Stout, Former Writer for BarterNews magazine
The techniques of
If the idea of "do-it-yourself barter" is scary,
practice in front of a mirror. What will we say to the
television technician when we want to exchange our
carpentry work for his or her repair? We can rehearse
our explanation of bartering, and also an description of
our skills and goods.
Start small. Until we are comfortable and skilled, we
might swap only our less-expensive items -- not our car
or expensive jewelry.
Watch other people while they conduct a trade. Perhaps
we can observe a friend who likes to barter, or we can
eavesdrop at a flea market.
Barter for some tutoring in the art of barter. An
experienced trader can offer personal instruction, and
an opportunity to practice.
Register for classes in the subject. The topic might be
listed in the curriculum of an adult-education program
or a community college.
Read more information about bartering. There are many
books, magazine articles, and website on this topic. On
the web, do a search on the word "barter."
Refer to the list of books on the subject in
Books In Print,
at a library.
Read the printed material from your barter club. The
manual and newsletters might present some techniques.
We can negotiate the
deal. Learn to
be a good negotiator so that you can be strong and creative
while you are creating a deal.
Make a list of other people who might want to trade.
Then, if we can't come to terms with the first person,
we can quickly go to someone else. If we reach the end
of our list with no success, we can go back to the first
prospect with a different proposition. That person might
be willing to accept a lower offer -- or perhaps we
might accept a lower offer.
Plan your visit so that you will be there when your
barter partner is most likely to accept the trade. For
instance, we would offer our motorcycle during the
spring season, or our tutoring just before exams, or our
income-tax counseling in early winter.
Get estimates. Do some comparison-shopping by calling a
variety of people. They will each have different values
regarding their work, and different values regarding
your barterable; for example, two carpenters might offer
to do a job for $125 and $150. But in a non-cash
exchange, the values might be more subjective; for
example, one carpenter might be willing to do the work
in exchange for our stained-glass artwork, but the other
might not want the item at all.
Offer a "boot," which is an additional, irresistible
item which we add to a deal. For example, we would say,
"I will give you the stove, and I'll add the pots and
Try a multiple-sided trade. For example, in a
three-sided trade, we would give a modem to the trombone
teacher who instructs the mechanic who fixes our car.