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the world, with the click of a mouse.
Successful one-to-one trading relies on
putting together relationships with the same
standards, expectations and contractual detail
as for any cash client. It’s a good idea to put
agreements in writing, outlining dollar
amounts and specific expectations in case
there’s a dispute.
As long as both parties believe they are
getting their money’s worth, and each is providing the same value and workmanship as to
a cash customer, one-on-one trading is fairly
easy to orchestrate.
A more formal approach to trading is
through barter exchanges. Barter exchanges
trade credits. ;e lawn-care profes-
sional may decide to eat out at a
restaurant, hire an accountant, have
his truck repaired or use barter as part
of an employee bene;ts program.
Steven Van Yoder is an author and freelance
are “mini economies” comprising member
businesses. ;ey provide a barter currency, or
trade credits, and, for a small commission,
promote commerce between their members
and provide monthly statements of all transactions (see “Joining a barter exchange”).
Barter exchanges overcome the limitations of one-to-one trading. Barter credits can
be used like cash with other exchange members, when, where and with whom you desire.
For example, a lawn-care professional
needing a Web site could contact a Web developer in his barter exchange to utilize his earned
A relatively new twist on local bartering is
the advent of Time Banks, which o;er individuals and businesses a community-ori-ented, time-based currency where the unit of
exchange is the man-hour. ;at hour goes
into a Time Bank as a Time Dollar, which can
be spent with other Time Bank members.
Membership is expanding in the more
than 200 Time Banks around the country,
which are often grafted onto nonprofits,
churches or businesses. Hour Exchange
Portland (HEP), in Maine, for example,
allows members to swap computer help, legal
services, meals, pet sitting and more. HEP has
more than 700 members and provides more
than 1,600 services.
Common Security Clubs are another new
concept enabling individuals to form local
economic support networks to deal with the
economic crisis. Clubs can be launched by
anyone and are based on a free curriculum
that can be used by churches, neighborhood
organizations, unions—anywhere 20 people
IF YOU JOIN A barter exchange, expect
to pay an initiation fee (typically $100 to
$500), annual dues and a 10 to 15 percent
commission on every trade. In return, the
exchange will provide ongoing account
maintenance, a monthly statement, checks
or debit cards and a membership directory.
Before you join a barter exchange,
review a listing of active member businesses to ensure the exchange can ;ll your
needs. Determine that the exchange fosters
a strong barter “economy” by adding new
members on a regular basis. Insist that a
representative be assigned to your account
for added personal service. Finally, ask to
be issued a line of credit so you can begin
trading right away.
For a list of barter exchanges in your
area, and to compare the services and fees
of other exchanges in your community,
contact the International Reciprocal Trade
Association, or visit their Web site ( www.
irta.com) and type “member directory” in
the search box.—SVY