Bartering for office space

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For all of us barter geeks, the holy grail barter deal is a recurrent deal for something that we would have had to pay cash for. All the better if that trade is for a business expense. As such I have to brag just a little because I am currently enjoying my second month in business offices that I am 100% trading for. The trade is all-inclusive and covers space, power/water/sewer, heating/cooling, maintenance/cleaning, Internet access, furniture, limited meeting room access, etc.

It was a considerable amount of work to put together the deal. Ultimately it was a personal connection that helped make it happen. I started out by asking my existing business and barter connections if anyone knew of some local companies that have too much office space right now. After several dead ends, I ended up with a contact for my current landlord. They were in need of web development services (what my company does) and have a very large office will a significant amount of available space (due to selling off a division of their company). Ultimately we settled on a hand-shake agreement for my firm to pay our “rent” in credit to our landlord to conduct online marketing work. We will be supplying a monthly statement showing credit that they’ve earned with us and the amount of work we’ve conducted for them.

It’s not all sunshine and roses though; there is a down-side to bartering for office space. Honestly, I get the feeling our landlord is not particularly motivated to rent out the space we are occupying. It feels to me like renting to my firm is a nice bonus for them as long as it’s not an inconvenience. I don’t think it would upset them if we were to leave. I can’t blame them for this attitude because their core business is not renting out office space. What that means is that I’m not in a particularly strong position to ensure they fulfill the details of our agreement.

Over-all I have to say that (despite some detractors) that I am very happy with our new offices and hope for a long relationship with our landlord once we have some of the kinks worked out.

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