How do I learn bartering?

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I was interested in your article on bartering. I have thought about trying this many times, but every time I look into it, I seem to come up empty. I can see being a model at a salon (as I did this several years ago), but when you get into other areas such as the English lessons or tutoring, how do you find the people to barter with?

I used to type for a living, before computers. I made good money at that charging by the page. I thought about bartering that service with someone who still wants a typist such as a writer or small business, but again, how do I locate the people who might have a service to trade with me? Maybe I'm just not being creative enough? Are there any ideas you might have?
Carol B.

Learning to Barter - Conversations

Part of the key of bartering is to decide what you want to have done and then raise the issue with someone who is able to provide that service. For instance, I "paid" for my own piano lessons through high school by cleaning my teacher's house. I also recently had some woodworking done for my home remodel by babysitting for a friend who does woodworking as a hobby. He was happy to create my projects in return for spending quality time with his wife. When you find someone who can perform the service you want, start a conversation with them and see if you can do something they would appreciate in return.
Jenny in Seattle

Learning Barter? Fill a Need

To barter language lessons, you need to go to places where you might encounter people who speak that language. That would include ethnic restaurants, ethnic food stores, and organizations that assist migrant workers or refugees. Talk to the person in charge, who usually speaks English. You can explain that you are hoping to trade language lessons and ask if they know anyone who is interested. Oftentimes, they will, and many times, you can post a flyer on a billboard. Universities are also another good source, and you can often post flyers there.

To barter your typing services, contact organizations that your target audience might frequent. That includes local chapters of professional organizations, such as the American Marketing Association and the Society for Technical Communications. Contact the head of the local chapter and ask if they know anyone who might be able to use your services. In addition, you can often put up flyers at coffee houses and universities (think "term papers"), libraries, and sometimes office supply stores.

Getting Barter Word Out!

Try putting a classified ad in the paper. Or, even better, since it's free, go around town and put flyers on bulletin boards advertising your service. You don't necessarily have to include bartering on the flyer. You can negotiate that when you get a call. Where you put the flyer would depend on what type of service you offer, but I suggest grocery stores (many have a memo board by the door), fraternity and sorority houses, convenience stores, and even telephone poles on a busy street corner. Get the word out!

Local Paper Helps Barter

Our local newspaper has a "GreenSpace Exchange" column each week, where people can list their giveaway items in exchange for something else. I have noticed people listing their abilities in exchange for something specific that they are looking for. For example, this week an elderly person advertised that he/she is willing to pick and remove shells of hazelnuts in exchange for half of them. Just a thought.

Campus Bartering

You can find people to barter with easily by putting up signs on college campuses. There may even be an official place for postings in the student union or the library. This is an especially good place to advertise English lessons or typing help. Realize that these students may not have much money, but may have a lot of experience at bartering.
Emilie in Indiana

Asking for Barter

As a bookkeeper/accountant, I have bartered with a great deal of people! I eat Chinese food for free, fill up my car with gas and get it repaired, get groceries at our small local grocer, and get haircuts and tans! Over the years, I have also had rooms remodeled and building projects completed.

The best way to find people to barter with is to just ask! Many small businesses would love to have someone do a task they dislike in exchange for whatever service or product they provide. Many small business owners are short on cash, but can easily provide their skill to you! There are also barter networks on the Internet, and I think some large towns have barter networks in place. Just keep an open mind and ask around, and you will be bartering before you know it!

How to Barter? Website Help

There is an awesome (free) website called that is a local classified. There is a section for "bartering" and you can also advertise services (for free) and mention that you would be interested in bartering. I love I have found apartments, cars, and have sold tickets and other things hassle free.

Take the Next Step

  • Investigate a Dollar Stretcher Recommended barter site TargetBarter.

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