The coronavirus pandemic has left many businesses short on cash because of closures or fewer customers. Even with the money from the Paycheck Protection Program, your business could probably use some help – unless you are considered an essential business. There is a way that you can get many services and products your business needs without cash – through bartering for it.
Bartering Has Returned
Over the centuries, bartering was the common way to buy or sell goods. Although coins and money did exist, the barter system would enable you to get the needed items for your home or business.
In today’s pandemic world, with many people not having an ongoing source of income – or a very limited one, you can often get the services and products your business needs through bartering. One agency, the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), says that they believe the annual bartered value is now between 12 to 14 billion dollars. The key is to be able to find someone who needs what you are willing to barter and to find someone who offers what you need.
No Money Needed
This method can be ideal because it takes little or no money to barter – depending on the terms you can arrange and where you go for bartering. There really is no limit as to what you can barter – without any money!
The Products and Services Available
You really can obtain almost anything through a barter network. Best of all, it often will not involve actual cash, unless you are trading objects or services of unequal value. It is possible to get ordinary services like haircuts, house cleaning, clothing, and massages, and to get business services such as marketing, electronics, plumbing, electrical, real estate, and much more – possibly even getting surgeries.
How It Works
Here is how it works. If you need a copier for your office and do not have any money, you would let it be known on the barter network. You announce what you have to trade for it and when someone wants what you have and vice versa, then a deal is worked out.
While barter sites work differently (you could use Craigslist), some of them will help promote your business. As you promote other businesses, you earn points, and others will promote your business. This lets you earn credits on the site. These credits are used for money.
Many barter networks are in existence now that can be used. Although some are free to list your company or small business, some networks will charge an upfront dollar fee. Most of them will usually charge (in barter bucks) for each transaction – which is often around seven percent.
Networks are also available that can help businesses sell products that have not sold, or you can sell overstocked products. Oftentimes, you sell them at retail prices so that you do not take a loss.
Advantages of Bartering
When dealing with a barter network, you can get an advantage. Several people may enter the trade – enabling you to get the items you need faster. Other businesses can learn about your business as well, helping you to get more customers.
One thing that you need to be aware of is that you do need to keep records for tax purposes. The IRS requires it to be reported using fair market value. Trading services is not required to be reported but going through an exchange will usually require it because the exchange will report it.
Find a Barter Exchange
Before choosing a barter exchange, be sure to check the reviews and understand how it works. It will be to your advantage, if you are looking for physical services, to find one that has businesses in your area.