Down economy brings bartering back

May 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
One thing that is picking up in this economy is bartering. The barter category on Craigslist is red hot. In fact, usage has nearly doubled over the past year.

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Whenever people have more time than money, barter starts sounding like a good idea. So what's going on out there and how do you get in on it? Single Dad, Dana Woods, is fixing cars in exchange for child care. Bartering is working for more and more people these days and is about getting the things you need without spending money.

Marty Morales and Leslie Hollingsworth are currently bartering. He is a certified rolfer and she owns a message supply store.

"When I can find a great client like Leslie and we are both looking for the same thing, it is fantastic," says Morales.

"I am bartering for some bodywork on myself because I don't take good enough car of myself," says Hollingsworth.

"I am looking to get a skeleton out of the deal," says Morales.

Morales is completely into bartering. A recent post of his on Cragslist says he's looking to barter for attorney work, hair styling, and an oscilloscope.

"The last thing is an oscilloscope; I have been looking for an oscilloscope. I thought you never know. It is a crazy thing to look for but you never know," says Morales.

Both Morales and Hollingsworth say the key to making barter work is to be creative and specific.

"You get what you ask for. So if you don't ask for what you want, you will not get exactly what you want to barter for," says Hollingsworth.

And being open to the possibilities works too. Fred Garrett is nothing if not open to possibilities. He had his 1987 Mercedes E190 up for sale when a Craigslist buyer offered up a barter -- his car for Fred's.

"Upon seeing his 1971 VW bug, I jumped on it," says Garrett.

That's barter one.

"I was having it detailed by a guy I found on Craigslist and he came out and was asking questions about why I was having it detailed. I said I was putting it up for sale and he instantly offered me his 1991 Mustang convertible," says Garrett.

There's barter number two. About six months later it was up for sale.

"I had said best offer. So where I posted it, 'Or best offer' means whatever they offer you," says Garrett.

And that's how he got a motorcycle which was barter number three. That brings us to the last deal. That motorcycle was traded for a set of golf clubs -- barter number four.

"And that's how I ended up with a set of golf clubs that are worth as much as a Mercedes Benz," says Garrett.

As with any deal, make sure everyone is clear on what is being exchanged. An easy way to do that is to put everything in emails so both parties have a copy.

Links:
www.martymorales.com

www.sfmassagesupply.com

sfbay.craigslist.org/bar

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