Tag Archive for Green Barter

Why barter?

Originally on

Few of us are immune to the pressures of living in these challenging socioeconomic times. However, we often perpetuate our struggles to save money by solving our day to day problems through spending. Often it is for the sake of convenience; time is another resource in short supply, so we pull out our wallets and spend. Bartering relies on a completely different type of currency – one of creativity, energy and time. In an ideal situation, everyone’s needs are met by exchanging goods and services of equal value. Not a dime need be spent. Since everyone has something to offer that someone else wants or needs, bartering is something anyone can do. I often exchange favors with my brother, which works well as we each have different skills to offer. Recently, I traded several haircuts for his willingness to deliver and install a dishwasher. We also occasionally need an hour or two of childcare, and enjoy spending time with each others’ kids. Win-win.


How to Start Bartering

Make a list of skills you have to offer. Think about what you do at work (after all, if someone is paying you to do your job, your skills are worth something). Are you a quick typist and an expert at formatting documents? There is someone out there who could use help with updating a resume. Are you an accountant? Come tax season, everyone will want an hour of your time. Do you troubleshoot computer glitches? Your time is valuable to most of us year round. Now think of services you can offer that don’t require professional expertise. Could you house sit, pet sit, dog walk, de-clutter a closet or entire home, clean carpets or prepare meals? Could you offer storage in your garage or home, or a room or bed to a traveler? Are there things you love to do that you could teach someone else? Did you play basketball in high school and have time to coach your neighbor daughter once a week? Could you teach someone to play bridge or the cello? I bet your energy and time are more valuable to others than you realized. The next step is finding others to barter with. Spread the word among family, friends and neighbors. Use social media to seek out and organize a network of like minded people who want to share skills and time rather than spend money. Create an ad on Craigslist, and search the site for the people interested in exchanging services. Individuals and Business owners should check out bartering networks that have been created to help people and entrepreneurs trade services with each other and other businesses locally, nationally and internationally.

Other Benefits of Bartering

Bartering depends on good will between parties. While you can spend your money anywhere and walk away, bartering requires voluntary cooperation. As you begin to trade your time for someone else’s, you will find yourself living a life of connections rather than a life you may think of as self-sufficient – using money to hire strangers to solve problems. You will find yourself thinking about how you can take care of others as much as you think about getting your needs met. Most people believe in returning kindness for kindness; it’s something we do, like returning a borrowed cookie sheet with a fresh batch of baking. Feeling helpful and appreciated are essential to our sense of well being and self-worth. By finding ways to help each other save money, we can create a healthier and caring society.

Yes, it is good to barter

Originally on

Karen Morath of FlyingSolo asks, “Is it good to barter?” and concludes that barter, or as she also calls it “contra deals”, isn’t worth the trouble. Here’s part of her reasoning:

But that’s nothing compared with having to tell your would-be accountant that he or she needs to work for three hours at their rate of $85 per hour as a trade for one hour of your time at $275 per hour.
I’d have to suggest that if you’re having a hard time convincing any customer, barter or cash, that your time is worth $275/hour perhaps it isn’t. On the other hand, if you’re selling out your time with none to spare at $275/hour cash, then she’s right – barter isn’t for you or at least not at the apparently undervalued price of $275/hour.

Barter is great for a number of reasons, including selling excess inventory (whether it’s a product or your own time and labor). If there is no excess inventory and for whatever reason you are satisfied charging a less than market clearing price, barter probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you can’t sell your time for $275/hr cash at least a good percentage of the time, barter isn’t the magic bullet that will allow you to get a more than market price. What it can do is create a win-win situation where another business that will need your product/service will get it from you rather than another similarly priced provider.


And then there are products, another complicating factor. If you seek to exchange your products for someone else’s services or your services for someone else’s products, should the product price be at retail or wholesale or cost?
This is a little tougher, but again no reason to avoid bartering altogether. Gnerally speaking, if one party wants to price at retail, both should probably price at retail. But there are certainly situations where that isn’t appropriate. If, for example, you are in the wholesale business and are bartering a large lot of fairly low unit cost items (say 1,000 boxes of candy that retail for $2) and trying to purchase something where you are the retail consumer (say a new car), it may be appropriate to barter on a wholesale-to-retail basis. The points to consider are each parties end use and each parties business model. In other words, will your barter counterpart eat 1,000 boxes of candy himself or will he distribute them one at a time to consumers as giveaways at his car lot. If you want to dump 5,000 boxes of candy that are a month from their sell-by date, you may even barter below cost. In that situation, any return will beat throwing them away, especially if your car dealer’s giveaway puts your name in front of the public, too.

