Bartering has been around literally forever or nearly so. In fact, bartering predates the use of formal currency as a measure of exchange for labor or goods.
What is bartering? Simply put, it’s the exchange of goods or services without the use or exchange of formal currency. You may, for example, barter with a friend to mow your lawn in exchange for babysitting her children for two hours. Or, in a more formal arrangement, you may barter with your landlord to do maintenance or repairs for other tenants in exchange for a reduction in rent. It remains a useful way to exchange goods or services without having to bring money into the equation.
Now, bartering has a new twist. With the advent of the Internet, online barter sites are showing up everywhere. Some sites are local, while others have a reach that’s literally worldwide.
In general, these sites allow users to post ads on what they have to offer and what they would like in return. Some sites are free, while others charge a user’s fee. Care to Trade, at http://Caretotrade.com, is one example of a goods-exchange site. With Care to Trade, you can also have items shipped from anywhere, whereas other sites offer local trading. NOCO Hours (http://www.nocohours.org) focuses on Northern Colorado, for example.
To find a site local to you, go to your local newspaper or newspaper’s online site(s) and type in “barter.” In many cases, one will already be established. If not, do a bit of research if you like and start your own.
U-Exchange.com also offers tips on getting started with bartering online and not only offers listings by country, but also specific to individual states in the United States.
Google Groups offers specialized Usenet groups (many local) offering the barter of a variety of goods and services. http://Yahoo.com has over 600 mailing lists available offering a variety of locations, goods, services and bartering options. If these are not local to you, and this is what you would prefer, you can start your own.
Bartering has also made a comeback in the world of business with Internet trading. With “direct bartering”, business owners swap their product(s) or service(s) directly with their vendors in exchange for the vendor’s product(s) or service(s).
“Exchange bartering” means each bartering partner will use his extra time, goods or services to get “trade dollars” instead of direct goods or services from the other. These trade dollars can then be used to purchase goods or services from the other vendors. This works well when exchanges aren’t quite equal or need to be measured or kept careful track of. Barter Systems, Inc. is one online barter site that utilizes trade dollars as a measure of exchange for its members and is at: http://www.bartersys.com.
For more information on bartering and its history, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barter_(economics).