Barter Misconceptions

Bartering is Only for the Rich, Bartering is Only for the Poor

Bartering is beneficial no matter what financial bracket you fall into. When it comes to items, it’s simply something you no longer need or use, replaced with something you do. If it’s services, it’s an exchange of professional skills that are needed without money switching hands. It’s also filling a void of a slow workweek that still benefits you.

Bartering is Illegal, Look Out for the Tax Man

Bartering is not illegal. If you are business bartering, what is illegal is failing to claim these transactions on your income tax returns. What you supply counts as a sale and the goods/services you receive counts as an expense. When it comes to personal items you don't need to claim these trades on your taxes. If you were selling a bike in the newspaper for example, you wouldn't claim that sale because the bike was purchased with after tax dollars.

Bartering is Just a Fad Right Now

Is it? Think back…way back. How long has bartering been around and why has it been around so long. It’s to fulfill a need or want. We don’t have to be in an economic crisis to reap its rewards. During our current recession, people have turned to bartering as a way of making ends meet but I’ve heard too many times how they should have done it sooner or why they never thought of it before.

Why Would I Barter When I Could Just Sell it? 

When you barter, the item you have holds more of its value. How many times have you put something up for sale, whether on a website, yard sale or newspaper, only to be offered a ridiculous price for it? I’m sure you’ve preferred to hang on to that item then to sell it for such a low price. Having said that however, when bartering, you need to remember that it’s not what you paid for the item but it’s worth now.

What’s better is that it may be worth even more for someone that’s interested in your item. Just a couple of examples of this would be a collector of art, rare coins, etc. or someone who desperately needs a vehicle.

I’ve Posted My Listing but No One Has Contacted Me 

When you barter, you compete with other people who have the same item. You need to market yourself so people will pick you to contact among the crowd. How? Details. Would you contact someone who just had the word “car” in their listing or would you contact someone who’s taken the time to explain the make, model, year, mileage and color of the vehicle along with clear photos.

We frequently compare posting a listing on a bartering site to posting one on a dating site. You wouldn’t just list “Man seeking woman” or “Woman Seeking man”. You’d go into a little more detail. Age, occupation, location, interests, etc.

Bartering isn’t like selling where you post an ad, leave and wait for replies. You need to get out there and contact others yourself. Some people are open to all kinds of ideas and may be willing to trade with you…if you just ask.

Asking the Right Way

If you’re interested in someone’s swap listing and you’re contacting them through e-mail, what you never want to do is end your message with “If you’re interested, let me know” or “Either way, Thanks for your time”. Sure it sounds polite but now you’re waiting for a reply that you may not get or left wondering if they received your message at all.

The best thing to do is end your e-mail in the form of a question. “Would you be interested in this?” or "Let me know, yes or no". Even if that person isn’t interested in your offer, it’s a confirmation on your part that they’ve received your message. How many times have we accidentally deleted an e-mail while sifting through spam in our e-mail inbox? A prompt reply means you can either take your agreement to the next level or continue your search for someone who is interested.

Sounds Great but I Don’t Have Anything to Barter

Sure you do. What you have to offer is an item you don’t use or need anymore, what you do for a living, what you’re good at it or what you’re willing to do in exchange for what you’re looking for. Everyone falls into this category.



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