She may get a $20-million-per-picture paycheck, but movie star Julia Roberts is still a die-hard bargain hunter when it comes to clothes. Instead of buying her three kids the latest designer duds like other celebrity parents, Julia prefers “gently used” threads from the local thrift store!
When Julia, Danny Moder and their three kids are at the family’s ranch in Taos, Julia often piles the clan into the car to head off to Santa Fe and Albuquerque in search of a great buy.
“Heck, she’s been known to travel all the way to Tucson for a weekend of shopping at second-hand stores,” the source continued. “She refers to the clothes as ‘gently used’, ‘previously owned’ or, her favorite term, ‘vintage.’ She’ll come home from an outing at a thrift store with her armful of clothes for the kids and happily exclaim, ‘Look what I got for just ten bucks!’”
And Julia isn’t above wearing secondhand clothing either. Julia once reportedly fell for a floral-print dress she spotted in the window of a thrift shop in downtown Santa Fe, but realized she’d left her wallet in the car when she went to pay for it. So the frugal gal took off her jeans and swapped them for the frock.
I met Mike at the Dempsey Community Center in Ottawa one wintery evening in the early 90s. He is a very friendly guy and he came right up to me and introduced himself and his family members. We were attending a monthly ballroom dance event and all of us were fairly new to the pastime.
This was also right around the time that my first barter network was underway. It wasn’t long before I had a ballroom dance studio as a member and my members and I were enjoying lessons and dance events on barter. Although Mike and his family did not have an actual business they were eager to participate in the exchange so that they could take advantage of the dance lessons.
One day Mike showed up with a car full of retail items, clothing with the tags still attached, a selection of shoes and boots and even the actual store fixtures. As Mike explained it, his mother once had a high fashion retail store and the items that he was offering on barter came from the leftover inventory after the store closed.
The clothes were really high quality but they clearly came from a few seasons earlier. Nevertheless we opened up an account for Mike, took the inventory in and deposited the barter dollars into his barter account. It took some doing but we managed to find a home for most of the items from that first load.
Encouraged, it wasn’t long therefore before Mike was back with another car full of clothes. Again we purchased the inventory and cast a further net looking for members who would like the clothes and be willing to pay a fair price for them.
Meanwhile we were processing a flurry of transactions between Mike and the dance studio. The whole family was getting more and more proficient in dance. I was bumping into them all over town on the dancing circuit. It was such a beautiful sight to see, all of them, their delight clearly showing, enjoying a night on the town together.
Soon Mike was back with more clothes and ever more obscure accessories and store fixtures. My staff was starting to get a bit annoyed. “How were they ever going to find buyers for these clothes?” they would grumble. Nevertheless I took the clothes into inventory and we managed to dispose of them. Now I wish I had a few of the items as they were really high quality and , after over 15 years , some of them are now back in style.
In those days when Mike and his family spent their barter dollars on dance lessons I saw members scooping up fax machines, VCRs , pre-pentium PCs and all manner of electronics. The object seemed to be to trade for as many hard goods as you could get your hands on. Now, all these years later , the hard goods they traded for are in the trash heap.The same could not be said for Mike’s dance lessons. That was an investment that stayed with him for life.
As for the barter–eventually Mike ran out of inventory to trade. We had to close down the barter account. Time went by. I saw the whole family often as we all hung out at the same places dancers frequent. They moved from the home they had in central Ottawa into a mini mansion in the suburbs, complete with a ballroom dance studio in the basement*. By this time everyone in the family was sought after as a dance partner and a performer.
Mike teaching at his studio, Dance613
Years later Mike and I ended up at the same ballroom event . This gave him the opportunity to take me aside. He wanted to tell me what our exchange had done for his family, by making it possible for them to take thousands of dollars in dance lessons. Unbeknown to me, at the time Mike joined the exchange the family had been experiencing tough financial times. For those few years when they traded the remains of his mother’s retail store they were in constant fear of losing their home. “Jane”, Mike said, ” those dance lessons that we were able to take really helped us get through the hard times. Thank you so much for everything that you did to help us out”.
