Budget Betty and Speedy Steve

Budget Betty and Speedy Steve

March 4th, 2014 0 Comments

Special Contribution to The Exposure by National Sales Manager, Charles Langley

It’s easy to forget that brand new exhibitors are entering the industry on any given day and may not have a clear understanding in the area of material handling. Read on to find out how the story of “Budget Betty” and “Speedy Steve” illustrates a very simple, but important, part of learning to be an educated exhibitor.

“Budget Betty” and “Speedy Steve” don’t even know each other.  But both have one thing in common— exhibiting at the exact same show in just a few weeks. They will soon meet and be tradeshow neighbors. Betty will exhibit in Booth 100 and Steve in Booth 102. Sounds like a romance story huh? Well not this time, but it will be a good lesson in exhibiting for sure!

Busy preparing for the tradeshow event, Betty carefully plans to send:

• an assortment of 3 different boxes

• 2 plastic bins

• 1 long tube to protect a beautiful poster graphic

 Betty’s total weight of materials is 400lbs.


Nearly 1000 miles across the country, Steve is sending:

• 4 cartons

• 1 fiber case containing his pop up booth

• 1 medium sized metal container

And wouldn’t you know it…Steve’s total weight of materials is 400lbs as well. (Didn’t this just work out so well for this story?)

Being the “Speedy Steve” he is, Steve rushes ahead and sends his one fiber case on a Tuesday. Two days later he ships out four separate cartons because they are cluttering his office and he wants them out of the way. Finally, Steve decides to have his assistant send the final items for his booth later that next week. Steve thinks to himself, “It’s all going to the same place anyway right?” So off goes Steve’s 400 lbs of booth properties—but in various stages and pieces.

Meanwhile, living up to her name, “Budget Betty” strategically gathers all the items necessary for her booth. She then calls a transportation carrier that can assist her in stacking all her items neatly on a pallet. All the items are then wrapped tightly with shrink wrap and consolidated in one shipment. Off goes Betty’s 400 lbs to the show.

Flash forward a couple of weeks to the show. Both Steve and Betty get their final invoices. Why is Betty’s material handling/drayage fee one amount and Steve’s is another?

Betty’s Invoice

The Show Material Handling Fees are $75 per cwt* (but based on 200lb minimum per shipment)

Total Weight since she consolidated her shipment all in one is 400lbs. This is the equivalent of 4.0cwt.

4.0 x $75 = $300 Total

*cwt is short for centum weight or hundred weight. In our example, $75 per every 100 pounds.

Steve’s Invoice

Remember, The Show Material Handling Fee are $75 per cwt (but based on 200lb minimum per shipment)

Steve’s first piece arrives at 150 lbs. (but remember…there is a 200lb minimum per shipment)

2.0cwt x $75 = $150

Steve’s second piece arrives days later weighing 150lbs. (but remember…there is a 200lb minimum per shipment)

2.0cwt x $75 = $150

Finally, remember that metal container that Steve had his assistant send out just before the show? It arrives at 100lbs. (but remember…there is a 200lb minimum per shipment)

2.0cwt x $75 = $150

Total Invoice: $450

Not the happiest of endings for Speedy Steve right? Two people, same weight to a show, with two different invoice totals. Learn to become an educated exhibitor. Show your organization strategic ways to send freight to a tradeshow.


Charles Langley is a professional consultant in the tradeshow/event/conference industry. Among other projects, he serves as National Sales Manager for The Expo Group.


Illustrations for this story provided by Alan Sartain, Director of Graphic Design at The Expo Group.

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