Several years ago when money was much tighter and I was trying to get a new website off the ground a friend approached me with an offer.
She would design my site if I helped her with some marketing strategies.
It seemed reasonable enough.
We both could get what we needed to be done without the exchange of any money.
At first glance, bartering seemed like a smart idea: no cash required, and Uncle Sam was none the wiser.
But that’s where it ended.
In a matter of a few short weeks I was left with no website and a ton of frustration trying to get my friend to live up to her end of the bargain.
3 Reasons Bartering Is A Bad Idea
Lots of people do it and many would argue they’ve had great experiences. But for me, I’ll never do it again and here’s why.
1. People Value What They Pay For
My first bartering arrangement was a nightmare. Sure, at the time, I thought it was going to be a great experience. What I realized was my services were not valued, and they weren’t valued because the person didn’t pay for them.
They would often not show up for appointments, and they didn’t take the work we did together seriously. All in all, it was a terrible experience, albeit a great learning experience for me.
Countless studies have shown that people are more apt to buy a product or service if the price is higher than an identical product or service at a lower price point.
The lesson – people value what they pay for.
2. Charge What You Are Worth
Engaging in long-term, habitual bartering is an admission that you don’t know what you’re worth and don’t have enough confidence in the value of your work to charge for it.
And, you’re hiding out — hiding from having to evaluate your products or services and the results you give your clients. Figure it out so you can accurately charge what you’re worth.
3. You’re at a Serious Disadvantage
It’s hard to hold someone’s feet to the fire on the quality or timeliness of work if you’re not writing them a check.
Worse yet, bartering sets up an uncomfortable and unbalanced situation between the parties creating feelings of resentment.
Believe me, despite the fact you go into the bartering arrangement thinking everything is equal, it never works out that way.
Next time someone asks you to barter, resists the urge to say yes. Instead, suggest that you both pay for each others services and watch how this one simple act changes everything.
If you’re currently in a bartering situation, you’ve probably experienced one of these issues.
You’re not stuck in the bartering arrangement. Suggest that you both start paying for your services even if it means you write a check to each other for the same amount.
Just the action of writing the check and paying each other will change the dynamic and more than likely get everyone on the right track.
Remember, next time someone suggests bartering, stop and remember it won’t be an even exchange. Stick to your guns and charge for your goods or services.