dismantle) labor. Maybe we hate paying someone else to do something that we can do? Maybe it is because labor rates are so high ($150/hour in New York for example)?  Whatever the reason, exhibitors go to great lengths to minimize labor costs. But is it worth it? Or is it wiser to use professionals for the job. By “professionals,” I don’t mean ordering “two workers” from the show’s general labor pool to handle your  I&D. They may do a fine job, but here I’m referring to professional I&D firms that specialize in trade show display I&D.

Before I get into the reasons to use I&D firms, let’s cover the ONLY reason not to use them, and that’s to try and save money. The only potential benefit to your employees installing the display is that it may cost you less. Keep that in mind as I cover some reasons I believe you SHOULD consider using professional I&D firms.


  1. They will do a better and faster job. You probably do a better job of what you do in your daily work than the professional installer could do. But the reverse is also true. He/she will outperform you when installing displays.  For every display you have set up, the average I&D guy has probably installed 200. Who is better at setting up displays? Your sales reps? Your marketing assistant? Your VP of sales? Or a guy that sets 200 up each year?


  1. They solve problems better and faster. As an exhibitor you know that Murphy’s Law applies at trade shows. Anything bad that can happen will happen. And someone that does this for a living has seen it all. He knows how to solve problems and save the day. He has likely seen that exact same thing happen dozens of times with dozens of different clients. He has a better chance of solving problems than you and I do. Also note that if you need power tools, ladders or any other equipment, the I&D firms will have them.


  1. They work to earn and keep your business. Unlike someone you hire from the show’s general labor pool, professional I&D firms are in it for the long haul and only survive with repeat business. If they don’t do a great job for you in Las Vegas, then you won’t use them in Orlando. What does that mean to you? It means they will work harder, faster and generally do a better job for you. And that “faster” part is key—the faster they work the less you will pay. You can actually save money by using a professional I&D company over the general show labor, even though the hourly rates are more expensive.


  1. They are not as expensive as you think. Just because your employees set up your display doesn’t mean it was free.  Let’s assume a show in Las Vegas with a 10’ x 20’ display that takes 8 man hours to install and 8 to dismantle, both on straight time. That’s 16 man hours and with the I&D firm at $88/hour your cost is $1,408. Now if you use two $40,000/year employees and assuming they can set it up in 16 hours (doubtful) that’s $307. You have to send them out a day early (install) and keep them a day late (dismantle) so that’s four extra hotel nights at around $700. Taxis back and forth both days will probably run $100. And with per diem or meals you’re in for another $300. Add those up and you’ve spent $1,407. So there you have it—you have “saved” $1. Don’t take my word for it, run the numbers yourself on your next show and see what you find. And don’t forget that your labor is not as good as theirs (see 1, 2, and 3 above). Even if the I&D firm is twice as expensive they still may be worth it.


  1. You have better things to do. I don’t know what you do at your company but I’ll bet it is not install and dismantle of displays. So why would you or your employees do it? If you’re installing a display then you’re not doing whatever it is you do best to grow your company. Same for shipping—you don’t drive the display to the show—you hire someone to do it for you. Employee resources are scarce. My advice is for you and your employees to do what you do best and hire others to handle I&D.


Thanks for the great post, David! All of David’s above points are valid, and hiring professional I&D firms is a real conversation we have with a lot of our clients at GraphiColor. Let us know if you have questions regarding your next show and I&D needs, and we’d be happy to assist you or help you hire the right I&D.

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