Bartering is an age old term but we all seem to have different ways of saying it and different opinions of what it means. We refer to it as swap, barter, trade or exchange but they all mean the same thing.
First off we can assure you that an item or service for cash is not considered bartering, it's considered selling.
There are all different types of bartering. There are barter exchange groups that use a scrip in lieu of cash. This is great for companies with extra inventory that needs to be moved. The downside is that this can also lead to inflated prices due to business owners trying to recover the cost of belonging to the barter group.
It is then left to the barter exchange to crack down on businesses that inflate their prices when bartering. They're hesitant on doing this however because they lose the membership and commission fees if the company decides to leave the group. This can sometimes mean thousands of dollars.
There are also message boards that will add on a small barter area catering to their niche. This is a great way to meet people that share the same interest if for example, it was a barter section for collectibles.
Not so good if it was a message board catering to a certain profession. An electrician wouldn't barter for electrical work. In this case, they limit themselves to other possibilities. We all know that half the time people end up trying to sell something on these message boards, as educating people on bartering is not their top priority.
Then there are barter groups which can take a little more work but usually the price is right. It's more affordable because the barter group is not setting up the exchanges for you. Depending on the size of the group, you can also have the freedom of contacting whoever you like and possibly coming across an offer you hadn't thought of.
Some groups allow contact from guests or visitors while some are more private with "members only" exchanging. Each is beneficial to the person trading because there's no middle man and by broadening the number of people you barter with, the more success.
The most ideal situation would be bartering with a circle of friends. People who are lucky enough to do this know that the trust factor doesn't get any better. Problem is, the majority of us don't have hundreds or thousands of friends.
If you are new to bartering and haven't started yet, do a little shopping around. It's fun, economical and you may make a couple of friends along the way. If you're really lucky, you might make a hundred.
Barb Di Renzo and John C. Moore are the Owners and Editors of http://www.u-exchange.com A worldwide barter website dedicated in providing consumers and business owners a variety of ways to barter services and goods at no cost. They are also the authors of Barter 101, an informative guide for people who are new to bartering online.