Bartering Sees Comeback with Businesses

originally on http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/local_news/Bartering-Sees-Comeback-with-Businesses-20110511-am-sd by Tacoma Perry

Small business owners are getting creative during these tough economic times and sometimes that means conserving their cash.

And now, an old currency system is seeing new life and it’s helping small businesses survive and thrive.

Remember back in the day, in school, when you used to trade your cookies for a juice box or chips? Well it’s that same concept that’s allowing small businesses to keep their doors open in otherwise tough times.

It’s not a new concept, but among small businesses with tight budgets and dwindling customer prospects, it’s seeing a comeback – it’s bartering.

“Bartering essentially has been around since the beginning of time, even before your most common forms of currency being coins and then bills. People were essentially trading what they had for what they needed,” said Todd Gerry of Tradebank.

And while traditionally bartering has been done on a one-on-one basis, the concept has gotten much more sophisticated with the rise of bartering networks like Tradebank. Small business owners can offer their service or skill to hundreds of other businesses and get needed services or products in return.

“I get all my landscaping done, painting at my shop, gutters, dental care, I get all my basic necessities – prescription glasses,” said Joe Cox of Georgia Electric Service.

And he’s gotten those necessities without using cash. Joe cox is the owner of georgia electric service – and in exchange for his services, he says he’s able to get about 80% of what he uses on a daily basis. At a time when most businesses are cutting advertising budgets, cox has expanded his.

“I’ve got a billboard downtown, two blocks from the capital that I’ve got 100 percent on trade as well,” said Cox.

According to the folks at Tradebank, you don’t have to barter a lot in order for it to help your business. In fact, they say if you just barter 5 percent of the time, you can increase your bottom line by more than 30 percent.

“You normally have to spend time and money getting cash business, with barter, I actually have to turn away business. I’ve got more than I can do,” said Cox.

Tradebank is just one of dozens of bartering networks out there. They charge a one time retainer fee and a quarterly accounting fee – but both Cox and Gerry say your most important commodity is your service, skill or product.

“Everybody needs electrical work at one time or another. So it’s been a very positive experience for me,” said Cox.

“I think that business owners now more than ever realize that they’re going to have to be innovative in terms of how they bring new business through their doors,” said Gerry.

Experts say the key to bartering is finding the right network for you.

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