Rising labor prices introduce new challenge to sustainable tradeshow booth design August 12 2017

As part of Boothster's commitment to providing our clients with environmentally and financially sustainable tradeshow booth designs, it is important to be aware of how local labor prices and regulations can significantly increase the overall cost of tradeshow booth and display construction. Boothster frequently works with local labor unions and convention center management in various municipalities and have noticed several recent changes to labor pricing and imposed regulations. 


labor costs and sustainable tradeshow booth construction

First, union labor pricing is going up. Second, many municipalities are getting more strict with construction and tradeshow set up regulations. We recently had one situation where a convention center "forced" local union labor on us. Not only did this increase costs but it disrupted our normal tradeshow booth setup process by requiring our normal non-union staff to work with union laborers for a 4 hour minimum! Typically, this installation could have been completed by one person with very simple tools.  To get an idea of how expensive local labor can be, Boothster always takes into account the variance of local union labor rates across the country. One of our top labor partners who always does stellar work for us has recently published their union labor rates per city. New York unsurprisingly is the most expensive, with an hourly labor rate at a whopping $203 per hour. Over time it is an astronomical $263!  We welcome and appreciate our skilled labor partners, however, at these rates it is important to design our booths in such a way as to minimize labor on set up. Moreover, we want to utilize our own staff and supervisors whenever possible to help further minimize these costs. Occasionally, it is even possible to send The Boothologist himself to help out with booth setup at a much lower rate than local labor!


Custom Tradeshow Booth Setup and Construction


Our strategy to work with these realities is to provide our own non-union supervisors to work with local labor union to maintain the projected costs of the project and the integrity of Boothster designs. Many times this non-union supervisor can be our client side booth lead or one of our own fabricators from Oregon. Depending on the local regulations and the booth design's degree of complexity, we typically hire at least one local Union for their minimum rates. We almost always send one of our non-union Oregon fabricators to first time builds of newly designed booths, to supervise and advise our clients while working with local labor unions to reduce costs. Generally our union labor partners can provide higher skilled talent for onsite tradeshow booth construction, while our support staff focus on such general setup tasks as hanging banners, moving boxes or setting up Ikea chairs, etc. To find out more about how Boothster can help your organization with sustainable tradeshow booth design, give us a call or fill out our contact form here!