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Differences Between Canadian and US Trade Shows

What Canadians Need to Know about American Trade Shows

Whether you’re working at a Canadian at a company that exhibits at trade shows in the USA or you’re still in the stage of considering the possibility of getting into the USA market through your trade show program, it is important to know the difference between Canada and the USA when it comes to the overall trade show process. Below are 5 important things you need to be aware of when exhibiting in the US.


#1:  Most USA Trade Shows Require At least Some Union Labour

Using union labor is required by most of the trade shows in the United States.  This may come as surprise to you, but you must know that this is in no way negotiable, so you just have to deal with it. While there are some trade show events that have rules that allow exhibitors to do some of their own labor, you still likely have to hire union employees to at least handle your electrical, rigging, plumbing, material handling etc… And of course, this means you may have to deal with higher expenses and a more complicated setup arrangement. 


#2: In both Canada and the USA It Is Not Required to Use a Trade Show’s General Contractor for Unionized Labour

Although you might be required to hire union labor, it does not automatically mean that you need to use the labor offered by the show.  It still up to you whether you want to use your own labor staff – this is a good thing if you want a labor crew that is more familiar with your company to work with your exhibit. They’re known as an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor, or EAC’s.  To do this, you usually have to fill out and submit an EAC request form at least 30 days before the trade show starts, although this is sometimes flexible if your exhibit company knows the show management. At some trade shows, the work is also able to be performed by full time employees.


#3: It Is Not Required to Rent Things from a USA-Based Trade Show’s Vendors

Contrary to popular belief, you’re not required to use the trade show’s vendors in the USA.  So, if you are one of many people who thought otherwise, heave a sigh of relief as you can get other sources for your trade show exhibit rentals and services as well.


#4: It Is Not as Easy to Find Your Exhibit and Crates Delivered to a USA Advance Warehouse

If you’ve joined a Canadian trade show before, you’re definitely aware how easy it is to find crate storage dotted around the vicinity before and during the event. But this is not the case in at USA trade shows. Finding your crates can be a problem. It’s normal for the crates to be removed from the venue during the show, so be aware of it! If you do not rent, ensure you work with an experienced and dedicated trade show logistics and shipping company- as many shipping companies do not have experience shipping trade show displays.


#5:  It is Possible to Avoid the Expenses & Hassle of Overseas Shipping and Custom Fees

Okay, this is probably the most important thing you need to know. As you probably realized by now, there are a lot of things to be considered if you want to cross the border to attend an exhibition, and shipping and customs fees are some of them. But is there really a way to avoid this? Definitely! You can do that by renting your local exhibit! Yes, trade show displays can be rented and customized according to your preference to promote your brand.

While it is common to see booth rentals that look generic and may look like it’s not going to give your brand a good name at first glance, you can always talk to your trade show exhibit company and ask for suggestions on how you can get the design that is ideal for your brand. There are even exhibit service companies that allow you to propose a design you want and will get it ready for you to proof it well before the event. This should come as no surprise companies like us are investing more into our capabilities, so we can provide solutions to any problem an exhibitor may have to deal with.

These are five facts any Canadian or international exhibitors should know about before they get into the USA market. Hopefully, the points stated in this article help you have an easier and more successful trade show experience in the United States.


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