In many cultures, bartering is a way of life. Whether they're buying fruit from a street vendor or picking up nails from a hardware store, one accepted practice is to pay with something other than money - perhaps a well fed chicken or a handmade bracelet. In the developed world, however, most transactions for goods and services are covered by money, which means our bartering skills are sadly lacking. If you'd like to try bartering, this article will give you the basics of how it works.
In one to one bartering, you and another person exchange goods or services directly without using money. During a one to one exchange, each person must have something the other wants. For example, if you want some pictures framed but have no money, you may be able to trade the framer a piece of art that you no longer want in exchange for his framing services. Goods that are commonly bartered this way include food and hand crafts, which are hard to quantify in terms of monetary value.
Bartering is not commonly used in developed countries simply because it is so difficult to judge the value of another person's goods (or even your own) unless you're an expert in the field. This in turn makes it difficult to determine whether the exchange is equal. It can also be difficult to find goods or services that will be exactly equal to the similar services you're attempting to book without resorting to money. For this reason, even early societies favoured gift exchange, credit, and money over bartering.
Third party bartering, also known as a barter exchange, solves some of these problems. In a barter exchange, people who had nothing to directly offer the owner of an art shop in exchange for the painting they wanted could use credits arranged through the bank and later pay their debt by providing goods or services to someone else. This type of barter banking system also has the capacity to deal with uneven trades where a one to one exchange would not. Trade exchanges and barter markets also work the same way.
If you would like to try your hand at bartering, many cities have their own microcosm barter economy made up of voluntary members who are willing to exchange services for other goods, services, or credits. You can also visit a barter market (they are popular in Spain) or swap exchange or arrange a trade between you and a friend. Businesses also often engage in bartering of goods and services on a large scale. Bartering is considered to be more environmental than cash trading because many exchanged items are reused. Several sites, such as BarterQuest.com, facilitate barter worldwide.
supports the concept of bartering products as a way of reducing, reusing and recycling unwanted goods.