The Craft of Modern Bartering

Bartering is the exchange of goods or services for other goods or services without using money.

When talking with a client who’s just hired you, you can suggest things other than monetary payment for your services. Anything tangible and of real value, perhaps relevant to the client’s business, can be a great alternative for cash.

Bonus: You also don’t have to claim bartered items when you file taxes.

For instance, in my agreement with one of my clients, a personal and group fitness studio, I made sure to negotiate free group fitness classes along with my pay-rate. Of course, my pay-rate is lower than it would be for other clients, as the classes subsidize that amount.

In bartering, make sure both parties have a need for the other. In that last example, by me attending the fitness classes for free, I up their participation by bringing friends along and get to really understand the services I’m marketing, while they give me the energy to keep me going!

Payment must be reciprocal to the work which is required and done. This goes for freelance, internships, or any other contractual work. Don’t accept any lousy barters that are not reflecting your personal wants and needs.

Don’t get caught up in what seems like “free stuff” or great experiences. Makin’ the bacon and paying your rent/college loans/buying groceries is your top priority. Keep some jobs—those that what they’re offering as a barter is of less interest to you—paid in currency. Other passion-projects can be “paid” as bartered goods.

Any other tips for successful bartering? Let me know in the comments!

Barter on!


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