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Six Tips on How to Barter

August 22, 2023

Filed in: Education

Today I want to talk about something I have been asked a lot. How to barter? While I know there are many ways to barter, today I want to share six tips on how to barter that have worked for me. After twelve plus years of being in the industry I still barter every once in a while. I have had great success most of the time and the times that were a flop, I learned what not to do. 

First and foremost, I believe when you enter a barter agreement with someone there needs to be a mutual benefit for all parties involved. The last thing you want to do is do a trade and feel like you have been taken advantage of or there was no value in the trade.

Tips on how to barter:

1. Is there value and/or use for the service or product that is being provided?

For example, if a divorce lawyer wants to do a trade with me for a branding photo session, I am most likely going to decline. I am happily married and don’t foresee in the future the need for services from a divorce lawyer. However, if it’s a yoga instructor or a massage therapist wanting to do a trade, I am very open to talking.

2. Know your cost of service or product.

When I do trades, I only do trades for price value. What I mean by this is, for example, say I am bartering with a yoga instructor. Their yoga classes are $75 per class. My branding session services with images are $1500. That means that to do an even price value trade, the trade would be twenty yoga classes for one branding photo session. I never ever do a trade for time. It is alway for the monetary value of the service. 

3. Does the trade line up with my business model?

I don’t photograph newborns. To continue using the yoga instructor as an example, if I was asked to do a trade and photograph a newborn in exchange for yoga classes I would have to decline. Not only would I be a lousy newborn photographer but I also think it’s unethical on my part to offer a service I am not an expert in.

4. The trade has to be done during my normal working hours.

In my business I have some non-negotiables. One is that I don’t work on weekends unless it’s a wedding. So for a trade to work for me besides what I have mentioned above, my services need to be provided during my regular business hours. 

5. Have a contract! 

I can’t emphasize this enough. Even though money is not being exchanged, it is extremely important that everything is written down and agreed upon before any exchange is to be done. All parties involved need to understand the expectations of the services that are being traded and the time frame. 

6. You are your own boss, don’t be afraid to set rules and guidelines that work for you!

I would love to hear from you. Do you have any great tips on how to barter? Drop me a comment below.

I love doing personal brand photo sessions. 

Are you looking to book your Personal Brand Photo Session in Colorado? Or ANY location (yes, this girl loves to travel), then send me a message for a freee consultation.

LYDIA GILLIS PHOTOGRAPHY is Denver based Personal Branding Photographer, Wedding and Senior as well as educator. Available to travel worldwide. 

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