One of the awesome things about having skills, and owning your own small businesses especially, is the ability to barter with other small businesses! Michael and I have made some fantastic bartering agreements over the years, that have really made us feel like we got quite a deal. They have also enabled us to get more tasks accomplished sooner, than we otherwise would have been able to.
Not sure exactly what bartering entails? Here is an official definition of the term:
I bartered a few deals when I had my photography business running. Michael has bartered many great deals in his business, over the years. Michael works full time for our church now, but he still runs his own business on the side that started 15 years ago or so. He is a truck letterer and sign maker, and so the majority of his many client accounts are small local businesses; men with families they are trying to support. We always make an effort to support small business people, and do our part to help our own community thrive. We know many have done the same for us. Needless to say, Michael is tapped into a vast array of blue-collar trade services, and has known them all long enough to know who does the best work.
For example, Michael has exchanged his truck lettering or sign making services for having trees removed in our yard, some grating and leveling our upper yard, getting a big waste container when we were in the middle of a house reconstruction project, and more.
Which brings us to our most recent bartering deal. (This was in October.)
Michael and I have been wanting a whole lot of sod, for the majority of our upper yard. We had planted grass seed and tried to grow some. But with the very sandy conditions, and the fact that the majority of the upper yard is the chicken run, and so where they peck and scratch all day long, any grass that grew didn’t have a chance. Sod would likely maintain much better, because it’s thickly grown, and it thrives being planted on sandy ground. But we grappled with the idea of sinking any of our budget, into something that wasn’t really a necessity. We just wanted our upper yard to look nicer, and the chickens to actually have something more than dirt to peck around in.
On the flip side, one of Michael’s clients is the biggest and best landscaper in town, and he made some changes to his business. This resulted in him needing his logo redesigned by Michael, and his small fleet of trucks, which Michael has always done the lettering for for years, all re-lettered.
So Michael and his client made the deal for us to get a load of sod, in exchange for the lettering of one of the trucks in the fleet he had to do.
And here is (most of) the pile of sod, that got delivered right into our driveway! Michael couldn’t wait to start laying some down, so he got his hands on it, before I could get a photo of all of it. But anyhoo, you get the idea; it was about 1/3 more.
I’m going to share some more photos here, and chat a little more at you, about the beauty of bartering.
Here’s the upper yard started with some sod. As you can see the chickens were ‘happy hens’ to get right on this new lush carpet, with their little feet, and get peckin’ around.
Naturally, to have the option to barter, you need to have a skill, service, or goods, to trade with! Bartering often works out as it did for us, when you want something, but don’t really want to spend money, to get it. Or, when you don’t really have any available cash to spend.
Michael likes to get the boys working with him, when he’s got a project to get done. This is how boys become men! Working beside your father growing up, is a great way to acquire all of the skills a good family man needs. (Well, unless you’re the white-collar professional type, who makes the big-bucks, and just hires workers to get anything they want done. But I’m pretty sure we’re not raising any of those.)
The feathered-girls can’t even belieeeeve their ever-growing land of opportunity! Bugs and grubs and who-knows-what! Oh my!
Bartering can also be a valuable deal, when what you get in your trade, is worth more than what you gave. Generally speaking, it’s a fair trade. But sometimes one is more generous than need be, just because they want to. For example, we may have gotten more sod in cost, than the cost of the truck lettering in time and material was worth. Sometimes, for some barterers, there is literally no cost loss, if they are paying in a skill-related service, with their time only, that does not involve any material costs. For example, a hairdresser giving a haircut, or a photographer offering a photo shoot. etc.
The fact is, when it comes to bartering, it doesn’t always need to be an equal trade, dollar for dollar. It comes down to what you are getting is worth to each of you, and if it’s worth giving what the other wants in exchange. If you’re both happy, it’s a fair trade, because that’s the whole point of bartering!
In the end, we were wicked happy with our barter deal, and so was our partner! We got the new grass down in October, which is the perfect time, according to our landscaper-client. So we have high hopes it’ll take well, and look fairly decent come around the next warm seasons. Anything is better than all dirt!
We hope you learned a little bit about bartering today, and got your thinkers going, if you have any skills, services or goods, that you can exchange with someone, for something they can offer, that you would like! We all have something to give!
And that brings to mind one last thought to share with you: It’s always a wonderful idea to simply gift others, with what we have to give. Whether it’s a skill you rock at, a service someone simply cannot afford, or maybe goods made with your own two hands and with love, blessing others with whatever we have to give, in a charitable spirit, with the expectation of nothing in return but perhaps a thank you, is the best kind of bartering there is.
Have you ever bartered? Tell us your best deals, big or small. Or just the ones that made you happy!