18 Sep 2013

Custom Vs. Modular

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A few weeks ago I got a  call from my friend requesting me to discuss custom built trade show booths vs. modular or portable trade show booths. My goal is to identify each products strong points as well as some of its weaknesses. For the purpose of this discussion I am going to compare 2 different counters, one custom and one modular. You can take this example and extend it for an entire booth and the data for most trade shows or events that you attend.

The item that I pick to compare were 2 counters.  For the modular one I picked the Skyline Stratus Counter and  for the custom made counter I was able to us the weight and dimensions from one of my clients  arsenal.  The counters are very similar in size and shape, but what it allowed me to do is us real data for my comparison.

Shipping & Drayage Coststratus

Let’s start with the Stratus counter. The shipping case is 51″ x 32″ x 8″ and weighed in at 125 lbs. with every feature you could add on from Skyline. From Las Vegas to Los Angeles I can ship this counter for $220 round trip. My estimated drayage is based on 200 lbs. @ $75 per 100 wt. This puts my shipping and drayage at a grand total of $370.

Now let’s look at a custom counter. The shipping create is 55″ x 32″ x 48″ and the total weight for shipping is 450 lbs. From Las Vegas to Los Angeles I can ship for $480 round trip. My drayage is based on 500 lbs. @ $75 per 100 wt. This puts my drayage and shipping for a grand total of $980.

Installation cost

The installation of the custom counter is simple pull it out and set it in place, 2 men standard time that you are being charge $95 an hour for. The setup of the custom counter will take about 15 min to open the create and set the counter. This would put the total for installation at $47.50.

The installation of the Stratus counter says 10 to 15 minutes for setup; I think it’s more like 20. But this will only take one man 20 minutes which put the total installation cost a $31.66.

Manufacturing cost

The cost to build both of these products varies. With the Stratus counter the cost started around $800 and end at about $2500 depending on your options. With the custom counter the sky is the limit on price. My friend spent $2800 for the counter and create.

Additions or Reconfiguration’s

CounterThe Stratus Table from Skyline has more configurations that I can list here. It can be set up with several different options. The graphics can be replaced or customized easily and changed at very little cost.  This is great for companies with multiple brands.  As well if you break this counter it can be repaired fairly easy.

As for the custom counter what you build is what you have. If you want to make changes to your counter you better dig in and get set to spend money. I cannot put a price on this due to the fact that there are too many variables to consider. In reality some changes could be very simple and others very expensive.

Sex appeal

Hands down if we compare the two counters the custom counter wins sex appeal. This is due to the fact that you can have anything custom built? The Stratus Table is one of the best looking tables on the market. It has many options and different looks to it, but your counter may still look like the counter next door.

Overall with the stratus counter we saved about 60% by using a portable counter in this evaluation. Do your own research and find out what will work for your company.  As you are asked to do more with less money you will need to consider ways to reduce your overall cost at a show.

Good Luck at your next show!


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