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Would You Join a Barter Exchange?

I had lunch with a friend this week, and she told me about a barter exchange that her husband joined. The concept is pretty simple: you provide a service and earn barter credits, then you spend barter credits to purchase services from other businesses. And in a down economy, barter is appealing [1].

My biggest fear would be ending up with a bunch of barter credits that I can’t spend on anything that I need. However, the list of businesses that participate was so large (over 400 businesses), we could spend our credits on everyday things like restaurants, hotels, and satellite TV. It wasn’t just limited to services like plumbing and contractors that you might only need when something breaks.

Earning and spending through a barter exchange still has the same tax ramifications [2] as traditional business models, but the idea is to generate more business for the member businesses. It seems like a great idea on the surface. I’m planning to look into it further to see if it’s something that would be beneficial for the new tax business to join.

If any of you have experiences with barter exchanges in your area, I’d love to hear about them! If you don’t have one in your area, it seems like a fun business for the owner to run (who takes a commission percentage of each barter), so maybe you just found yourself a new business idea!


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