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To date, I have yet to go for a haircut and think “boy, for the price of this haircut I could buy my own pair of scissors and do this myself.” It would be a disaster, and as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather leave my image to a professional. Having said that, I’m amused at the amount of times I’ve heard “for the price of that TV, I could go out and buy one.”

So let’s have a little fun and entertain that thought:

Wasting no time, you head right to your local electronics retailer and purchase a 50″ LED TV. It’s right around $400. What a deal!

Pretty sure this will fit!

Your first conference is in Phoenix and you’re located in Chicago. We’re not even going to entertain checking the TV in as baggage on your flight, so let’s look at UPS  to get your TV on site. Your box is 50″ x 6″ x 31″ @30 pounds. Because of the size, our monitor box is declared by dimensional weight. So in the eyes of the shipper it’s now 60 pounds. We need to insure the TV in case of damage and assuming we have time, we’ll ship it the most cost effective way. $115 is our shipping cost. That’s $230 round trip. Now our TV which hasn’t even left our living room is already at $630 before its maiden voyage.

For this example we’re also going to assume that your time has no value. Time to purchase the monitor, time to ship the monitor (don’t forget to test it!), time to set-up, re-pack, ship out at the venue, etc. etc. You’re 100% in for the love of the game.

After you arrive at the venue in Phoenix and get all checked in, you head to the package center to pick up your package. The person at the package center greets you with a smile, takes your information, and disappears into the belly of the venue. Ten minutes later she emerges with your TV on a cart, hands it over to you and asks if you’ll be paying for it with a credit card or room charge. Wait what? This is your TV. Why are they charging you for it? Welcome to the world of handling charges. I’m no expert in the world of hotel handling charges, but I can tell you that they exist and can be quite a shock if you’re not expecting it. Your handling charge is one dollar per pound. It’s a business expense right? $30 added to our running total brings us to $690 before this TV is even unpacked. Hold on a second. The package center only hands over the TV? Time to call a bellhop to deliver it where? And now there’s a tip involved. (for the sake of this not being a 2000 word story, we’ll keep to the assumption that the exhibit area is ready for you to place your TV)

You’ve unpacked your TV, plugged in the power (because you were on top of it when you ordered the power drop), and realize the path for the connection from your computer to the TV requires a longer cable than you anticipated. All this worked so well on your kitchen table at home. We’ve all witnessed the TV at the bar mounted on the wall with all the cables hanging straight down the wall. Please resist the temptation! Do you have a plan in place to obtain a longer cable?

A few other things to consider:

  • Some venues won’t let you bring in equipment without a certificate of insurance. Are you covered?
  • How many shipments do you think that factory box will survive?
  • Do you have a backup monitor?
  • In it for the long haul? Time to purchase a real road case for that monitor. That will cost double of what the TV did.
  • A real road case is big! And now it’s too big and heavy to ship via standard carrier.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed plenty of times when a company purchased a small sound system, projector, or TV in order to save money and do it themselves. It’s a great idea on paper until someone at the office needs to be in charge of that task. Do you know who wants to be in charge of audio visual services on top of their everyday duties? No One!

Road warrior in motion!

Have you been on either side of the service scenario? I hope you’ve enjoyed this humorous point and will tune in to part 2.

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