Bartering has been around since the beginning of time. It is an art that involves community, trust, and very little, if any, money. In our modern world of over-consumerism, ending up with lots of stuff that we have lost interest in, is inevitable.
With the cost of living rising and household incomes dropping, finding new methods to get the goods and services that our families require, is a financially smart alternative to credit.
Experts in bartering lay out the four steps that make the basis of a successful transaction:
- Make a list of Goods. Deciding what you own that you are willing to part with is the first step. Determine the actual value of the item by visiting resale websites such ebay.ca, kijiji.ca, and local resources such as AutoTrader.ca for vehicles. When using international websites always check as to where the item you are using as reference is located. Resale values on items differ from province to province and city to city.
- Make a list of Services. If your desire is to barter services, either for goods and/or services, create a list of things that you have experience in and enjoy doing. What could you teach someone? Do you have DIY skill? Are you a gardener or a baker? Calculate the value would you assign to these services based on the going rates of other non-commercial businesses.
- Find others to trade with. Start small with goods using friends and neighbours. Develop your negotiating confidence and work towards larger value items. Negotiating is a valuable skill, as you may be required to be quick on your feet, when bartering for an item that may be of particular demand and there is a time crunch. Sometimes you may arrive to do a transaction and find that your item or your trading partners is of higher or lower value than anticipated. Having the ability to negotiate and to know when to add another item or give/take a money offer to seal the deal requires skill.
- Finalize the deal. Some transactions may not be completed in minutes and need to put onto paper. Transactions that involve services, such as graphic design or dog-walking, will happen over time. Be fair and precise. Lay-down the terms, shake hands, and finalize either in person or via email when terms are firmly in place.
Craigslist.org is the go-to website for new and experienced barterers but did you know that the world of trading services has grown exponentially over the past 10 years? MoneyCrashers.com published a resource piece of 36 Bartering & Swapping Websites broken down into categories which is easy to follow and covers most of the world. Whether you want to swap homes, car-share or do business, the resources are there.
An important point to remember, when bartering for goods and services, is to take care of taxes. Revenue Canada has a comprehensive breakdown of what is taxable and what is not. SwapSity.ca is a Canadian online portal that has a comprehensive FAQ that provides hyperlinks to make searching the government website easier.
Helen Siwak is Editor-in-Chief of BLUSHVancouver & EcoLuvLux Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle contributor to Daily Hive (VancityBuzz) | West Coast contributor to Retail-Insider | contributing writer for Marble Financial.