Is it a good idea to barter services?

A colleague of ours found herself in a pinch years ago trying to pay her $1,000 monthly rent and a $1,000 a month nursery school tuition for her son.  Her father, who had recently moved in with her, was out of work and couldn’t provide any supplemental income either.  Then an idea struck.

Her father was a construction manager and a great handy man, so she offered a deal with the nursery school.  They needed some work done around the school, so she asked if her dad could work for them for free in exchange for a free tuition.  They accepted.

Just because you’re short on cash doesn’t mean that you have to go without it. According to Jack Schacht, president of the National Trade Association, more people are turning to bartering.

Bartering involves businesses or individuals swapping a good or service for another. A lawyer, for example, may swap a few hours of legal assistance for a stay at an out-of-town hotel.

Bartering is a great substitute for money. Money is only the paper that allows you to buy the services or items you need. If you can do it in trade you get the same thing. Each person has an expertise or service to offer, find a match and you both are happy.

“Bartering is a very savvy way of doing business,” says Debbie Lombardi, president of Barter Business Unlimited.

According to Lombardi over 470,000 companies actively participate in barter for a total of over $12 billion in annual sales in the United States.

“Bartering continues to carve out an important place in the U.S. and world economy,” she adds.

As a result, professional barter exchanges are cropping up everywhere. A business lists a good or service for trade through the professional barter exchange. In return, the business receives a trade credit based on the dollar value of the good or service offered. The business will then use its trade credits to “purchase” goods or services offered by other members.

Take a radio station that wants an economical way to entertain clients. The station may offer advertising time and trade its barter credits for meals at a local restaurant. The restaurant might trade its credits for computer equipment. The computer company might trade its credits for radio ads. These businesses have taken part in a buy and sell transaction without ever exchanging money.

The ability to barter is not limited by size, says Schacht.  The corporate giant all the way down to the one-person, at-home business–and everyone in between–all can use barter as part of their business transactions.

And for many individuals, it’s the best way to go. There is no end to what you can barter with.  The only limit to bartering is your imagination..



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  1. I think we shoudl mix barterting and money

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