When people say to me ” barter is all well and good but can it get me what I need to pay my bills and put food on the table? “ I remember the lesson I learned from Mike and his family–sometimes we need more than just food for the table to get us through. Sometimes we need food for the soul.
* Mike is serving up his own barter soul food now at his dance studio: Dance613
……..”Some day”, when I had nothing else on the go, arrived! I was laid off in early 1993 from one of the few jobs I have ever had in the regular work force and I was at loose ends. An acquaintance asked me, in passing, what I planned to do next. Well, I said boldly, I guess the time has come to open that barter exchange I always planned to open when I had some spare time. “Really”, he said ” Are you buying the exchange my buddy, Brent, has for sale? “
So here I was going to bring a barter exchange to Ottawa and it turns out that there was already one here. What a surprise! I got the name and phone number of the guy with the existing exchange and arranged to meet with him to see if we could come up with a plan.
Indeed, there was a barter exchange already in town, but it was little more than a twinkle in the eye of the founder, Brent Thompson. Brent had a sign company that was his main business, and he had decided to start a barter exchange on the side. Over the years I came to see that kind of set up quite often. Business owners, often already barter members, think that they can just up and start an exchange and still continue their main business. It seldom works because a successful exchange takes 2-3 years to mature . During those 2-3 years you need to put in at least 8 hours a day prospecting, signing up members and stimulating trade, just to get things going. You will have little to no income during that time. The only way to side step this process is to buy an existing exchange or entice a goodly number of members from another local exchange to come over to where the grass may or may not be greener.
Brent did not have the option of enticing members of another local exchange to join because his exchange was the only game in town. So, he set out to sign up cronies of his in the business community. By the time I found him he had, over the course of about one year, managed to sign up about 15 businesses.Things had been going so slowly with the exchange that some of the business owners had since moved on and were no longer in business and others had totally forgotten that they were members. So really, Brent had no business to sell, outside of the name itself, Barter Connection Inc, the minute book and the yellow pages listing.
I liked Brent from the minute I met him. He was an honest and sincere guy. We struck a deal. He would throw in what he had done so far and we would work together as partners going forward. He would offer signage to members on barter and help me find new members from among his contacts. I would be responsible for building the business, signing up new members and getting the trades going. If I ever wanted to buy him out I could cut him a cheque for $5000 and the cost of the paperwork to process the sale.
To me this was fair. Brent had an excellent reputation in the business community, the all important ( at that time) yellow pages listing and he was willing to provide unlimited signage on barter to members. The signage was a vital service that definitely propelled initial membership sales along. But most important of all was the fact that Brent had a stellar relationship with the bank. His reputation allowed us to access credit right away and to be able to use all the various merchant services that banks offer to established businesses, but not necessarily to start ups.
I was psyched!
Shortly after the handshake which, between the two of us, was all that was ever needed, we went to work to finalize our new business relationship. Brent took me over to his computer, where he had all the files organized.
So”, Brent said, “here is how I have set it up. I’ve got an account on my computer for each of the members and I keep track of the credits just like a regular purchase or sale. I have a membership fee of $79 and I charge them 5% per transaction, which I guess is the going rate, wouldn’t you agree?”
I got kind of quiet but I didn’t want to let on to Brent what was going through my mind. I did not want him to know that I had no idea that this was how a barter exchange worked! For the previous 10 years I had been dreaming of one day owning my own barter exchange. All along I had thought that the way it worked was that the business owners paid an annual membership fee to join the “club” and then as an exchange owner you attempted to find matches between the businesses. So, as an example, if a printer wanted dentistry, you would see if you could find a dentist who wanted printing. And this “matching” service would be included in the annual fee. It never entered my mind to charge a transaction fee for every trade that was processed.
