Question from a reader: Would you ever perform a service for “trade dollars” when you can get an equivalent amount of “real dollars”?
Answer: Of course, if there is a choice, cash is usually preferable. However, I have accepted trade dollars when I could have been paid in cash. For example, the writer who was originally referred to me by a trade exchange periodically has trade dollars to spend. I always accept trade at those times because he would not be my client if the trade exchange had not referred him to me. Any time I get business from the trade exchange, I accept trade dollars from that person/company for future business. Also there are times that I am trying to build my trade dollar balance for a specific purchase (such as when I needed extensive and expensive dental work) so I would choose trade dollars over cash dollars.
I first joined a trade exchange more than 20 years. I was quickly hooked on barter and have been happily trading ever since. Just like cash business, sometimes I want more trade business … and sometimes I have more than I handle. A milder version of the notorious feast or famine cycle of freelancing. But, like freelancing, I would never give up bartering.
This whole series resulted from an e-mail exchange with a reader who wanted to know more about barter. If you want to know more, ask your questions in comments so everyone can read the replies. Even if you don’t have questions, read the comments—there are excellent ideas there from readers.