Benefit from gigantic differences in European labour cost
One big advantage of the European Community is the intensified border-free competition within most service branches, also in the European trade show industry. Of course, dedicated promoters and lobbyists of leading West European stand building companies have raised their voice and warn foreign exhibitors about the potential “danger” of using “cheap” offers of “unknown” competitors.
After more than 39 years of experience in the exhibition industry in Europe, US and Far East I can clearly say “They tell you not the full truth!!”. Those people are primarily interested in defending their existing business and market shares and try to ignore the changed European labour market situation. And they forget to admit that also in their own companies they employ larger amounts of Eastern Europe craftsmen and sub-contractors.
You can find low quality stand contractors with low reliability everywhere. In Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain and UK as well as in Eastern Europe. If you are a Fortune 500 company, maybe a 50% or 100% higher stand building quote from one of the national or international “Big Names” wouldn’t bother you, but most of the exhibitors in Europe and elsewhere are SME and fighting with continuously increasing exhibition cost which result in ever falling ROIs.
Therefore my personal advice would be to take advantage of the extremely different labour cost situation within the European Union, but do with a sense of proportion and a sense of reality and try to get support from people who know that European market really in detail.
In Europe a “nearby” location of the contractor to the venue does not automatically mean that your total cost will go down. Only the shipment cost will be lower. But in France for example you face unpleasant labour cost increasing laws and regulations like max. 35 working hours per week, high wages and social security fees. Therefore the average French total working cost per hour (wage + all social benefits) was in last year 36.40 Euro per hour, in Germany 37.00 Euro, UK 22.10 Euro, but in Poland 7.40 Euro and in Bulgaria even only 3.20 Euro. The above mentioned figures are official average wage data for all industries published by the German Federal Statistical Office some months ago. Here can you download this report EU Labour Cost Comparism 2014 directly without email grabbing etc.
On the other side the one-way truck shipment cost for a complete large 13m truck load from Poland to Western Europe is around 1 Euro per kilometre. This means around 800 Euro for such a fully loaded truck from Poznan, Poland to Frankfurt, Duesseldorf or Cologne in Germany.
You have always to compare the arising total cost, the different working mentalities and qualities etc. For this reason I have developed strong preference to hire qualified hand-selected stand builders with workshops and high craftsman skills as well as professional suppliers for digital printing, rental furniture, AV technology etc. from Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) for projects in Spain, Italy, Sweden, UK, France, Germany and Netherlands.
But you need to select your partners carefully. As everywhere in the world also in East Europe there are low quality contractors with low reliability on the market.