Best things to barter for

excited boy with chocolate ice cream bar

What is your favorite thing to barter for?  Personally my favorites are:

  • Food (restaurants or groceries)
  • Staff for my business
  • Cleaning/Maintenance (house, yard, etc.)
  • Activities for my kids (karate, music lessons, camp, etc.)
  • Firearms

This important thing here isn’t actually what my particular favorites are, but WHY they are my favorites.  If we can figure that out we can hopefully help you to find new/better favorites for yourself.

Looking at this list there are a couple things that jump out at me:

  1. The top three are necessities.  I have to eat.  I have to staff my business.  I have to clean my house and mow my yard.  Anything that you HAVE to do are great things to barter for.  It stands to reason that if you don’t barter for them you will either have to pay cash for them or….. (shutter) do them yourself.
  2. Paying employees and contractors is a huge part of my businesses cash expenses.  Any time I can barter to have my bookwork done or have graphic design done for one of my client’s websites, it’s the same as putting cash in my pocket.  Please note that it’s perfectly legal to hire staff on barter.  You simply treat it like cash, doing withholding/taxes/workers-comp for employees and sending 1099’s to contractors.
  3. The top four items on the list are reoccurring.  My thinking is that any deal that is good once is even better more than once.  As such, setting up any trade that can be ongoing should be a top priority.  Let’s face it.  It can be a good chunk of work to put together a trade so you might as well set up a single deal that will result in multiple transactions.
  4. The last two items fall under an important category for me.  They are things that are not a necessity but are a lot of fun.  They are also notably things that I simply could not do if I was paying cash.  I think it’s important even when you are on a tight budget to find ways to have fun.  Barter enables me to do those fun things w/o blowing my cash budget.  Please note that it’s perfectly legal to barter for firearms.   You simply treat the transaction exactly the same way you would a cash transaction and follow all state/federal/local laws that are applicable.