6 Essential Questions You Need to Ask Your Exhibition Contractor

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Written by Austin Rowlands for eventindustrynews.com a content writer at Quadrant2Design, with extensive experience in the exhibition industry. He writes exhibiting guides for Quadrant2Design – to help businesses with their exhibition needs.  In addition to this, he writes press releases to promote exhibition events, as well as exhibiting feature articles for various industries.

Once you have taken the decision to exhibit, and have selected the best event to showcase your brand, you need to find the best exhibition company to design and build your stand. But choosing the right exhibition stand company for your upcoming show is never an easy decision for any business to make. The truth is finding the perfect exhibition stand solution for your business can be quite a complicated affair.

With exhibition companies offering so many different options and deals for businesses it can be a bit of a minefield trying to work out which one is suitable for your needs and requirements.

Your exhibition stand is, by far, the most important thing for your business to consider when exhibiting. It is the key factor that will determine the level of success you achieve with your show. Pick the wrong one and it could spell disaster for your chances of getting a good ROI.

To ensure you use an exhibition company that will guarantee your show is a huge success, here are the 6 vital questions you need to ask:

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  • Will You Outsource Any of My Exhibition Stand Services?

This is one of the most important questions to ask before you pick your exhibition stand contractor. The last thing you want is to pin all your hopes, and exhibition budget, on a company that will end up subcontracting services to do with your stand to people you know absolutely nothing about.

Even though it might not be apparent when reading through their website, it is very common for many exhibition companies to use third parties for your stand’s graphic design and printing, as well as the manufacture of your stand’s structure. As you have no control over this or even any idea about the people who have been hired for these very important tasks it means you have no idea how good or reliable they will be. How can you be sure they are up-to-the job?

Other things that tend to get subbed out by exhibition companies are services such as the stand transportation and installation etc. Often this can prove more expensive for you as they will probably put a mark-up on the hire prices but it also incredibly risky. How do you know they will deliver on time?

It is important you know exactly who is accountable for each area of your exhibition project, which is why we strongly advise against using any company that will outsource any of your exhibition services.  

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, ask any potential contractor if the key functions such as CAD and graphic design, graphics production, stand manufacture, project management, transportation, and installations are all done by their own team. If they have to answer “no” then it means they are not in full control of your exhibition stand project. If they are not in control then you won’t be in control and will be reliant on the competence of the people they have subcontracted.  

Of course, there will always be certain stand elements such as electrics and internet that will be provided by single show appointed suppliers. And if you require furniture or AV devices then it is best to source these directly from a specialist. Any good exhibition contractor should be able to advise you on the best companies to use for these services.

Many exhibition companies take risks with your money by farming out the essential aspects of your exhibition to strangers. At Quadrant2Design every service to do with your exhibition stand is done in-house.

  • Can I See Your Credit Report?

No-one takes on an exhibition project expecting to be unable to see the job through. But unless you do your research on the financial strength of the exhibition contractor you are considering then you are leaving yourself open to significant risk.

As in many industries in this current climate, there are a large number of exhibition suppliers who are struggling financially. What is more, due to the intensive nature of the work and the materials involved you will likely have to pay your exhibition company their fees upfront. And as the most reputable companies do this as well as the less reputable, it is vital you properly check out any contractor you are considering to use for your exhibition.

But sadly businesses who use exhibition contractors who are in dire financial trouble are often the last to hear about it until it is too late. When this happens you won’t just be without your money, but you’ll also be without your exhibition stand.

When you exhibit it will require a significant amount of investment on your part, and much of your budget will go on your stand. This is why it is imperative you have 100% confidence in your exhibition contractor’s financial position.

In many cases, you might be able to conduct your own investigation into your contractor’s financial strength. But if this is not possible then it is by no means an unreasonable request to ask them to supply a “credit safe” report. Given the amount at stake for your business, it would be a massive risk if you used a company that couldn’t provide this vital information.

  • Can You Prove My Stand is Truly Reusable?

As many exhibition companies only offer “one-off” custom build stands, made from unstainable MDF / timber / acrylic and vinyl materials, the exhibition world is often an industry where the use of wasteful and disposable stands is very common.

But the cost of a single-use exhibition stand isn’t just bad for the environment, it is also incredibly expensive if you’re planning on doing repeat exhibitions. The chances are your upcoming exhibition is unlikely to just be a “one-off”. As your business develops and you have new products or services to promote, you’ll be intending to exhibit time and time again.

