Capitalism isn’t doing well these days leading the entrepreneurial among us to embrace bartering. Traffic to Craigslist’s bartering section has more than doubled since last year as people to try to make use of skills that might not otherwise have much value.
Boise beautician Heather Wood has traded haircuts and pedicures for years of day care, kids’ clothes, a paint job for her car, an oil change, a set of professional portraits for her family and dental cleaning.
“It’s fun, and it builds a whole different kind of a relationship,” said Wood, who has five children. “They’re getting what they want and I’m getting what I want. I would much rather do that than make cash most of the time.”
These days, making cash isn’t always an option, so many have decided it is worth the effort to trade, say, an outgrown kid’s bike for a neighbor’s lawnmower, or a massage for some gardening supplies.
“I’m finding it a little bit difficult to sell anything right now,” said Jeremy Kildow of Nampa, who chose bartering when he decided to get rid of a $1,000 camera, a kayak, a stainless steel kitchen range and other items.
Kildow put his stuff on the Boise-area Craigslist site under “barter” and suggested horses, pack mules, a four-wheel-drive truck, a computer or a flat-screen TV in exchange. So far, he’s had an offer of a truck, some computers and a wedding ring.
The AP brings us a few tips for successful bartering agreements from the University of Illinois, which apparently has some sort of experience in bartering…
- In General
- Figure out who’s buying what in advance.
- Assume nothing. Agree on the specifics of everything in advance, in writing if needed, and make sure that nobody is walking around with unreasonable expectations.
- When You Provide A Service
- Please, don’t offer to do things you can’t do or you’ll ruin bartering for the rest of us.
- Provide regular and clear updates on your end of the deal, especially if something is going wrong.
- Don’t forget to pay taxes on any income earned. Tax Cat tells us more information is listed in IRS Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.
- If You Receive A Service
- Make sure the other person is qualified to do the work.
- Go over everything in advance so you understand exactly what you’re getting and if anything is required from you.