Wow, I thought, how much more do I not knowabout how a barter exchange works?
Shortly after I partnered with Brent the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) tracked us down through our Yellow Pages listing and invited us to attend their 1993 annual convention in Chicago. The convention is an opportunity for barter exchange operators from all over the world to convene , share barter stories and hone trading skills. It is also a place to get training and to forge international reciprocal trading alliances. There was no internet then. This WAS the internet for us. Needless to say, after realizing how little I knew about running a barter exchange, I cobbled together the $1,500 total required to make the trip (in non-barter money) and sent my completed application, with deposit cheque affixed, by return mail.
My daughter, who had moved across the country to Victoria, B.C., was performing last year at the prestigious Salsa Congress, in New York City. The event was being held in a high end hotel in the heart of the Broadway Theater District, where accommodations were not only expensive , but hard to even come by. It had been over a year since I had seen my daughter and I was determined to go to New York and see her perform.
What’s a BarterMom to do?”
My daughter, Michaela, second from left, with her dance team
First, I started sourcing out barter accommodations near where the event was being held. I found one small condo located not too far away, but when I didn’t make a firm commitment it was scooped. Then I found a motel in New Jersey. That was going to be a good hour or more through New York traffic to get to the event. I had to nix that.
Finally I happened upon a luxury 3 bedroom condo on barter overlooking the harbour and within an easy commute to the venue. Through a reciprocal exchange I was able to get restaurant certificates within walking distance of the dance event, and even tickets to a Broadway show. The price for everything, even in barter dollars, was quite high. However, it was doable. Now, how to find the money to get to New York and cover my expenses while I was there? That is the challenge every barter member faces. Of course we could crack open our wallet, but once you become a barter member you quickly acquire a lifelong aversion to using cash for any purchases, but especially for travel.
Vacation at exotic locations? Stay in luxury resorts usually financially out of reach to the average traveler? Barter members love to use their barter dollars to travel. However, a common complaint is that such things as airfare and sometimes meals are not available for barter when they travel outside of their local exchange. To some this dampens their enthusiasm. To the seasoned barter member this is just another challenge, and a chance to prove their resourcefulness.
Every year I process hundreds of travel requests for members . Sometimes it is for a business trip to a nearby city. Sometimes it is further afield to visit friends and family. It is also not uncommon to book business owners into hotels near a convention they are attending. And then there are the members traveling for pleasure. I put them into fishing and hunting resorts, quaint Bed and Breakfasts,RV rentals, camp grounds, luxury Caribbean resorts and even Disney World.
Often members ask for meals and airfare which are difficult to include in their barter vacation package.But this does not stop the savvy barter member from getting airfare and meals covered, nevertheless.
HOW DO THEY DO THIS? HERE’S HOW:
1. When making a travel decision always include in your plans non-barter members who can make a contribution towards the final tally.
2. Find a travel property on barter which is beyond what your fellow travelers could normally afford; for example a luxury timeshare in an exclusive resort. Your barter broker can assist you in your search.
3. Book a condo with additional sleeping quarters for your guests.
4. Determine what the actual out of pocket cash cost will be to you for airfare, or gas if you are driving, and such things as booking fees and even meals.
5. Offer your guests the opportunity to enjoy this luxurious travel experience for a fraction of what they would normally pay–you will pay for the resort ( with your barter dollars) and they will give back to you an agreed upon cash amount which will cover all or part of your out of pocket cash costs.
tip--Buy a timeshare condo with your barter dollars, making sure there is room for guests. You can then enjoy all the added benefits timeshare ownership brings. Your barter broker can source a wide variety of properties for you to chose from. Even purchasing with barter dollars there are some amazing bargains out there these days.
tip–When you are traveling on barter you will have the most success when you choose a destination from among the already listed properties and packages . While I wanted to be right at my daughter’s venue, by being flexible I landed a stunning condo only a twenty minute drive away.The more flexibility, the more chances of success. When my children were young I always looked for an already listed hotel with a pool or beach, within driving distance, so we could all pile in the car and have a carefree trip. With such options as swimming, jumping on the beds and saving all the soap samples, I knew my kids would have a fun time where ever we ended up staying .
