Originally on http://www.gettingmoneywise.com/2011/12/swap-share-and-land-bartering.html
Inevitably, the needs of the entire population are met by one means or another. Each day millions of people either purchase, exchange products or lend goods and services. Renting and leasing belongings between private parties is fast becoming the most popular way to save money, earn cash and help save the environment.
Bartering Goods and Services
Bartering is the exchange of services or goods between two or more parties. Historically, bartering replaced money in times of economic crisis. Bartering was usually a transaction between total strangers or potential enemies. These days history is repeating itself and the barter system is alive and well in cities and neighborhoods all over the world.
Most people have exchanged goods or services with family or friends. People who know one another lend or swap tools and other household items on a regular basis. Today’s barter system has reached new heights with organized bartering systems that bring complete strangers together to swap merchandize, time or other services. Entire communities unite to lend and share through organized networks; saving time, money and resources.
Thousands of systemized bartering programs have been in existence for many years. They have built huge membership bases that are linked together and allow members access to offer and request goods and services as needed. Most of these programs link people who live in the same neighborhoods. The neighbors barter for things like home and auto repairs and music lessons. Many offer monthly meetings for members to socialize and get help and ideas. Members report that association with the barter groups has resulted in lasting friendships.
Corporate barter involves much larger transactions and businesses than regular bartering. Commonly, businesses barter advertising or media exposure for what is called “trade credit”. For example, manufacturers may barter excess inventory rather than trying to sell it by conventional means. The manufacturer will often transfer title of the inventory to a corporate barter company that issues trade credits at wholesale value. Trade credits are used “buy” advertising or other needed purchases.
Corporate barter has grown globally for over 30 years. The majority of corporate bartering is done by huge corporations; most with annual gross sales of over $10 million. As such, many corporate barter companies operate very discretely; without providing details of the transactions or the corporations involved. Recently, the UK announced its first corporate barter system. Members of the London based barter pool pay annual fees based upon the size of their organization. They are then issued identification numbers which let them utilize the system in order to trade. The managing director views the system as a means for businesses to preserve their profit margins, increase sales and ease cash flow.
The most common reasons people give for the need to ride share include the high cost of gas, less wear and tear on vehicles, lighter traffic and to decrease fossil fuel use to help save the planet. But another good reason to share driving is the benefits that socialization with others can offer. Global rideshare programs combine all of the above reasons with social networking in which members get to help others and receive help too.
These networks are popping up in countries all over the world because of the success of earlier programs. One network, in operation for over 12 years, has matched up over one million drivers and passengers willing to share a vehicle. Ride sharing networks usually require joining the website and placing a listing to either offer to a vehicle to share or request a ride share partner. Similar to social websites, users can search for potential matches based upon their needs. Members are required to keep listings current by renewing their listing each year.
Child and Elderly Care
Millions of people face the dilemma of providing care for their young children or elderly relatives. For many, the cost of such care is prohibitive and families are forced to make unfortunate sacrifices. The recent surge in swapping child and elderly care has proven to be the perfect solution for families around the world.
Swapping babysitting tasks saves money since payment is in the form of reciprocal sitting services. It also gives the children from both families a chance to get together and play. But the primary reason many people engage in babysitting co-ops is the security in knowing that their children are being watched by other experienced parents that are more likely able to handle the demands of taking care of children. The co-ops are operated much like other trade systems; parents sign up and place ads on the website. Members find compatible matches and interact through arranged meetings if both parties are interested. Several babysitting co-ops also offer pet care swaps on their website for pet owners to arrange care for their animals.
Cooperative care for elderly or ill relatives is very popular in the United States, Canada and all over Europe. The need for these services is a result of family members that need to take care of other issues in their lives while providing quality care to their relative. The co-ops join families based upon location and need. Because the caregivers themselves are owners of the co-op, they have the motivation to provide the best care possible. In addition to excellent care, all parties receive added benefit of making new caring friends.
Human beings will forever have the need for transportation, products and services and care. Generous people have always been eager to share, lend or swap what they have with friends and neighbors. The Internet and other technology have provided opportunities to extend the reach of this generosity using innovative programs and concepts in order to meet the needs of the human race.