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Bartering as Payment

Updated on February 22, 2008

Exchanging Goods & Services

When I lived in New York, I worked for a company that used bartering as a form of payment for some of their services. While most of their transactions dealt in the exchange of actual money, the owners enjoyed the benefits of bartering with other local companies.

Barter is a kind of exchange that does not involve money—it is exchanging goods or services for other goods or services.

For example, the company I worked for in New York, The Cybernet Place, designed a database for a local limousine service. In exchange, employees of The Cybernet Place received limo service. My bosses used this service whenever they needed to travel to the airport.

When I was in college, I used to babysit for extra money. One woman I babysat for couldn’t afford to pay me with cash, so we bartered. I gave her a service by babysitting, and she gave me a service by giving me massages (she is a professional masseuse).

Why not pay with cash?

Bartering allows you to work closely with local businesses. By exchanging services, you can help each other out. A small restaurant might not have the cash flow to pay to have a website built, but they can afford to barter with another company. In exchange for building the website, a company has credit at the restaurant. This credit can be issued to employees as payment or bonuses. When I worked at The Cybernet Place, I received gift certificates to a pricy restaurant as a bonus for a project I worked on. Another option is to use the exchanges to benefit the entire company. If you barter with a local coffee shop, you can provide gourmet coffee to your entire office every week in exchange for services that your employees provide for the coffee shop.

Bartering on a Small Level

I barter all the time with people I know. For example, one of my co-workers is taking night classes for a certificate degree. I edit her papers in exchange for her freshly baked bread. My aunt sponsors parent meetings one evening a week, and the parents repay her by taking turns bringing dinner to her family on the night she isn’t home.

Basically, when you barter, you are exchanging. I’ll give you this, if you give me that. Let’s make a trade. It is a great way for a lot of people and businesses to get the services and goods they need, even if they don’t have the cash flow usually required.

Bartering on a Bigger Scale

You can also barter on a larger level. In fact, you can find bartering organizations that arrange and connect businesses to each other. Not only does using these organizations introduce you to more barter opportunities, but it also helps you keep track of your bartering for tax purposes.

Do you barter? Share your ideas and experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.


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    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      Ha ha. Wouldn't that be fabulous?

    • profile image

      bogey047 9 years ago

      I wish the town would take some of my chichkens for taxes on my house?