Get what you want without having to spend a buck -

Get what you want without having to spend a buck

In a struggling economy, there's no doubt money is tough. Business owners say people just aren't spending the cash they do have like they used to and that's why they're turning to bartering to keep their businesses going.

"It's feast or famine some days," said John Herman, who owns a car detailing shop. "Sometimes it gets so slow that you just feel like closing up shop."

Herman said shutting down and giving up is not an option for him as he continues to try and earn a living. But he says bartering has been his saving grace.

"It's a great way to do business as well," he said. "Especially when it's an equal and fair exchange of products and services. There's no better way to do it."

Bartering is considered a business within itself to Herman and others who dabble in the trade.

"If you can get it without having to spend that cash, then by all means," said Herman.

You may remember learning about bartering in your high school social studies class or even in your college economics class.

Dr. Woody Hall is an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and said bartering is the most elemental and most basic form of exchange between individuals.

Hall said bartering has been around for centuries and becomes a viable option for many people facing a tough economy.

"With bartering, it allows you to get the equal dollar amount for the services you render for the services that somebody else has," said Hall. "Barter tends to resurface every so often and I don't think it ever goes away completely."

Hall said the act of bartering surfaces when unemployment is high, cash flow is low and times just get really tough.

It's a great solution for people who don't have the cash, don't have the coin and don't have the money to buy those products.

If you're interested in bartering, it is really simple to start. Those who barter say Craigslist and Facebook open up the field for networking to give people what they want, when they want it.

Most say the possibilities are endless when it comes to bartering. Hall said anything you want, but don't want to come out of pocket for, can be bartered.

Cars, boats, toys, tools, plumbing, electronics, land and even rent can all be bartered.

Herman barters his car cleaning services to his landlord, who's a car dealer looking to keep his cars shiny without spending a penny.

Herman said it's great because he knows he will always make rent and always has a customer. Even something as simple as getting your grass cut could be bartered.

Krystal Klass is another business woman who barters after the economy got the best of her house cleaning business.

"My yard is a mess and I don't have a lawn mower or time to," said Klass. That's when she got the idea to start bartering.

"I clean houses," she said. "There are plenty of people who do landscape, maybe someone will want their house cleaned in exchange for me doing their yard."

Klass had a couple clients and then they had to drop off right after tax time, she explained.

"The first thing they drop is the luxury service," she said. "Landscapers, housekeepers and nannies."

But bartering is harder than what it seems.

Hall said in order to get what you want, you have to have what someone else wants, so as a result you have to do some searching. Even with some searching, you might not get what you want.

Herman agreed, saying, "Sometimes you have to come out of pocket a little bit because it's not always an equal trade value, or sometimes you get helped out a little bit with some cash. But it all kind of comes out in the wash."

Herman is hoping others will at least try this form of exchange at some point or another, and perhaps even crossing paths with him and his services.

"I think bartering will always be around," he said. "It's convenient whenever times are tough and times are tight to keep business doors open."

Herman said it's all about keeping doors open and getting people what they need and want without having to cough up the cash.

Tips on how to start bartering:


  • Check out Craigslist. Even if you look at the listings in your town, many people across the state post their services and are willing to come to you.
  • Find groups on Facebook. Local counties often have groups where people post, network and share their services and products and are always looking for new people to join and offer what they have. 
  • Spread the word. You never know when a friend of a friend of a friend is in need of a detailing job or needs plumbing work done. If you don't put yourself out there, no one will.
  • Be careful. Know who you are bartering with. Often you don't record or document bartering "transactions," so just be sure who you are working with comes through with their end of the deal.


Copyright 2012 America NowAll rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Wiping the "sleep" from your eyes

    Why not to wipe the "sleep" from your eyes

    The Sandman may lull you to sleep, but he also leaves a few sprinkles behind in the corners of your eyes. People call it sleep, eye goop, crusties or sand, but no matter what you call it, the gunk keeps
    The Sandman may lull you to sleep, but he also leaves a few sprinkles behind in the corners of your eyes. People call it sleep, eye goop, crusties or sand, and no matter what you call it, it always appears after you've awoken.
Powered by WorldNow