The art and practice of bartering has been around for centuries. With bartering, the idea is to trade goods and services that you need instead of spending cash. For example, say your lawn mower’s broken and your lawn is quickly approaching “African grasslands status”. Instead of paying for costly repairs (or worse – buying a new mower!), your handyman neighbor fixes it in exchange for a few hours of babysitting.
With bartering, everyone is a winner and no one comes out “poorer”! 🙂 Bartering is quickly becoming the hot new trend toward saving hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars. Many folks are bartering their way toward the wedding of their dreams, a well-groomed lawn, a beautifully cleaned home, gourmet meals after a long busy day at work and more.
Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
Use What You Know – Chances are, you already have an arsenal of potential barter tasks under your belt. For example:
- Are you a fantastic cook, sought-after hair stylist or expert in all things math?
- Do you know how to train an unruly puppy in 2 weeks or less?
- Are you the best babysitter on the block?
- What about auto, appliance, or computer repair?
- Do you know how to build websites?
- Housecleaning, ironing, landscaping or gardening?
- Can you speak a foreign language? Paint a house? All of these tasks (and whatever else you can think of) are perfect for bartering!
Be Specific – When making that first transaction (and every one thereafter) remember to be very specific. Don’t say something vague like, “I’ll clean your house if you fix my car.” Instead say, “If you replace the fan belt and brake pads in my car, I’ll provide 1 hour of housecleaning.” Being specific ensures that everyone’s happy with the conditions of the barter, right from the start.
Keep Records – Bartering is considered taxable, especially in terms of services. For example, if you’re a lawyer and traded legal advice or created a simple will in exchange for landscaping services or tutoring for your 12 year old, this will need to be reported on your taxes. Even if the barter isn’t considered taxable, it’s still a good idea to keep track of everything for future reference.
Use Bartering Websites – Bartering sites can be extremely helpful toward making your first transactions. Here are a few to consider:
What about you? Have you bartered or “traded” services before? What kind of skills do you have? (Feel free to share and barter by leaving comments in the post below..)