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Rip off artists in the South African Exhibition Industry


It never ceases to amaze me how many naive companies get ripped off by exhibition companies…and whats worse the offenders keep getting away with it.

I have recently heard of exhibiting companies paying 90k and 60k for 2 separate 3m x 2m stands which where complete garbage and can’t have cost the manufacturer more than 10K for each at a push.

How do they keep getting away with it. These are the same producers who will ruthlessly steal designs and undercut anyone to get a job. So are they balancing their underhandedness with rip-off projects on the opposite end of the scale?

Clients need to seriously start having a good look at what they consider:

a. to be good design

b. to be good value

c. to be a good service level

d. who they want to partner for long-term success

My comments are as follows:

1. Clients should never take my designs to a competitor and ask them to do it cheaper. A common practice these days. You are acting unethically and of course i can do someone elses design cheaper. I havent had to conceptualise or design it thus cutting out the intellectual aspect of a project.

2. Clients need to be far more savvy as to exhibiting viz: doing shows on a one-off basis is hugely expensive. Rather plan your exhibition program/ stand a year in advance. You will save a huge amount of cost.

3. Look at buying a stand that can work over many years with adjustments and tweaks that alter the aesthetic at a small cost over this time.

4. Speak to an exhibition companies former or existing clients to determine how well they do their work

5. Most exhibition companies design and build the stand and then you are on your own. WHY? Look for a company that is at the show all day every day to assist you get the most of your experience.

6.Work with a company that is proud of not only their work, but also to have you as a client. Do they take a real interest in your industry and do they understand what you really need to achieve on the show.

7. Brief properly. Spending a few hours on a proper brief explaining who you are and what you are about as well as your aims and reasons for being on the show will alleviate huge frustration and time-wasting later on.

There is no reason why exhibiting has to be difficult. Follow these few simple steps and it will be a far more rewarding experience

Happy exhibiting

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