I love the idea of trading or barter a good or service in-exchange for something else that you need. This is how I got my business cards printed for free. I do a bit of web design on the side and the company that I asked to print my business cards needs a few very minor things corrected on their site.
It is funny how many things you can barter for just by asking.
Some tips that I have if you are attempting to barter your goods or services:
1. Know what you have to offer.
This means taking inventory of your strengths. It might not be something that you are paid for in your daily life.
For example, my brother was hired as a dispatcher at our local pizza store during Highschool, the pay was not very good and the hours were horrible. But when the store manager found out that he was good with computers, he switched his position and gave him free food and better pay for a lot less work.
2. Shop around for companies or people who can use what you have to offer.
I did this by finding a local printing company that clearly needed help with their website but had really low rates. Usually these are mom and pop shops that don’t have budgets to hire a web designer to update their site. So when I offered to do this for them in exchange for some printing jobs they jumped at the chance. It is a win-win situation.
3. Sell your skills.
A close friend of mine is a genius in math but horrible when it comes to anything mechanical. So when his car broke down on him during his second semester, he knew he didn’t have the money to fix it all with a student budget. He did, however know his mechanic’s son needed a tutor in math and VOILA, he pitched his tutoring services in exchange for free labour to get his car fixed and a discount on the parts. The mechanic thought it was a fair deal since they were paying the money to a tutor anyway.
There are a lot of ways to get things that you want without having to pay for it, if you put a bit of effort in. So now the money that I had budgeted for these projects is going to pay off my Amex.