Whether it’s a service or product, barter is more complex than simply calling a toll free number and giving them your credit card number. Indeed, that’s why most transactions aren’t barter. Currency is one of the great inventions of modern humans and a giant leap forward over having to barter in every single transaction. That’s one reason most barter experts recommend limiting barter to a fraction, usually around 10-20%, of total sales. Barter can’t and shouldn’t be expected to replace cash transactions, but it’s still a great way to turn excess inventory into cost savings. Handling the, relatively minor, complexities of pricing and negotiation and the somewhat more complicated problem of matching needs is just one way that the smarter business owner will compete with those who avoid barter. The question is whether the business owner who’s afraid or unwilling to compete in this playing field will do much better in others.

Somebody Trade?

Posted on December 7th, 2009

What do you have to offer?

TRADING floor 042007

No, not a question about your personality: the question targets your ability to take part in the new economy – bartering. It may just be a media myth, or it may be the next big thing, but accounts bartering being used to make ends meet are beginning to appear in newspapers from the ‘Cape Cod Times’ on 3/22/09 to the prestigious ‘Financial Times’ of London on 3/21/09. And it’s not just limited to individuals, as the first of those reports focuses on ordinary Moms and Dads, while the second names Mercedes-Benz and Vodafone as participants.
Bartering, the exchange of goods or services without cash payment, has been part of the alternative lifestyle scene for decades. It has received official recognition via IRS rulings about what is taxable and what is not. But, in the words of one barter exchange enthusiast, until recently, “We were out beating the bushes trying to get people to join.” Not any more – barter offers on Craigslist classifieds have risen sharply, and online barter exchanges such as U-Exchange have seen an exponential rise in traffic. Where once items may have been advertised as being for sale (a cash exchange) they are now often listed under the barter banner.
In Quebec, Maryloo will exchange graphic design, web design and web hosting services for a healthy horse (preferably pinto) suitable for trail riding; and in Uganda Emmy will swap a set of table drums for a laptop computer. In this economy everything is on offer, and anything is someone’s desire. The greater the number of participants, the greater the chances of having your exchange completed: there are only four listings for the whole of Uganda, and Emmy’s chances don’t look good.

If you decide to trade that stamp collection but don’t have an immediate need of anything else, some exchanges convert your sale to “trade dollars” – or “green dollars” on many environmentalist sites – that you can use to make a purchase at some future date. These dollars are notional, unbankable, and attract zero interest: but that’s not likely to faze the barter enthusiast, whose back is firmly turned on all that banker babble in pursuit of a different dream. A dream that includes a sustainable, community-based, person-to-person relationship with the people who can provide what is needed.
At least until times get better.

A new Green Wave in Bartering

Posted on December 7th, 2009
Original Post by: Joanna Smiley, a freelance writer from Collinsville, will periodically serve as a guest columnist for the Hartford Business Journal.

There’s a movement sweeping through many of the businesses in Hartford’s Growing Green Co-Op and it has nothing to do with dollars.

Imani Zito, at left, founder of Hartford’s Growing Green Co-Op, Wendy Girl, center, co-op member and founder of a holistic-focused marketing business, and Cathy Barber, right, co-op member and founder of a health education coaching business, have each bartered their products and services as a way to help grow their companies without having to shell out cash.

Over half of the 100 small organizations that belong to the co-op are catching a green bartering fever, says co-op founder Imani Zito. These eco-conscious folks are determined to grow their businesses in the crippled economy and they’re realizing that bartering with each other offers a way for them to gain products or services without having to shell out cash.

“Many of these businesses wouldn’t be around if they didn’t barter,” said Zito, who founded the co-op, which she calls the state’s “green chamber of commerce,” in the fall of 2008.

Zito stands in front of a chalkboard bursting with colorful catch phrases like “sustainable living” and “grow the local economy.” She says she will barter “almost anything and everything” for the sake of green business growth.

While businesses have often developed trade agreements with other businesses, a focus on trading services among green enterprises adds a new twist to an old model.

For example, Zito recalls bartering with two people who walked into the co-op announcing that they were starting a nonprofit wilderness program. They offered to grow food in exchange for help with finding a place to stay. Zito jumped at the chance to work with them. She plans to use some of the food for the co-op’s raw food dining establishment, Alchemy, which Zito describes as a “barter restaurant.” She says it’sThe Growing Green Co-Op, at 197 New Britain Ave. in Hartford, opened in 2008 and works with more than 100 eco-conscious small businesses. not uncommon for her to let someone walk into the restaurant and wash dishes in exchange for food.

For Zito, bartering rests deep in her soul. One of Zito’s first barters happened when she met her husband.