Isobel and I set off for New York! (Johanne was camera shy!)
Drawing upon my many years of experience traveling on barter I was able to keep my wallet in my pocket for my entire trip to New York. Two close friends accompanied me and their contribution covered the cash booking fee for the luxury condo, the tickets to the event, the gas for the trip , and even the tips for the meals….And with the cash surplus I picked up a beautiful pair of dance shoes! BONUS!
The view alone was worth the trip !
This year, well before the New York Salsa Congress, my buddies were ready with their wallets open, to ante up for another fun filled weekend of dance. Their wallets will have to open wider, though—my daughter is performing in Australia now!
I recently had a meeting with a member at the office of a one of his business associates. This was a beautifully appointed office in a modern commercial complex. As we walked into the conference room the associate said to me:
It’s very nice to finally meet you. I understand that you got us that great hotel room last week and it only cost me $100 a night!”
I was a little confused for a minute and then I remembered that I had booked a few hotel rooms in Toronto last weekend for Rick. He is one of our more experienced barter members and he was employing what I like to call the ” in your jeans” business tripcash conversion.
When a business engagement came up in another city Rick took the opportunity to see if he could use his barter dollars to purchase the rooms for himself and his associates . Although there is never a guarantee that the rooms will be available in the locale requested, if successful a member has a chance to monetize their barter dollars by selling the room nights back to the associates for cash.
I see this kind of transaction all the time. It can be just a few room nights or it can be much bigger. Sometimes I will see a sports team in the mix. When it is a larger deal there is often a cash component but you can bet that the member is still monetizing a good chunk of barter change.
Unfortunately for Rick, he may not be tucking any more cash from this particular business associate back into his jeans. The business associate is a barter member now and we all know that barter members develop an aversion to using cash pretty darn quick!
When I approach business owners to do a barter analysis and determine whether or not barter can benefit their business, I often am told:
Barter is all well and good but what I really need is cash—cash to cover my overhead and to pay my staff.”
In fact, barter can help acquire and maintain reliable and qualified staff . Barter can create some real excitement at the office. Suddenly your employees will be able to elevate their lifestyle and access health benefits that previously were not available to them.
1.AWARD STAFF WITH BARTER BONUSES AND COMMISSIONS.Business owners are often challenged to both acquire and maintain good staff. Often there is no way that a small to medium sized business can compete in the job market with big corporations or government departments. By awarding staff with barter dollars, either by way of an incentive or as a top up to their salary, they can engage and maintain quality staff. Such awards to staff can be a legitimate tax deduction* for you and if the staff choose their purchases wisely it can make a big improvement in the lives of your employees.
2. USE YOUR BARTER DOLLARS TO PROVIDE AN INFORMAL BENEFIT PACKAGE FOR YOUR STAFF. In any barter exchange you will find a variety of professional health solutions available for you and your staff to choose from. Depending on your region, you could have dentistry available, chiropractic treatments, massage therapy, acupuncture, eyeglasses, and many professional therapists. The list goes on. Such health benefit purchases for staff can be a legitimate business expense* for your company and are often not taxable* for the employee. This is a win win for all.
3. Health and medical claims , whether the treatments are paid for using barter or for cash, are processed the same way. You submit a claim, including the receipt, and the insurance company will refund you all or a sizable portion of the treatment cost in cash. If you or your staff already have benefits you can STILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR BARTER HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, GET A RECEIPT, AND TURN THAT IN TO YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER FOR A CASH REFUND. Therefore, you can use your barter to provide a fully tax deductible benefit to staff, even if they already have coverage through their spouse, and they can turn that benefit back into a non-taxable cash bonus*.