Too many businesses forget to take the bigger picture into account when selecting their exhibition contractor. They either choose an expensive “one-off” custom build stand which will simply get tossed into the nearest skip after their show, or they get misled into opting for a cheap modular stand that won’t be suitable for repeat exhibitions.

The fact is if you have to fork out for a new exhibition stand and graphics for each event, your costs will not only skyrocket you’ll fail to get a good ROI in the long run. This is why you need to think long term and use a stand that will have a longer lifespan than just one exhibition event – while ensuring it is one that will create the right impact you need for each show. 

It is important to tread carefully here. Many companies might make the claim that their stands are “reusable” but this will only be true if you have exactly the same space at different shows – and the chances of this happening are very small indeed.

If an exhibition stand can’t be reconfigured and reused in a different space, without extra cost to you, then they are NOT reusable.

Quadrant2Design are different. As their exclusive high-quality Prestige stands are made from flexible aluminium frames, they can be reconfigured for different spaces at different events. And as you can use the same stand and graphics across your exhibition show calendar, it means you could save up to 70% on repeat exhibiting.

  • Can You Provide Reputable Client Testimonials?

Any good exhibition company should be able to provide you with genuine testimonials from previous clients who are happy to endorse them. Reading reviews from past customers is, by far, one of the best ways to judge the level of service a company can offer, as well as the quality of their exhibitions stands.

But again, this is an area where you need to be very cautious. As in any industry, it is common for many exhibition companies to contrive and edit their customer reviews, or only publish the few positive ones. Although this might make them seem appealing at first glance, it gives you no sense of the quality of service you can expect from them.

If they only have a small number of positive reviews, despite being in business for a long time, then this is a red flag. If all of their client reviews seem to be just a bit too perfect, then the chances are they are most probably fake.

If you have any doubts about a company’s own published testimonials, then you should look them up on Trustpilot. As this is an open platform where customers can submit their reviews about a company, without their words being edited or prohibited, you can be confident it is a reliable source of customer feedback.

Quadrant2Design not only have a 5 star Trustpilot rating but they publish all of their client testimonials word-for-word as they come in. this means they are 100% real and unedited. They have collected thousands of reviews over the 20 years they have been in business. To read their most recent 700 client reviews click here.

  • Will You 100% Pre-build My Exhibition Stand?

Walk around any exhibition and you will see many stands that have faults with them, such as missing panels, badly aligned graphics, faulty lights, etc. This not only looks deeply unprofessional but can be damaging for the exhibitor’s brand. After all, if a company doesn’t care about the state of their exhibition stand, how can they expect customers to put their trust in them?

The fact is most of these faults could have been avoided if the business had used an exhibition company that had a 100% pre-build policy. But sadly the vast majority of exhibition contractors don’t and will only build your stand for the very first time at your show. This isn’t necessarily because they don’t want to pre-build your stand, but more that they either don’t have the space to do so or the way their stands are assembled makes pre-building practically impossible.

This means if anything that goes wrong with your stand, and without any quality control checks there’s a good chance it will, you will only discover this at the exhibition venue itself. And as they won’t have the time or resources to fix the problem at this stage, it means you’ll end up having to exhibit with a shoddy stand that reflects badly on your business.

Quadrant2Design are the only exhibition company who guarantee a 100% pre-build your stand in every detail at their design studio and factory weeks before it goes out to your event. This means any potential issues are fully resolved and in perfect order before the stand installation at your show.

  • Are Your Exhibition Stands Exclusive?

Most businesses looking to exhibit are unaware that most exhibition stand contractors are nothing more than “resellers” of a number of generic exhibition stand systems. This means they are not a serious or focused exhibition stand company and will lack the expertise of a specialist provider. 

Quadrant2Design work with one solution that is exclusive to them, the world’s premier exhibition stand solution: Prestige Event System.

And because they work with one tried and tested system, all of their processes and quality control procedures are focused on one area of expertise, rather than being diluted by trying to market a wide range of miscellaneous low-grade display items.

But apart from giving exhibitors an edge over their competitors in terms of style, this structure allows you the ability to incorporate a whole range of unique exhibition stand ideas and features that simply wouldn’t be possible with a more generic exhibition stand system.

Exhibiting successfully will require a significant amount of time and investment, which is why it is vital you make sure you choose an exhibition company you can trust with your stand project.

If you ask potential exhibition contractors these 6 questions before signing on the dotted line, you will quickly be able to determine which one is right for your business.