Finding and Working with a GSC for a Trade Show

June 22th

General Services Contractors (GSC) are instrumental in providing a finished trade show venue, complete with a workable layout, a cohesive design, and a crew of professionals who do the installation and dismantling (I&D) for vendor booths. This is only a sampling of what a GSC does, and the areas where their responsibilities begin and end can be confusing, especially if you are a rookie on the trade show circuit.

This is especially true in the modern era when the lines between a GSCs responsibilities are becoming increasingly blurred with exclusive contractors (ECs) and official contractors (OCs) as the latter two vie for larger slices of the “exclusive” trade show services pie.

Effective Trade Show Planning: Finding the Right GSC’s Makes a Difference

general services contractor

Be sure to follow these tips when it comes to GSC’s. Source: Shutterstock

Working with GSC’s at trade shows gets easier with experience and venue familiarity. In the meantime, here are tips for finding and working with a GSC for your upcoming event.

  1. Check in with your potential venues. It used to be that GSCs did the bulk of the work when it came to trade show I&D. Now, however, many venues have their own “exclusive contractors” whose mandatory responsibilities may crossover with jobs that used to be the GSCs territory. In addition to making your process more complicated, it can also make it more costly for exhibitors to attend your event since you also have to cover the EC and other “exclusive” service provider charges. Doing your homework beforehand may prompt a change in venues making your event more cost effective for exhibitors.
  2. Only work with experienced GSCs. Everyone has to start somewhere, but the success of your event rests largely on the efficacy of your GSC. Cutting costs by hiring a new kid on the block can backfire when stored exhibitor freight is missing, equipment is failing, or exhibitors aren’t able to get their displays set up as per plan. Do spend the extra money to hire a tried-and-true GSC who knows the ropes.
  3. Be innovative. The times are changing, and it’s clear that trade show event planning is running per 20th century tradition. Companies like have created software and platforms that democratize trade show opportunities by offering increased competition. This allows smaller GSCs to combine resources, potentially lowering costs to all participants in the marketplace.

Interested in trade show planning solutions for 21st century trade shows? Contact to learn more about our features and services.

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