Will work for cookies and clothes, bartering for business
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Small business owners sometimes choose not to receive money for their work. They might choose cookies, clothes, pedicures and even oil changes as payment. It’s known as bartering or the trading of services. Before I started my business, I participated in non-formal barter agreements to secure part-time freelance work. Others barter to get their business up and running. Still others want to land that big client to gain visibility and prove their worth. And don’t forget about business owners who provide complimentary services so they decide not to pay one another.
To barter is to trade. When you trade products you establish that the items are of equal worth, right? What about when you trade a service, like public relations, for a tangible product? Whether it’s perception or reality, I believe one person will be left feeling under-compensated (or under-bartered?).
I’ve seen instances in public relations bartering where professionals overcharge their services and others who completely undervalue themselves. In both cases, one or both (the service or the product) feel they lost out.
Whether it’s perception or reality, I believe one person feels as though they lost out on the agreement (not to mention it screws up the fee structure for other PR professionals).
Carrie Kerpen, president, The K Buzz scored a large gifting company when she and her husband started their business. The client paid them in gifts that they could send to other clients. The work The K Buzz did for this client worked out exceptionally well and it turned into a full-time client.
This scenario landed the ideal result, but it is not always the case.
I love clothes and cookies, but it doesn’t mean I’m willing to barter for them. Perhaps right out of college this would have been an attractive arrangement.
What if we began paying one another in money as opposed to a traditional barter? Doesn’t the idea of payment make us more accountable to prices we quote?
I spoke with a marketing colleague who refuses to barter with anyone. She tells them outright that she’ll trade cash, not services. One of her accounts is a salon where she has a certain amount to spend there each month. She puts money back into their business and they put money in hers. It’s an equal trade for both.
Do you have a successful service for product barter story? A negative one? I’m interested in your thoughts.
P.S. I love peanut butter cookies.