I’m having a barter Christmas around my house this year…kinda. As it was getting toward Thanksgiving my wife mentioned to me that we had a bunch of Christmas decorations that we don’t use any more and this would be an ideal time to post them on ebay. Of course this was a brilliant idea and over the next couple weeks I posted several hundred dollars worth of items. As they sold I directed people to pay me via paypal and the cash funneled in to our account.
On the opposite end of the spectrum I started shopping for some presents for my family and usually I find the best prices on ebay. When I found what I wanted I payed using the funds that were already in my paypal account. It was beautiful. Of course what I did wasn’t really barter, but it felt pretty close to me. What I did really is essentially what we do when we barter; we give someone else something that we don’t need and get something back that we want. Best of all I didn’t have to fork out any pre-existing cash for my gift purchases.
It’s extremely important to take good care of your restaurant barter partners and part of that is making sure you leave appropriate cash for tip/tax. When you are paying with $10 increments of script issued by a barter exchange, figuring out exactly how much you should leave in barter and how much should be in cash can get a little complicated. A while back I posted some instructions on (what I thought was) a good way to calculate the tip. I have a new and MUCH BETTER, SIMPLER rule of thumb. Check it out:
- Always overpay for the meal in barter
- Leave 3 times the tax in cash
That’s it! Is that easy or what!!?? Here’s a practical example: Let’s say you get your bill and your total is $28 for the meal plus $2.24 tax.
- Pay $30 in script (overpaying the $28 meal bill)
- Leave around $7 in cash (approx 3 times the tax)
The only exception to this rule is if the bill is only slightly over a ten dollar increment. For example, if the bill was $32, I would then leave $30 in script (not overpay) but when it comes to leaving the cash I’d leave 3 times the tax PLUS the $2 I didn’t pay in barter. BUT….if you want to keep it simple, you are ALWAYS safe to overpay the meal in barter and triple the tax in cash.
OK….say it with me people: Overpay the meal in barter and triple the tax in cash!!!
Remember I posted a rant a few months back about how irritating it is that drug dealers keep trying to barter pot on craigslist? Check this out:
OK … somebody has to say it so I guess it might as well be me. Stop whining about paying your barter exchange commissions!
Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m a fellow trader like most of you. I do not work for a barter exchange. I’m just tired of hearing complaints from barter exchange members about paying transaction fees. Here are my reasons why you should pipe down and smile when you pay your bill to your local exchange.
- You should have known about the commission structure before you signed up. If you didn’t, then shame on you and the exchange. You have a responsibility to know what you are committing to before you sign up.
- Barter should be a profitable thing for you. If it isn’t, you shouldn’t be doing it! With that in mind, you should recognize that your commission fees are directly proportional to your usage of the exchange’s services. That means it’s a GOOD THING when you get a bill from your exchange. It means you are using the service and making money with it.
- Exchanges are for-profit businesses. If they don’t collect commissions they are out of business and you will have to find all your barter partners on your own.
If you are new to barter and have no idea what I’m talking about here, please check out my barter basics page.