ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Barter and Trade for Goods and Services

Updated on May 19, 2013
A newspaper illustration depicting a man engaging in barter, paying his yearly newspaper subscription to the "Podunk Weekly Bugle" with various farm produce.
A newspaper illustration depicting a man engaging in barter, paying his yearly newspaper subscription to the "Podunk Weekly Bugle" with various farm produce. | Source

Our forefathers did it and so did most of civilization at one point or another: Bartering or "trading" for goods and services.

I became familiar with "barter exchanges" as a small business owner, when my partner and I actually joined some barter exchanges throughout the years. Some worked well, others did not. Through trial and error, we learned about bartering, sometimes the hard way.

If you are thinking of bartering for goods and/or services, read on for some tips and advice of what to do and what NOT to do when bartering which other people or businesses.

Barter exchanges

In our case, my partner and I actually joined "barter exchanges", where all of our activities were regulated, followed, documented and ran under a certain set of rules and guidelines.

There are many barter exchanges out there, so when thinking about joining a barter exchange, make sure you do due diligence on finding out as much as you can about the exchange, how it works and how much the fees are to join and to remain a member (most barter exchanges also charge a percentage for each barter exchange between members, this is how they make money and stay in business)

Through the barter exchanges, we have many nice things that we have received in barter.

Some of the things we bartered for (we made signs for businesses on our end):

  1. A brand new queen size mattress and box spring (we still own this till this day - it was a VERY good set)
  2. Brand new wood sleigh bed with a headboard, foot-board and rails
  3. 2 matching nightstands
  4. Hotel rooms for my sons wedding party in Nevada
  5. Motel and hotel stays in Monterey
  6. Bed and breakfast nights in Monterey (one of our favorite places to visit)
  7. Besides lodging in Monterey, some weekends we ate entirely on barter at restaurants that were in the same barter exchange we were
  8. A fur coat
  9. Expensive designer clothing from stores in Monterey
  10. My wedding ring (well actually my anniversary ring) custom made by a local jeweler (valued at $3,700)
  11. Computer accessories (buyers beware with this though, read about this snafu barter in Barter Exchanges)
  12. Over $3,500 in new carpet in our home
  13. Massage services and spa services
  14. Italian suits for my husband - a belt and a designer label mans coat

    So as you can see, you can actually get quite a few goods through bartering, my examples being just some of the many things we have bartered for over the years.

This is the Patti Playpal doll that I traded for a Burberry coat and some nice purses.
This is the Patti Playpal doll that I traded for a Burberry coat and some nice purses. | Source

How to barter items on Craiglist and with private parties

Now that we are no longer members of an official barter exchange, we still barter but through private parties now. Although we have not been doing alot of bartering in the last few years, I plan to do more in the future because it makes financial sense for us. My partner and I have skills that others need and want (sign services, carpentry skills, writing and graphic design, among others)

For private parties that do not belong to a barter exchange, the next best place to barter is on Craigslist. If you have something that you are interested in trading with rather than selling it, you can post your barter item under the barter listing on any Craigslist site.

Make sure you also post good photos of your item as people want to see what the item truly looks like and its condition. Give as many details as you can about the item (you would be surprised the questions people will ask you)

Some people will trade you straight across with another item if they feel the value is close for both items, some people will barter with part trade and part cash, and in some instances, you many end up getting a higher valued item than what you have for trade (value is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, some things are hard to put a price on)

At the same time that you post your item, look at the barter ads of what people have to trade, and you may find something that you could trade your item for.

One of the biggest recommendations I make when dealing with Craigslist though is to be careful! There are some unscrupulous people out there that may try to scam you - so meet in public places if you can, and don't have large amounts of cash on you, ever! Take someone with you if possible or meet at a police station.

The last thing I bartered was a Patti Playpal companion doll with accessories for a Burberry trench coat and some designer purses. I did this on Craigslist and met the guy at my house in front with my family present. He wanted the doll for a photography project and I wanted to trade "up".

I only paid $5 for the doll so I feel I made a pretty good deal.

Trading labor back in the 19th century

A 19th-century example of barter:
A 19th-century example of barter: | Source

Poll on barter and trading

Have you ever bartered or traded for goods and/or services?

See results

Trading for services

Another way of bartering is to trade your services for an item, or another service. Maybe you are a tile person and you need some landscape work done. It's quite possible you will find a gardener looking for some tile laid in his house and he has some free time on his hands to landscape your yard.

People are looking to barter and trade all sorts of things, not just items. Some people will ask you to buy the materials and they will provide the labor and/or part cash. There are different variations of bartering, you just have to work with the person you are bartering with and figure out what's the best way to trade for the both of you.

Another one of my recent barters was a week of art camp for my grand-daughter in exchange for writing a hub about the importance of art for children and kids. So yes, you can absolutely also use your writing skills to trade and barter for things you need or want.

In this bad economy, bartering and trading is becoming more and more common. Cash strapped individuals often own items or have services that other people need and are willing to barter for.

Besides the fact that bartering makes sound economic sense, it's also quite fun. You never know what you may end up with - or get rid of!


Submit a Comment

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Ann) Great suggestion! Thanks for coming by, reading and commenting.

  • Ann810 profile image


    6 years ago from Sunny Cali

    Hi Dorsi, this is a great article, bartering is a good way to pay off debt if people are willing to negotiate services for goods or vise versa. The person that owes someone can use their talents, gifts, or skills to pay off debt . Thanks, awesome.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)