Faced with economic challenges and shrinking budgets, many small businesses are turning to bartering as a way to obtain needed supplies and services.
Bartering may date back to ancient times, but these days it has a high-tech spin.
Bartering networks like IMS Barter (Stock Quote: ITNM), which calls itself the largest full-service, membership-based trading network in the U.S., can save you time and money. Members list their products or services in an online database, and business deals are conducted electronically.
The technology helps link barterers who previously relied on lucky timing.
“It’s not like the old traditional idea of bartering, which usually involved a direct trade,” says Krista Vardabash, director of marketing and public relations for IMS Barter. “In a traditional barter situation, I had something you wanted, and I traded it to you for something you had that I wanted. It required luck and good timing, in that each party needed to have something the other one wanted at the same time. That’s what we call an ‘incidence of coincidence’ and it doesn’t happen very often.”
IMS works with credits to increase the liquidity of their network.
How it works
When you provide a product or service, you receive payment in trade credits. You agree to accept these trade credits instead of cash. You can then use these trade credits to buy something from another member (or several members). You can “bank” the trade dollars you’ve earned until you are ready to make a purchase. IMS takes a fee of 7.5% on each transaction, plus a small monthly fee.