A Complete Guide to the Trade Show Advance Warehouse | Mastering Trade Show Shipping

advance warehouse
A Complete Guide to the Trade Show Advance Warehouse | Mastering Trade Show Shipping

When preparing for trade show shipping, we often get the question "Should I ship to the advance warehouse or direct to the show?" While there are pros and cons to both solutions when shipping to trade shows it is important to understand the ins and outs of choosing the trade show advance warehouse.

What is the Advance Warehouse?

The advance warehouse serves as a hub for receiving trade show freight from exhibitors ahead of the event's commencement. Exhibitors have the convenience of storing their exhibition materials up to 30 days prior to the show's start.

What are the Benefits of Shipping to the Advance Warehouse?

Peaceful Assurance: Opting for the advance warehouse in managing your trade show shipping offers peace of mind, ensuring timely delivery of your products to the event. This way, you can dedicate more time to preparing other essential aspects of the trade show.

Cost Savings: Embracing early shipping allows you to select more cost-effective shipping methods, avoiding the need for expedited or guaranteed freight services that might be necessary with last-minute shipping.

Mitigated Waiting Time Charges: Direct shipping to the show often attracts waiting time fees as carriers wait to unload at the marshaling yard. By choosing the advance warehouse, your carrier can promptly unload the freight, sidestepping additional waiting time fees.

What are the Disadvantages of the Trade Show Advance Warehouse?

Late Fees: Should your shipment arrive after the set receiving deadline for the warehouse, it's highly likely that the show's general contractor will impose additional charges.

Additional Material Handling/Drayage Costs: Exhibitors shipping their trade show booth to the advance warehouse often face higher material handling/drayage fees due to extra handling from storage to the event. For instance, we encountered material handling fees of $96.25 per CWT (hundredth weight) for advance warehouse handling, compared to $78 per CWT for direct-to-show handling (about 25% more).

To calculate CWT, round your shipment's weight to the nearest hundredth. If, for example, it's 300 lbs, it would be 3 CWT. For advance warehouse shipping, the fees would be $96.25 x 3 CWT = $288.75.

Reduced Preparation Time: Shipping your freight 30-40 days ahead of the trade show substantially cuts down your booth preparation time.

Navigating Trade Show Advance Warehouse Shipping: A Step-by-Step Guide

In the following example, we will go through a hypothetical situation of shipping to the SEMA Show 2023, however, this guide can be used for any trade show you will be exhibiting at. If this guide doesn't work for your particular trade show, you may have received an email with the exhibitor manual or your show may not have an advance warehouse.

You can follow along on the link to SEMA's website: https://www.semashow.com/

1. Find Your Trade Show's Information Online

Begin by visiting your trade show's official website. Look for the "exhibitors" section, usually located in the top menu navigation. Alternatively, if you know the name of your General Contractor (such as Freeman, GES, or Shepard), you can explore their website for specific show details.

Here are the links for their websites where you can search for your show:

  1. Freeman: https://www.freeman.com/find-show/
  2. GES: https://ordering.ges.com/
  3. Shepard: https://apps.shepardes.com/olk/intro.asp

2. Access the Exhibitor Service Manual

The Exhibitor Service Manual often holds all the answers for trade show shipping questions like:

  1. Does this show have targeted move-in dates?
  2. What are the advance warehouse shipping address and receiving dates?
  3. What should my labels say for shipping to the trade show?
  4. When are the receiving dates for direct-to-show site shipping?

If you are unable to find this information quickly try looking for "Quick Facts", "Material Handling/Shipping Information", "About the Show", and "Event Schedule".

3. Find the Relevant Shipping Information

In this section, you will see a link for SEMA's "ABC’s of Shipping Your Booth to the Show", which shows us the advance warehouse address, receiving days, and direct-to-show address

We can gather the following from this link:

Trade Show Advance Warehouse Receiving Dates and Address: September 26th to October 18th

Freeman Advance Warehouse

6675 West Sunset Road

Las Vegas, NV 89118

Direct to Show Address:

Freeman Marshaling Yard

6555 West Serene Avenue

Las Vegas, NV 89139

4. Determine Your Trade Show Shipping Plan

Now that we have the information we need to make an informed decision about the advance warehouse shipping dates and address, we can determine what the best option is for our circumstances. Direct-to-show is also a good option, but it is imperative in trade show shipping that you give yourself enough time when shipping to the trade show.

5. Find a Trade Show Transportation Provider

There are many logistics companies that specialize in trade show transportation and you can find one by doing a simple Google search, by asking your current provider, or by contacting our team at marketing@dtsone.com.

6. Prepare Your Shipment To Ensure it Arrives within the Receiving Window

While working with your transportation provider, ensure that they are aware of the advance warehouse receiving window. We recommend placing the receiving window on the bill of lading as an additional reminder for the carrier.

The closer you ship to the closure of the warehouse, the busier it gets, which can result in waiting fees from your carrier. Make sure to ship at least a week and a half before the closure of the warehouse to help ensure your freight does not incur late charges from the show decorator.

7. Trade Show Advance Warehouse Label Instructions

If you do decide to ship to the advance warehouse you will need to provide specific information on your shipping labels. In some cases, a show will have special information required on your labels, so ensure you check your exhibitor service manual.

  1. Advance warehouse receiving dates
  2. Advance warehouse address with C/O (meaning care of) *insert general contractor's name (Freeman, GES, Shepard, etc.)
  3. Your company name as listed in the show directory
  4. Booth #
  5. Piece count
advance warehouse shipping label

Here is an example of what this shipment label could look like.


Whether you are shipping your booth from another show or just want peace of mind knowing your exhibition materials are at the show, the advance warehouse can be a helpful tool for your company for trade show shipping.

At Diversified Transportation Services, we have 30+ years of trade show shipping experience and can help you with any questions you may have about trade show shipping. Contact us at marketing@dtsone.com or get a trade show shipping quote here.

What Can DTS Do For You?

Whether you're a company looking to improve one facet of your supply chain, your entire supply chain, or simply looking for a transportation and logistics consultation, we can help.

Get In Touch
Copyright © 2022 – 2024 , Diversified Transportation Services. All Rights Reserved