Make the right choice when contracting stand assembly: exhibition stand assembly guide /3

The first step to guarantee success at a fair is to choose your stand assembly provider correctly. In this post I will tell you the things that you should take into account, some obvious and many others... not so much regarding the contracting of local and foreign stand assembly
stand builders with a trade show background

How to choose the best stand assembly provider for your company?

Normally a stand assembly provider is chosen by its clients, a good portfolio of work carried out, very good design quality... and a price according to their budget. But there are also other factors that you should take into account: 

1- How many stands does that provider have at the same fair? Do you participate simultaneously in other fairs? .

This is important because, as you know, the bigger a company is, the bigger the infrastructure and therefore the greater the need for many projects. It is true that there are large serious companies with which you will not have problems, but believe me, you do not want to be the 15th booth of a company that has decided to save costs, for example. So follow me to point 2

2- What do your customers say? 

This is essential: talk to current clients who can tell you how they have fared (if possible at the same fair) with your potential supplier. A positive opinion will help you clear up doubts;

3- Are you going to hire a local stand assembly provider? 

Keep in mind that if you are a local company, you will probably have several stands at the fair in question. There are companies that can do up to 40 projects at the same fair in their city. It is not convenient for you to work with these types of companies because they exist by subscription. They have gigantic commercial departments that are covering the broken dishes of the previous ones with new projects. My recommendation for a local supplier is that you look for medium-sized agencies with or without their own production.

4- Is your fair held outside the country? 

There are providers that, despite moving very well and providing a very good service locally, are not so good at setting up internationally. It is possible that you work, for example, with a provider from Barcelona that has done an excellent project for the Mobile World Congress. Here you have to be careful because if this provider is not used to traveling you can have many problems. I will tell you some things that can happen: 

  • They don't speak English well: this happens with many local suppliers who, even if they manage to set up stands abroad, have a significant handicap when it comes to solving problems.
  • They do not know the regulations of fairs at a European level (only that of their country) 

Although there is a regulation where you can find all the information, these providers do not have the know how and therefore another important handicap. I do not want to make a list of everything that can happen if your supplier does not comply with the standards required by the fair, but the most serious ends with your stand being closed at the beginning of the fair.

  • They do not have the capacity to respond when the fair has already started or if any inconvenience arises during the last days of assembly. This capacity includes both the production of new graphics for the stand and the repair of defective electrical equipment, etc.

Does this mean that you cannot work with suppliers from your city abroad? Not at all. Which you need is to claim guarantees. 

5- OK, I have convinced you and you have chosen to work with stand builders located in the city where the fair is held. Here you also have to look at things

  • The price, of course. Depending on the country where the fair is held, there are cases where local stand builders will be much more expensive than foreign ones (for example, Germany). When I say foreign suppliers I mean Poles, Greeks, Slovenians, Spanish and Italians who offer European-level assemblies;
  • Secondly, you have to make sure that the stand builder is really from where he says he is. Having a German phone number does not mean that a company is based in Germany. There are many companies that claim to be German and then you discover that they are people from the East (although they can work very well) they need to travel and have the handicap that you try to eliminate by choosing local suppliers.
local suppliers vs external suppliers

So... is it better to hire a local or foreign stand builder?

If your company is on the list of exhibitors at a fair, it is very likely that you have received more than one call offering you a free project to build your stand. It is important that you keep in mind that although many of these calls are local, many others are from companies that are dedicated to international assemblies, or companies from other provinces of their country. What are the advantages and disadvantages of making your stand with one type of company or another?

Advantages of local stand assembly companies

A local provider has the advantage of not having to travel and a generally very quick response to any setback. For example, if there are problems with the signage, it is very easy to produce them again and also with reliable suppliers. 

It is also easy to change a television, or defective light bulbs. This is always more complicated for a foreign stand assembly supplier, who only has what he has brought in his truck; Another point in favor of the local supplier is that they can go to the stand at any time during the fair, while the foreign supplier returns to their country until the day of disassembly. Many companies solve this handicap by hiring a maintenance service;

Legal certainty: More expensive...more secure

Finally, local stand assembly providers offer legal certainty that is not so clear with foreign providers. This is due to the fact that due to globalization, both companies from Eastern Europe and from Spain, Portugal, etc. have seen a competitive niche in the construction of stands outside their borders. The competition between these companies determines a low-level offer that you have to know how to detect. In turn, legal security is compromised when many of these companies are precarious. 