4.BARTER CAN FUND YOUR STAFF EVENTS. A common way that members reward their staff is the summer BBQ or the Christmas Party.Using your barter you can have a spectacular staff event which employees will look forward to and appreciate year after year. You can cover everything from the hall to the catering to the decor and the door prizes.
5.KEEP YOUR STAFF FULLY BOOKED AND ENGAGED DURING DOWN TIMES. The rent is paid, the stove is fired up, or maybe the equipment is leased and the truck loaded. Your business is staffed and …..where are all the customers? Almost every business has down times and seasonal slumps. Nevertheless the overhead must be paid and the staff salaries have to be covered. Constant layoffs and lack of sufficient hours can lead to an inability to keep good staff. What better way to keep them motivated than to give them barter jobs during those slower times . If you are in the hospitality industry your staff will fight to serve barter customers. The orders are usually larger and the tips bigger. But no matter the industry, barter sales are typically less stressful to staff . Everyone wins!
Can you use barter to help cover your overhead and your staff ? Yes you can!
* Business owners and their staff should always seek professional tax advice when making allocations regarding barter sales and purchases.
My mother told me that when I was little people would stop her in the street to remark on my incredible Shirley Temple locks .
As I grew older I lost the curls and my hair became thick and wavy. At the hairdressers I would often get compliments about how extraordinarily thick and glorious my hair was. Of course, as was typical of most young people, I was never satisfied with the hair I was born with and wished it was curly when it was only wavy and sleek while it was flamboyant. I was either perming it or straightening it. I was also never satisfied with the colour of my hair. Over the course of about 10 years my hair went from it’s natural mousey brown to red, to blonde and to brown with highlights. I remember that at that time, in the eighties, I had an annual budget of about $800 for hair styling.Every hair was always in place. It was truly my crowning glory.
When I look back to those days , all I can think is how ungrateful I was for the lovely hair that I had been gifted with . And also, how thankful I should be to have had that time with my hair. I should have cherished every moment, making my hair feel special just the way it was. I should have never let a day go by without letting my hair know it was loved. I should have spent more time with my hair. In short, I should have realized that time is fleeting and what we have and what we take for granted can be snatched at any moment.
One of the last photos of my Beloved Hair, with me and my family, circa 1988.
For one day this hair was, without warning, taken from me, succumbing to a little known or understood condition called alopecia totalis.
What is this condition and what did this mean? I soon found that not very much has been discovered about what causes the condition and there is no known cure. Although the condition is not even remotely life threatening I have died of embarrassment more times than I can count. I remember once I caught my wig in the car door and left the car with my hair still in the driver’s seat. Another time I caught my wig in the entrance door on my way into a sales meeting and left a major part of my planned ” first impression” in the door jam. Then there was the time I was having a dance lesson. It was a waltz lesson, I recall. My wig caught on the instructor’s shirt button. We were locked together and –you guessed it–the hair remained in the locked position while I waltzed past.
There are thousands of people with my condition in Canada alone. I met a lady once who told me that she was in the pool with her children and as she was splashing around she saw her hair floating by. Me, I just say I don’t swim when the subject comes up . Even my children don’t know that I am a very good swimmer and diver and once , years ago, water skied in shark infested waters off Hong Kong Island.
Not too long ago I experienced perhaps the greatest humiliation ever. I was on the dance floor ( I guess by now you may have guessed that dancing is my passion) , enjoying a salsa with a gentleman who is fairly short in stature. He lifted his arm to twirl me and swiped my hair right off my head. The wig went flying across the dance floor and I had to go after it , bend over and stick it back on my head. All eyes were on me as I tried to do this as nonchalantly as possible and pretend that this was the most normal thing in the world.
