Service Exchange, Instrument Exchange, and Other Barter Agreements

Readers wrote in to share the details of the barter agreements they negotiated over the previous year, including a professional services exchange and an instrument exchange.

| January/February 1981

The following are among the barter agreements readers reported negotiating in the past year. 

Service Exchange

I've known for some time now that I could swap for expensive items (which I wouldn't be able to afford any other way), but MOTHER EARTH NEWS recently motivated me to make bartering a regular habit. To date, I've exchanged my goods or services for a Kohler generator, boat storage, fire wood, and even for food. And it's not just the practical aspect of bartering that appeals to me, either. I'm hooked into the ethics of it as well! I prefer swapping for items rather than accepting "freebies," and it also seems that trading provides a more genuine transaction than just forking out the almighty dollar for merchandise.

But I was especially happy to discover that bartering can help me professionally, too! As a college instructor teaching "human communication," I often supplement my not-very-large paycheck by consulting for private business firms. Unfortunately, however—although I do provide a much-needed service—many potential clients are scared off by the cost. So, when my dentist suggested that we swap his tooth-tinkering skills (to cap my chompers) for my communications evaluation of his staff, I jumped at the chance to do some serious trading. I simply studied the office interaction while having the dental work performed ... and—after the first successful consultation session—the doctor even wondered whether he'd done enough on his end of the deal!

What a great way to do business! In fact, from now on, I aim to operate my consulting firm on a barter basis as often as possible!

C. M. S.

Instrument Exchange

I own a small woodworking and instrument repair shop, and the onslaught of winter found my establishment still unheated. Not particularly wanting to lose fingers or ruin a partially completed musicmaker through cold-induced clumsiness, I began searching for some practical means of warming the place up a bit.

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