Advantages of foreign stand assembly providers

In the same way that foreign companies call you by phone, and from the country or area where the fair is held, it is also possible that you receive calls from suppliers from your country, or from your trusted supplier with whom you have already made other stands in your country. Let's be clear, communication is a fundamental factor when choosing and the fact that you can speak your language with the provider is a decisive factor for many people. 

trucks and logistics graphics

The price: a determining factor

Another key factor is the price. Depending on where the fair is held, the price of a local supplier can be more than double that of a foreign supplier. Hourly labor costs in Denmark are four times higher than in Poland. The minimum wage in Poland (2022) is 900 euros compared to 1600 euros in Germany… That is why Eastern European companies do their business in countries like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. Even charging the price of transport and diets, they end up being cheaper than the local ones.

Finally, the local suppliers, more or less serious, also try to maximize their profits, and many of them are overworked. The service you will receive will make you want to start building with Polish companies, and chances are you won't be mistaken, in many cases they are amazing builders! 

assembly of stands in France


If you work with foreign stand builders, you have to take more precautions (although many of them must also be taken with local suppliers);

A- If you work with local stand builders, make sure they are serious and you will not be one of the 20 clients for whom they will set up a stand at the same fair, and if so, check that their scale corresponds to the possibility of doing so . In some countries like Germany be prepared to pay 20 to 50 percent more, but surely you will be calmer;

B- If you work with foreigners and want to maintain your health, follow these tips: 

  •  Whenever you can, establish a penalty in the contract you sign for non-conforming or late delivery, 
  • Request that your stand be finished 24 hours before the opening.
  • One point to define in the contract is that any legal issue will be resolved in the courts of your city. Trust me, you do not want to travel to Posnan (Poland) or Greece to solve anything, it will not be worth it. 
  • Make sure the booth builder company starts building your booth on the first day of the show, or at least 5 days before the opening for a 0-100 booth: many companies have booths at other shows and start halfway through the show. assembly, which can be very dangerous.
  • Make sure the booth is painted the day before you put up the graphics. You can go from wonder to horror in a few hours when the graphics start to unravel;


  • If you only have a few days to assemble (in some fairs it only takes 3 days, be wary that your supplier will paint your stand for you), ask them to use melamine for the walls and avoid self-adhesive graphics, replacing them with frontlit or stapled canvases. textile. This makes the wall finishes invisible behind the canvas and, in turn, greatly speeds up assembly time. You can also opt for a modular solution. You can see more about this topic in this post 🙂
  • Ask the company about their liability insurance;
  • Try to pay at 50%. Lately, many companies require the 50% at the signature, the 25% one month after assembly and the 25% at the end.
  • Check out this post on “how to avoid the worst case scenario” to learn more about the precautions you should take.
  • Very important: Make sure in the contract how many people will work in your stand: This point ends up defining the result of your stand since if your supplier brings fewer people than necessary (and believe me these days it is very difficult for builders in the sector to get qualified workers) 

Ok, but how many professionals does it take to set up a fair stand?

It is not easy to determine the number of professionals needed to set up a booth, since it depends on many factors. The most important of these is the experience of each professional, a first class officer is not the same as an assistant. Knowing how many professionals are needed for your stand is important because that way you can discuss it with your supplier when signing an estimate. If you are brave enough to manage the entire stand on your own, this is essential, since the security of a turnkey supplier is not the same as hiring carpenters, who are usually more precarious and need much more control. 

workers erecting a wall during a stand assembly

It is not an exact science, but what I can do is tell you how many professionals and how many days were used to set up some projects that I have managed. I hope these data will help you compare with your stand and get a clearer idea. It's important to have on mind:

1- Assembly days of the fairs:

It is not the same to have 15 days of assembly as in a fair like Bauma, than 3, as in CPHI;

2- Workers experience: 

There are assemblers who know the trade of sign maker. This makes a big difference, since they are able to place the graphics of the stand, a task that requires 2 more people for at least the last two days of assembly. The same goes for painting, if you take a painter who will only do that job, you will have them out of a job for valuable time.

3 – Is your stand modular or custom?

 There is a big difference in the risks and time involved in building the booth. There is no doubt that the modular alternative is always less risky.

Here are some examples that will help you get a general idea of the projects, the assembly time and the personnel involved in their construction.

- 1 electrician
- 1 painter
- 1 electrician
- 1 painter
- 1 electrician
- 1 painter
- 1 electrician
- 1 painter
- 2 sign makers
- 1 electrician
- 1 painter
- 2 sign makers
- 2 electricians
- 3 painters
- 2 sign makers
- 3 blacksmiths (second floor)
- 1 electrician
- 1 sign maker

Don't miss the next chapter of this exciting adventure!

There is an important difference between the fairs that are held in your country or city and international fairs. In the next post I will explain how to approach each type of fair to maximize your results. 

Looking for something else?

This is a series of articles that aim to give a complete vision of the assembly of trade fair stands. Here you can see the links to the topics that I touch on, I assure you that you will not regret taking a look: 

About the Author

You might be interested in...

Consult the content of our Survival Manual for fair stands

Man with helmet and reflective vest