And then there are the eyebrows. Unfortunately, I also lost my magnificent eyebrows. They were luxuriant, they were shapely and they framed my big green eyes perfectly. At least that is how I now remember them. When I had them I considered them to be a pair of pesky bushes that needed constant grooming. I challenge you to try to draw a set of matching eyebrows onto your forehead without any kind of guidelines. Try to get the eyebrows to stay drawn on all evening. Can’t be done. Once I was drawing on my eyebrows prior to an important sales meeting when I took a call and got distracted. Coming back from the sales meeting I glanced in the rear view mirror and what did I see? I had forgotten to draw on one of my eyebrows and I had given the entire presentation with only one eyebrow. No one had said a thing!
People may be shocked to know that alopecia totalis sufferers get absolutely NO FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE from the government when purchasing a cranial prosthesis to restore hair to their scalp. As well , there are next to no insurance benefits provided by private Canadian insurance companies . My doctor helped prepare the voluminous documents required to apply for funding through the Ontario Ministry of Health’s Assistive Devices Program, which provides grants for many types of prostheses. She was shocked to find out that I was not accepted, because , as she said, I most definitely needed a prosthesis. I also made a claim with my insurance company for a prosthesis and the claim was denied. I launched several appeals, all to no avail. If you have lost a breast, or an arm, or a leg, both the government and insurance companies have programs that will get you the funds needed to help with the purchase of a prosthesis. No one who has lost a breast, or an arm or any other visible part of the body need worry about finding the money to purchase a prosthesis–and they shouldn’t.
However, of you have no hair and require a cranial prosthesis, which is a specially fitted medical wig that will look authentic, fit snugly and comfortably, and NOT FALL OFF , you must find the money yourself. This goes for adults and children. Such devices are in the range of $2500+each per year, and two are required initially. If you do not have the money you have no choice but to wear a regular wig. These off- the-shelf products are ill fitting, uncomfortable and will be sure to let you down just when you need them most.
Without the assistance of the government or my insurance company, finding the dollars to purchase my own prosthesis was impossible. Imagine my delight when a promotion for a hair restoration company ,HRS Of Atlanta came across the barter desk recently from our affiliate in Georgia. It seems that this company, which provides various hair restoration solutions depending on the situation, is a very active barter member in Atlanta and is always looking to expand their barter sales.
You would expect that, because they are providing this service on barter, the service or the product would be sub-standard . In fact, nothing could be further from the truth in this case. The service has been superb and the quality of the end product has been beyond reproach.A very high quality unit was rushed to me as soon as I placed my order, ensuring that I would not be without some kind of proper coverage from day one. Right now I am eagerly awaiting a custom designed and fitted prosthesis which is being hand crafted for me to my exact specifications . I would never have found HRS of Atlanta if they had not been a member of our barter network of over 50,000 business owners throughout North America. And I would never have known of the wonderful service that they provide, helping sufferers like myself get their life back.
Janet Brown, A More Beautiful You
And those eyebrow malfunctions I used to have–no more! For two years now I have had my eyebrows semi-permanently inked by Janet at A More Beautiful You, a barter member right here in Ottawa. In fact, I like the results so much that I enjoy her other services also—semi-permanent eyeliner and lipstick.
Often, people say to me, ” barter is all well and good, but what I really need is cash”. Yes, I could have used some help from the government in the form of a cash grant that they give in unlimited numbers to others who need prostheses. Yes, I would most certainly have put any money my insurance company had awarded me to good use. But while cash can be great if you can get it, barter can have the ability to deliver for you when you really need it, and that is one claim that cannot be denied.
“Monetizing“–It’s all over the net these days and the terminology has made it into the mainstream. I was talking to a personal coach recently who told me that she specializes in helping professionals monetize their life. She takes them from simply being an expert to turning that expertise into actual money.
I found what she had to say to be very valuable for many reasons. Foremost, however, was because I realized that this is what I already do for my clients. I help business owners use barter to gain extra business that they wouldn’t have otherwise. And then I help turn that barter business back into cash.
