5 Tips On How to Barter Successfully.
With the popularity of the new A&E program Barter Kings many people who may have never considered bartering are jumping on the bandwagon.
Bartering is as old as time. You have a horse, I have a farm, you need food and I need manure so we trade.
1. Understand the value of your trade. I cannot stress this enough, you cannot trade “up” every time. This is not Hollywood, Barter Kings is a TV show, they don’t show the “even” trades. That wouldn’t make for good TV. Be realistic, I’m probably not going to trade you my $2000 motorcycle for your $800 trailer. (Unless I really, really need a trailer, and don’t mind the loss.) I would probably just sell my motorcycle and buy a trailer and keep the extra $1200.
That being said there are many ways to barter successfully. Currently, I am trading with another person in my area. She has extra produce from her garden and eggs from her chickens. I bake once a week and will provide her with a cake or pie. I get fresh produce to feed my growing family and she gets a cake she may not have the time to make for herself. This is a pretty even trade.
My husband traded a shotgun for a mini bike and an air gun. The values were pretty even.
2. Have a clear idea of what you want ahead of time and make it clear in your ad. I use Craigslist.org to barter, simply because more people know what Craigslist is and use it. The majority of ads are not good. Sometimes, it is difficult to know if what I have is something you will be interested in. An ad that says “I’ll trade my XYZ for anything let me know.” When I read this, I really have no idea if what I have is something you would be interested in. My time is valuable and so is yours. Make it clear what type of things you would be interested in. You don’t have to be specific, but a general idea is very helpful. For example the person I am trading fresh produce with said that last year she traded for homemade bread, that let me know what type of things she was looking for.
3. Take GOOD pictures. Just like with a blog, etsy shop, or ebay listing, good pictures sell (or in this case trade). There are many tutorials on the web that explain how to make your pictures look good. One of my favorites is Funky Junk Interiors Photo Tutorial. Although it is geared towards blogs it is helpful for any photo that you are going to post.
4. Be Safe. As with any time you are putting personal information on the web, be cautious. Don’t meet with people alone. Craigslist.org suggests the following precautions:
When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
- Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
- Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home
- Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going
- Take your cell phone along if you have one
- Consider having a friend accompany you
- Trust your instincts
5. Don’t forget the tax implications. So far I have only written about like trades, there are many other ways to barter. Service for service, service for goods, etc. You can read what the IRS says about bartering here IRS topics: Barter Income.
Remember Bartering can be fun. Don’t take it too seriously, you have the right to say no as does the other person, don’t take it personally. Bartering is a good way to build new realtionships, maybe even friendships.