Local News

Bartering popular among business owners, stay-at-home moms

Posted May 8, 2009 2:51 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2009 4:16 p.m. EDT

What do plumbers, restaurant owners, photographers and stay-at-home moms have in common?

They're among a growing number of people putting a modern-day twist on the old-fashioned financial concept of bartering.

Tammy Bunn runs Barter4Kids, a service where parents can donate used children's clothing and earn credit to take clothes donated by other parents. She also runs events where adults can barter for men's and women's clothing.

"It was never about making a profit for me. I've always wanted to do this to simply help people help people," Bunn said.

The recession has perked interest in bartering for clothes, rather than paying cash for them, she said.

"I think a lot of people are strapped for cash right now," Bun said.

Businesses can get into the act of bartering, as well.

The Cary-based Barter Business Exchange facilitates bartering among more than 700 businesses statewide, including many in the Triangle. President Maurya Lane said that business has been "phenomenal" over the past two years.

"The incentive is get small businesses involved, keep us all local, keep us all involved with each other," said Dave Dabill, manager of Tyler's Taproom in Apex.

The Barter Business Exchange distributes "barter bucks." For each transaction, it charges buyers a 10 percent fee.

"The electrician could do a $900 job for the pizzeria, and he doesn't have to eat $900 worth of pizza. He will earn 900 barter dollars and can spend it on things that he needs," Lane explained.

Business owners said bartering is still a small part of their business, but it does save them money.

"It helps to have other forms of payment and other ways to afford things that you really have to do or at least want to do," said bartering customer Neal Zipser, who runs a photo-booth rental company.

Analysts said that bartering is a growing trend among businesses and individuals, from restaurants to stay-at-home moms.

"It's probably the best thing I've heard of since Goodwill," mother Leslie Barbour said.