“I gifted him a massage and in return he bought some groceries for my family (single mom with three little ones at the time). It was a very sweet gesture. We have been bartering every day since,” she said smiling.

Looking towards the future, Zito’s hope is simple. She believes that like-minded business owners must continue to help each other sustain growth and stay afloat during these trying economic times. Zito wants to eventually establish her own “barter economy” with co-op members.

New Wave of Christmas Presents

Posted on December 1st, 2009
Original Post by: Mrs B


After reading many blogs (namely One Green Generation), I decided to try and make this year’s Christmas one of home-made, ethical and / or locally made gifts. If I cant make it myself, then I have bartered skills with friends to get the same result, or as a last resort bought beautiful home-made products from local women and men.

I’ve been knitting, growing, baking and putting together some interesting gifts for loved ones. And I feel like it has more meaning for me this year. That’s partly because Little B is old enough now to participate but also because my gifts are well thought out and from the heart.

So far, I’ve potted basil plants in recycled terracotta pots, baked favourite biscuits and sweets, knitted dish cloths, raised seedlings and there’s more to come. I’ve also been bartering my child caring skills with a friend to help with a crafty present I want to give. Some I cant say as the recipients read my blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise ;-)

My only downfall has been Little B’s present from Santa. In this case, I bought new but next year I hope to be able to make some more goodies for him from the jolly red man.

How to Decrease our Business costs?

Posted on November 30th, 2009
Original post by: Caleb Rodriguez

10 effective ways to reduce business costs


1st Barter If you have a business that should be bartering goods and services with other companies. You should try to trade for something before you buy. Barter deals usually require little or no money.

2nd Network Try networking your business with other companies. You can view or mailing list. This stream of marketing and advertising. You may also try bartering goods and services with them.

3rd Wholesale / bulk saves money to buy your supplies in bulk. You can create a membership at a wholesale warehouse or buy through mail for a wholesaler. Buy the supplies you are always running out.

4th Free Stuff You should try visiting the thousands of freebie sites on the Inteet before buying your company provides. Here you can find free software, graphics, backgrounds, business services online, etc.

5th Rent Rent Have you ever purchased equipment used in only a short period of time? You can only have the equipment on loan from someone else or rented the equipment from a “rent-all” business.

6th Online / Offline Auctions You can lower prices for supplies and equipment auctions online and offline. I’m not saying all the time, but before paying the retail sales prove these elements before they offer.

7th Plan Ahead Make a list of business supplies or equipment needed for the future. Keep an eye on the shops, have a big turnover. Purchase of goods, if they are on sale before you need it.

8th Used Stuff If your business equipment and supplies is not required to be new, buy them used. Here you can find items used in yard and garage sales, shopping, things for sale message boards and newsgroups etc.

9th Negotiate You should always try to negotiate a lower price for all companies or accessories. Not bad for trying. They claim to be a seller in a parking lot.

10th Search You can always looking for new suppliers for your business supplies and equipment. If you wish to suppliers with lower prices and better quality. Not only with some.

Bartering During the Holidays

Posted on November 30th, 2009
Original post by: Wendy Thomas on November 24th, 2009

Bartering for goods and services has a long standing history in New England. We’ve all grown up reading stories about how the colonists helped each other out by trading products or services. Hey, I’ve got a dozen eggs – I’ll trade the eggs for help with tilling my garden.

These days, bartering is still alive and well. In my case, one way I save money by bartering is that I review books for a Web site. I don’t get paid for the reviews, but I get to keep the books, which then become gifts for friends and family. To me, that’s a pretty good tradeoff. Books are wonderful gifts and ones you can personally recommend are even better.

In another case, I have a friend who has offered to help us pick up the leaves in our yard in exchange for my setting her up an account and getting her going on Craigslist. Living near woods with lots of tall oaks, this is a welcome trade I happily accepted.

This season, think about how you might be able to barter for what you need. Can you provide a meal to someone in exchange for helping you figure out a software program? Can you watch a friend’s child for a few hours in return for help cleaning out a garage? Can your son shovel a driveway in return for some math tutoring?

With so much to be done in all of our lives and with continued limited funds, the time has come to be creative and think about how we can share what we have to help each other along.

If  we could spare money with bartering why don’t do it more often?

Bartering Instead of Going Bust.


Posted on November 28th, 2009

Bartering is a system of trade that predates the use of money, whereby you trade your skills, services, or products for something you want from someone else.