For the last 20 years I have called this nifty thing that I help business owners do “cash conversion”. People would kinda look at me sideways when I dropped the phrase which is barter gobbledegook to them. So then I would have to explain it. But it seems that what I do has a name for it that people are now recognizing . It is called monetizing. Fine by me!
So what does “monetizing your barter” mean?—it means using this new found and often easily acquired barter money to buy something which will result in new fashioned money.You pay only the incremental cost of your product or service to start on this road .”
Business owners barter their goods and services for various reasons. Bartering to get more new fashioned money should not be the only reason. However, it is an easily achievable goal and should never be overlooked.
If you are unable to arrange a one-on-one barter with a business owner, you should seriously consider joining a barter exchange—if you are not already a member. When you are a member of a barter exchange you can accumulate barter dollars through sales of your products and services to business owners. These dollars are deposited into your account and you can use them to purchase from any member in the exchange.
The exchange operates like any other payment processor ( for example, paypal or a merchant credit card processor) and outside of the actual barter transaction you need only pay the exchange the payment processing fee. However,unlike paypal or a merchant credit card service, a barter exchange will work hard to drive sales of your product or service and provide ways for you to spend the resulting barter dollars.
Here are 5 ways to Monetize Your Barter:
1. The best and easiest way to monetize your barter is to use the barter dollars that you earn to BUY ADVERTISINGfor your company.This will drive new, regular customers to your business who will increase your sales volume. Your business will become more profitable and have an added resale value through an the increase in equity that added sales brings.
2. Another common way to monetize your barter is to BUY SOMETHING WITH YOURBARTER DOLLARS THAT YOU CAN TURN BACK INTO CASH through your normal sales and distribution channels. This does happen with the barter exchange arena, but seldom can you find this in a one-on-one barter. Example : Cottage Resort member who qualifies for toolinventory purchase.In a barter exchange there are often members with excess inventory and liquidation itemsthat they need to move, perhaps due to time sensitivity issues. You can scoop these with your barter dollars and resell them for actual cash.
3. PAYING FOR SOMETHING THAT YOUR BUSINESS ALREADY USES on an ongoing basis already is a common way to monetize your barter . In it’s purest form, you find a product or service that you need for your business, and you arrange with the supplier to trade your goods and services for their goods and services, one-on-one. I did thismyself and it can be effective. The reality,however, is that this situation does not always work out. This is because you would need a full time team out there on the look out for trading partners. And you would need a referee available to handle any disputes should one party feel that it wasn’t a fair trade. But once you are a member of a trade exchange you are able to use the exchange to earn dollars from one member that you can then use for what you need from another member.This guy does a reallygood job ofexplaining the process. And if you can use the barter dollars to pay for things that you need to buy anyway, you have monetized your barter dollars.
4. The old adage, PAY YOURSELF FIRST, applies in the barter world as well. Why are you in business anyway, if not to make money which ultimately lands in your own pocket? A friend of mine said that if you are not making a living then it is just a pass time. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with bartering for personal expenditures. Both Revenue Canada and the IRS have ruled that a barter transaction is to be treated just like a regular cash transaction. So you may ask,”Why should I then barter?” And I will always say” If avoiding taxes is the only reason you would want to earn money, then why are you getting up in the morning and going to work?” Barter made it possible for you to be able to get these goods and services by sending you extra business that you would not have otherwise and you are only paying the incremental cost to produce your product or service plus the exchange payment processing fee, if the barter was through an exchange.
