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  How does barter work?

Barter is simply the exchange of goods and services without the use of money. People have been doing it informally for thousands of years...but today, this type of transaction has turned into a sophisticated business practice. Locally Barter Systems, Inc. has been bringing companies together since 1976.

When you join Barter Systems, Inc., you have the opportunity to trade your services or products with those of more than 1,500 BarterSystems clients. Let's say you own a landscaping business and you need a lawyer to help you incorporate. You'll look in the BarterSystems directory or call your BarterSystems trade broker to find a lawyer in your area. You'll meet directly with the lawyer to discuss your needs, just as you would if this were a cash transaction.

So, now you're ready to hire the lawyer. What happens next? You need a lawyer...but the lawyer probably doesn't need landscaping. That's where BarterSystems comes in. You don't trade directly with the lawyer; instead you pay for the transaction with trade dollars. You may have earned your trade dollars by upgrading the landscaping of a local restaurant...or by landscaping the home of a local business owner.

Essentially, BarterSystems acts as a clearinghouse, keeping track of transactions and helping you link up with businesses that have something you want, or that need your services. When you make a sale, you call for an authorization and complete a sales invoice. You submit this to BarterSystems, along with a small cash service fee, and your trade account will be immediately credited for the amount of the sale.

  What can I spend my trade dollars on?

BarterSystems members provide a broad range of products and services. Exactly what's being traded can vary throughout the year as many members barter only during their slow seasons. The Trading Room will give you an overview of businesses which are actively trading. Click here for a list of trade categories.

  What if my product or service is too popular?

"I've heard that businesses like mine can be flooded with trades." In BarterSystems you decide when and how to barter. You can trade just on certain days or products. You can limit trading to a set amount per month, or you can choose to trade only during your slow seasons. With BarterSystems, you're in charge!

  Do I have to trade all the time?

The benefits of trading are realized when selling and purchasing are conducted on a continuous basis. But, there may be certain periods, when you may wish to hold off with accepting any new business. This is accomplished by placing your account in a hold status. You can resume trading at any time thereafter.

  If there are other businesses that I would like to see enter the system, what should I do?

Just contact the BarterSystems office with the names and telephone numbers of each referral. We ask that you first give them a brief overview of BarterSystems, and mention that a representative from the company will be contacting them shortly. Just like the cash economy, supply and demand determines how active an account will be. BarterSystems is continuously marketing your company's product or service, with the idea of generating as much business as you care to receive. Once they become clients, you receive a minimum of $25 cash credit to your account.

  Can I expect to receive trade business immediately upon becoming a member?

Not unlike the cash economy, the barter marketplace is a product of supply and demand within the group of participating companies. The more your specialty satisfies individual company needs, the greater will be the traffic flow.

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