Planners who move their meetings from city to city should compare labor rates in new destinations so they can estimate costs and manage exhibitor expectations. One tried-and-true resource is Tradeshow Week's annual survey of U.S. and Canadian labor rates.
After spiking as much as 5 percent to 10 percent in years past, the average cost of labor at convention centers has plateaued, according to the 2004 survey. “Most top-tier cities are comparable in price,” says Michael Hughes, associate publisher and director of research services for the Los Angeles-based publication. “It's the work rules that impact price, and they vary.”
When comparing costs, be sure to ask which unions perform what services, and when overtime charges apply.
|Carpenter||$66.29||$115.55 (New York)||$47.67 (Columbus)|
|Decorator (general labor)||$64.83||$105.00 (San Jose)||$49.00 (San Antonio)|
|Drayage (general labor)||$65.24||$107.50 (New York)||$45.00 (Rosemont)|
|Forklift w/Operator (highest weight)||$155.26||$325.25 (Seattle)||$85.00 (Honolulu)|
|Plumber||$65.18||$111.50 (San Jose)||$35.00 (Cincinnati)|
|Source: Tradeshow Week 2004 Survey of U.S. and Canadian Labor Rates|