5. MONETIZE YOUR BARTER BY GAINING NEW CUSTOMERSthat you wouldn’t have otherwise and use those new customers to expand your marketplace. When I was in the advertising industry I regularly bartered with business owners to gain accounts in business categories that I did not yet have . I then went to other businesses in those categories now filled by barter clients and was able to land significant cash sales. Since getting into the barter exchange business I have seen that concept expanded upon. I have seen contractors land cash business when they do a barter contract and place a sign on the lawn of their barter customer. I have seen SEO engineers and website designers get cash spin off when they do a barter deal. Invariably, if you do a professional job and treat the barter customer as you would any customer, the barter leads to cash referrals. I have lost members who said that they got so many cash referrals and spin offs that they had to stop bartering all together. They were now booked solid and did not wish to expand their business further. In fact, my first question to a new prospective barter member is ” can you handle morebusiness?”…….because that is what barter is all about. More sales and more referrals. If that is not a goal that you have , and it is not the goal of every business owner, then DO NOT BARTER!!
I know that there are many ways to monetize your barter, most of which fall into the categories above. However, I welcome any contributions that you may have!
..a key concept in economics, and has been described as expressing “the basic relationship between scarcity and choice“. The notion of opportunity cost plays a crucial part in ensuring that scarce resources are used efficiently. Thus, opportunity costs are not restricted to monetary or financial costs: the real cost of output forgone, lost time, pleasure or any other benefit that provides utility should also be considered opportunity costs.
Did that help you understand the concept? My guess is that it did not. Let me try to put this in layman’s terms that the average business person who is trying to run a profitable business and not bother with fancy titles after their name can understand.
As a Certified Trade Broker I am sensitive to the opportunity costs of my business owner barter members who are in a vulnerable position due to the time sensitive nature of their product or service. It is my role to make sure that their losses from forgone output are minimized.
What is a time sensitive product or service? This is a product or service that sells within a time frame or has a best before date. I will use the hospitality industry and the advertising industry as examples.
When the hotelier or the publisher wakes up in the morning, whatever room remained empty or whatever ad space was not sold yesterday is a lost opportunity never to come around again.
When combining this situation with the low incremental cost of bartering the products and services of hoteliers and publishers it is essential that members of those industries maximize their sales opportunities before the window closes and is lost forever. And barter therefore becomes a very attractive option.
There are many other industries with a similar situation. Here is just a partial list:
Hotels, B&Bs, Resorts,Advertising,Publications,Seminars and Courses, Fitness Clubs,Events–anything where tickets are sold,rentals of any kind–you name it,anything that requires “bums in seats” ( as we old folks used to say), so that could be restaurants, seminars,trade show booths.
Also any product which is quickly becoming obsolete or outdated falls into this category.If they are sitting on a pile of stuff that is going to become outdated or obsolete soon, then the incremental cost it took to produce each item is moot—the 40% ceiling I usually recommend for incremental cost to produce can be thrown out the window. I mean , even if their original cost of sale was 89% if it is sitting in a warehouse not turning back into something the business owner can use to grow their business it needs to be moved and fast!!!
I have just given a few situations. I welcome any added examples and be sure to send them to me in the comment box.
If you look at the list above you will see that all of the examples have 2 things in common–they have a low incremental cost and they are time sensitive. If you still are wondering what exactly I am talking about you would not be the first. You can always drop me a line and I will analyze your particular situation and give you an honest evaluation of the suitability of bartering your products or services. You can reach me at 877-799-3301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The real estate “in your jeans” cash conversion is really straightforward and it really works out nicely if you are scrambling to put together the cash to buy another property.
This is how it works—you list your property for sale with one of our members who is a real estate agent. You negotiate the commission with them as usual. However, the real estate agent offers to charge you in barter dollars for their personal portion of the commission, after the brokerage is paid their portion Their portion is typically 2-3% of the total commission .
When the sale closes the real estate agent will receive their commission as usual in cash . They will then process a transaction whereby they take payment of their commission in barter dollars. The barter dollars leaves the members account and gets dropped into the real estate agent’s account. At the same time the real estate agent cuts a cheque back to the member selling their property. This cheque can be for a very sizable amount and can really make a difference to the bottom line.
This same kind of cash conversion can be done if you are using a real estate agent to buy a property. They can also barter their commission on the buy.