About 25 years ago, during a recession in the early 1980s, a lot of bartering clubs sprang up, so people who were out-of-work or having financial problems could increase the funds available to them. Once people joined the group, they could turn their skills, services or products into points; then others could employ them or purchase their products using the points they had accumulated in their own accounts. And if no one wanted to use one’s skills, services, or products, they would accumulate negative points up to a cap, until they found a way for others to want what they offered. Through this system, these clubs sought to achieve a fair balance between what people were getting and giving.

As an organizer, think of running a barter service as a new business, which can be very successful if you have the skills needed to run the business, such as a good head for figures, an attention to detail for everyday operations, and good communication, marketing, and sales skills to promote the service. If you simply want to participate in bartering, you might do this directly by offering an exchange with your own contacts or try posting whatever you are offering on one of the social media sites like LinkedIn.

To determine what to list, think about what you have done in the past and list what you can offer that might be of interest to someone else. If you have a lot to offer, divide up your skills, services, or products by category and post them separately.

Savannah Tractor Powered by Turkey Oil

Posted on November 28th, 2009
Original post by: Savannah Now

Now that your turkey is a picked-over carcass, here’s a win-win idea for getting rid of the oil that fried that bird: Wilmington Island farmer Bill Lynes wants used vegetable oil to power his tractor. The county wants to keep all that fat out of local sewers, where it congeals and creates expensive clogs. So they’ve teamed up to collect cooking oil at the Wilmington Island Recycling Center.

He currently collects oil from several local restaurants and a South Carolina nursing home, filters and centirfuges that oil to remove water and particulates, then pumps it into his diesel engine tractor. As an off-road vehicle, it’s a hassle-free use of a free fuel. Vehicles driven on public roads are required to pay road tax on their fuel, a process that’s difficult to comply with where free vegetable oil is concerned, Lynes said.

Lynes approached Chatham County officials several months ago with his idea of collecting used vegetable oil from residents. When they agreed to give it a try, he spent about $800 outfitting the Wilmington Island Recycling Center on Concord Road with a small storage tank just for the job.

Chatham County Environmental Program Coordinator David Nash loves the cooking oil collection not only because it’s a great local recycling effort, but also because the grease that could otherwise end up in local sewage systems is expensive to clean out.

“If you’re on septic, it will clog it,” he said. “If you’re on county sewage, it’ll clog up drains, and you’ll have a backup. It’s imperative not to put grease down the drain. It’s a slow killer.” “It’s like how you have a heart attack – plaque builds up slowly. Once it’s in there, you have a heck of a time getting it out.”

Lynes, who traded-in his Porsche race car when he bought his tractor, has been cultivating his three-quarter acre “town farm” for about a year on family land that once was part of a larger vegetable farm and before that a cotton plantation. He still works in Lynes Realty and Development Company, but he’s clearly a devoted gardener, too.

He barters his vegetables with local markets such as Davis Produce. Friends and neighbors get his chickens’ eggs. “I’m sort of in a learning process now,” he said. “I want to know what works, like bartering with people and giving stuff to friends.” And maybe, if it catches on, collecting used cooking oil.

The Way How to NOT Barter

Posted on November 23rd, 2009
Published on October  6th, 2009


For a new business starting out which is short on cash, barter is not a bad sustainable legal strategy.  When one company agrees to provide something for another company in exchange for a similarly valued product or service, a bartering transaction has occurred.  Both parties benefit from the exchange of each others needed services, and neither party needed to pony up the cash (but still report the received service as income and the offered service as an expense on your tax returns).

Even the US government got into the bartering business.  The Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department had a “Royalty In Kind” program that allowed energy companies to pay for the right to drill on government land with a share of the actual oil product recovered, instead of cash.  That oil was used to fill the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve or to make oil available on the open market.

A nice win, win scenario for everyone, right?  I’ll say.  The Denver-Post last year detailed that the government workers overseeing the program in Denver engaged in secret sex and drug abuse with oil company employees and accepted thousand of dollars in gifts while

handling the billions of dollars worth of these energy contracts.  The Interior Department’s Inspector General found that “in addition to the sex, drugs, and gifts, the employees [were] accused of rigging contracts, improperly helping oil company workers fix problems with their contracts, and working part-time as private oil consultants.”  Uh oh.

Alas, Congressional Quarterly reported that The Interior Department will scrap the scandal-plagued program.  Secretary Ken Salazar stated he intends to phase out the program as a first step in a series of broader reforms of oil and gas royalty collection.

If you are thinking of setting up a barter program with one of your partners, you probably do not need our help in avoiding problems such as these.  But if you have questions on this sustainable legal strategy, let us know.  We’re all in favor of alternative billing arrangements at Mayfield | Broderick, and we require neither sex nor drugs in exchange.