Bartering for landscape maintenance or housekeeping


Housekeeping and landscape maintenance are oft sought after services that (at first blush) seem like they should be easy to barter for, but are often tough to find.  There are a couple reasons for this.

1)  Most folks that barter much are small business people who are busy and own a home.   Although many of them wouldn’t/couldn’t spend cash on the luxury of hiring someone to help with housework, it is a PRIME service to hire on barter.  It’s a gift to yourself that you couldn’t justify in the cash world but many people don’t give it a second thought if they can barter for it.  So…the first reason it can be hard to barter for is that it’s something that many people want.

2) I have a theory about these two service industries.  The theory goes like this:  Businesses that do housekeeping and landscape maintenance usually fall into one of two categories.  The first category are those that are good and professional at what they do.  Those people usually seem SLAMMED with business.  I mean they are usually just buried.  Unfortunately it is often hard for them to justify doing business on barter.  They can get new cash clients any time they want, so why should they barter?  The second group of businesses are the flakes.  By that I mean, they do a marginal or poor job when they bother to even show up at all.  You don’t want those folks even if the service was free so they are not of any value in the barter world either.

So…what can we do about this?  If you are lucky enough to have someone good in a local barter exchange, grab them there and make sure you take great care of them!  If not, then start working on recruiting one yourself.  I have had some luck especially with start up businesses to do a little direct trade.  If they are open to more than one account on trade you can work on recruiting them into your barter exchange.  With the economy in the state that it’s in, there are more little start up service businesses than normal so ask around through your business/personal network and see if you can find someone looking to build their business who would be open to a little barter.

Fundraising with Barter


I recently found a fantastic way to spend barter credits for those of you that are barter-spending-challenged.  I am on the school board for a small private school that is cash-poor but has several thousand dollars in barter credit.  When I found out that the school was planning a silent auction and raffle I immediately realized a great use for their barter credits.  I went out and bought many items on trade that they could include in the sale which effectively converted their barter to cash.  Items that I purchased that were particularly popular were a year’s supply of flowers from a local florist and a year’s supply of cookies from a local bakery.  We also had hard goods like jewelry and a nice keyboard.    For the service-oriented items like flowers and cookies, I made sure that we had a dozen cookies and a nice bouquet of flowers on the auction table so people could see what they were bidding on rather than just having a written description.  In the end the event was a success and cash was earned for the school.   Although I was spending credits that the school had on-hand, this would also be a great way to donate to any favorite cause.  If you know they are have a sale soon, let them know that you would like to donate an item and of course you can have a full tax write-off if the organization is a legitimate non-profit.