Bartering in Small Biz – How does the “Nation” feel?

I love to write fun posts about the exciting life of a mompreneur, managing time better, balancing entrepreneurship & kids, and organizational suggestions, BUT this week, I am too busy for a little fun.  It happens to the best of us, and this week I am GUILTY as charged.  I over-scheduled, over-planned, and over-committed myself.  I had so much on my plate this week that I actually forgot to eat dinner one night (don’t worry, my kids ate).

Today, I spent a few moments taking deep breaths, and I am getting back on track with following my own advice to schedule, plan, and manage better.  I skipped yoga this week — shhhh (but I am back on track so that is what matters).

In the middle of my extremely frenzied week, I have been pondering a particular question….Is bartering among small business good or bad or maybe a bit of both?  Don’t ask me….I am asking you, StartUpNation.

A few months ago, I commented on a great post on bartering that I was a big fan of the idea…..After all, what better a way for up and coming small businesses to help one another out when cash is limited?  Of course, when bartering, terms have to be arranged and the barter arrangement has to be mutually beneficial.

I have a few barter arrangements set up with other small business ventures, and they seem to be doing pretty well.  BUT, what happens when the relationship outgrows the barter?  Often there comes a time when the needs of one of the parties involved are larger than the barter, and the relationship has to move towards a fee for service model.  Does the former barter relationship affect the new relationship positively or negatively?

It is one thing to work out an amazing barter business deal where I give you something that you need and you give me something in return, but at some point, one person usually needs more.  When that point happens, if you are on good terms with the other party, you would want to continue to do business with them.  After all, presumably they were involved in your business since the early stages and already know vital information.  This relieves you of an orientation period with a new vendor.

Although something strikes me at this juncture….this is where the barter could possibly come back to bite you.  What if subconsciously the person inflates their estimate or price to overcompensate for the time that they bartered with you?  On the flip side, maybe you think the estimate is too high because you are not the fee for service end of the deal?  Does resentment build from bartering?

What can keep a barter relationship on the straight and narrow?  Can a business relationship that began through bartering move on to a fee for services rendered relationship?

I admit –  I have some thoughts, but not the answers.  Let me know what your thoughts are – Rachel

Keep checking in with me at where I have some great changes, additions, and surprises coming (hence the frenzied week).

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