Ya Wanna Trade?

Trading goes back to ancient times.  Before there was money, merchandise and services were exchanged for other merchandise and services.  In fact the earliest merchants were called "traders."  Even here in America in the early 20th century, it was fairly common for the local family doctor to take care of a patient in exchange for food or other items.

Trading is enjoying a resurgence as money gets tight and credit gets tighter.  "Barter exchanges" are clearing houses for trades between businesses.  For a small fee, they convert your excess merchandise or services for " barter dollars" which can be used to get things from other members of the exchange.

Writer Jorina Fontelera points out in a post from "Thomas Net" that some barter exchanges are enjoying double digit increases in business. 

In addition to being a way to obtain merchandise and services without a cash investment, barter exchanges can be an ideal way to turn obsolete merchandise into something you need.  Since barter transactions take place at "fair market value" (retail), in effect you're buying goods and services at a wholesale value.  For example, if you trade a $100.00 retail value item that you bought for $60.00, you're going to get $100.00 retail value in return.

Since members know that they're enjoying substantial savings, they're not likely to be too concerned if the item they're getting is a 2009 model or a 2007.    Of course you can avoid the barter fees by just asking your neighbor if he wants to trade a copy machine for a vacuum cleaner.  Simple.  Direct.  No paperwork.  It's a win/win.

Fontelera points out that you should be careful who you're dealing with.  Make sure the exchange is reputable or you might end up with a worthless pile of "barter dollars".  You should also make sure that there are members in the exchange who have things to offer that you want.  Having bartered in the past, I can tell you that there's nothing more frustrating than having a big balance in your account and nothing to spend it for.  Until you get the hang of this barter stuff, don't run up too big a credit balance.  $5,000.00 worth of hockey pucks might not be your cup of tea.  $5,000.00 worth of tea might not be your cup of tea.  As with any new business venture, be careful.

Check out International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) before you hand over merchandise.

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