Editor's Note: MainStreet's Farnoosh Torabi went on the Today show this morning to discuss the ins and outs of bartering. Here’s her take:
The country’s personal savings rate rose to 5% of disposable income in January, the most in about 14 years. But people still need stuff even if they're spending less.
Short on cash? Trying to save? Still need braces? The Internet can help straighten things out.
At FavorPals a dentist in Cincinnati says he’ll offer free orthodontics in exchange for some network maintenance on his computer. He is not the only one offering a cashless exchange for services.
On Craigslist, a New York skin care specialist with experience in “all types of laser treatments” will offer her services if you’ll professionally groom her dog.
A Facebook member will houseclean, launder, baby or pet sit (your choice), in exchange for mechanical help on her Jeep.
And a Twitterer will teach you English in exchange for teaching him how to program software. (Then maybe he can help the dentist in Cincinnati in return for a retainer.)The Bartering Bounce
Across the country bartering requests—asking to swap goods and services for other goods and services without involving money—is penetrating the web. “People are looking to save any money they can,” says Greg Boesel, co-founder and CEO of Swaptree, a web site dedicated to trading books, music, DVDs and video games.
Craigslist has reportedly seen a 100% rise in bartering ads since January 2008. At Swaptree, Boesel says the site has doubled its listings every three to four months since launching in July 2007. There are now about 1.5 million items listed for trade. And John C. Moore, co-founder of four-year-old U-Exchange says page views on his free barter site have skyrocketed 172% in the last 30 days, compared to the 30 days before that. “When gas prices were just sky high people were looking to get rid of their gas guzzlers in exchange for motorbikes,” says Moore. “Now, people are looking for renovations and bartering for vacations.”