CALGARY – Companies trying to survive the slow economic times are discovering how bartering can help bring in new business, using a website that allows promotion and trade between members without cash.
Kellie Mallette runs a successful bookkeeping business and owes part of her success to bartering. She belongs to the eXmerce barter network, and regularly trades accounting and tax services for things she needs in her business, or her personal life.
“It really does work like a bank account,” Mallette said. “We do taxes for somebody else in the club, and then out of 350 members, we can go and choose what services we want to use.”
eXmerce helps promote and trade products and services between its members without using cash. Businesses or individuals pay a fee to join and then “earn” or bank trade credits for work they exchange.
“What this means to a business, is whatever you (as a business) would normally charge out there in the cash world, that’s what you would charge in trade dollars throughout network,” eXmerce’s Nelson Liem said. “What happens is when you bank the trade dollars in your account, it enables you to start purchasing other products and services with any one of the members that’s part of the network.”
Mallette says she barters for marketing and technology services, and even bartered to have her office painted.
Bartering is recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as legal payment, and all transactions through eXmerce are claimed as revenue like cash.
One trade dollar is equal to one cash dollar, and anything you barter for your business can be written off as a business expense.
Allan Wirzba owns AW Painting in Calgary, and says bartering helps him network with potential clients and leads to new referrals.
He said it’s also valuable when things are slow, replacing cash customers with barter business.
“In the last three months, I have been able to request services from members here in this barter exchange,” Wirzba said. “Each one of those times no money was exchanged, and that preserves and saves my operating capital as a business–and saves money.”
While eXmerce caters to business exchanges, both Wirzba and Mallette have used their barter credits for personal or family use around the house.