How To Barter
James Harvey Stout (deceased). This material is now in the public
domain. The complete collection of Mr. Stout's writing is now at
Jump to the following topics:
- The techniques of
- We can negotiate the
The techniques of
- If the idea of "do-it-yourself barter" is scary, practice in
front of a mirror. What will we say to the television technician
when we want to exchange our carpentry work for his or her repair?
We can rehearse our explanation of bartering, and also an
description of our skills and goods.
- Start small. Until we are comfortable and skilled, we might
swap only our less-expensive items -- not our car or expensive
- Watch other people while they conduct a trade. Perhaps we can
observe a friend who likes to barter, or we can eavesdrop at a
- Barter for some tutoring in the art of barter. An experienced
trader can offer personal instruction, and an opportunity to
- Register for classes in the subject. The topic might be listed
in the curriculum of an adult-education program or a community
- Read more information about bartering. There are many books,
magazine articles, and website on this topic. On the web, do
a search on the word "barter."
- Refer to the list of books on the subject in Books In
Print, at a library.
- Read the printed material from your barter club. The manual
and newsletters might present some techniques.
We can negotiate the
deal. Learn to be a good negotiator so that you can be strong and
creative while you are creating a deal.
- Make a list of other people who might want to trade. Then, if
we can't come to terms with the first person, we can quickly go to
someone else. If we reach the end of our list with no success, we
can go back to the first prospect with a different proposition.
That person might be willing to accept a lower offer -- or perhaps
we might accept a lower offer.
- Plan your visit so that you will be there when your barter
partner is most likely to accept the trade. For instance, we would
offer our motorcycle during the spring season, or our tutoring
just before exams, or our income-tax counseling in early winter.
- Get estimates. Do some comparison-shopping by calling a
variety of people. They will each have different values regarding
their work, and different values regarding your barterable; for
example, two carpenters might offer to do a job for $125 and $150.
But in a non-cash exchange, the values might be more subjective;
for example, one carpenter might be willing to do the work in
exchange for our stained-glass artwork, but the other might not
want the item at all.
- Offer a "boot," which is an additional, irresistible item
which we add to a deal. For example, we would say, "I will give
you the stove, and I'll add the pots and pans."
- Try a multiple-sided trade. For example, in a three-sided
trade, we would give a modem to the trombone teacher who instructs
the mechanic who fixes our car.