shaking hands bartering

Bartering Websites and Finding a Local Barter Network

shaking hands, a deal

I’ve written about using bartering more to spend less cash and although most of you don’t think it can 100% replace money (including me) I think it’s a genuine way to get things done without exchanging hard cash. I think bartering can free up more cash to go to pay down debt or pay into savings. If you are low-income it is also a way to get more stuff done without needing more money.

Barter networks as a whole tend to work using some kind of credit or points system. Each trader / supplier works out or is given a rate for their service or product so that you can use points to trade with anyone in the network, not just straight exchanges.

Online Bartering Networks

Slowly but surely bartering seems to be migrating towards online services, bringing the ideas and ideals of a local barter system to a national, and maybe one day worldwide, scale.

Bartering online can bring many problems for the networks such as legitimizing services and goods offered and getting over the face to face aspect offered by a local barter system. This could be the reason why bartering online has not taken a big stronghold yet and although there are likely many local bartering networks websites which just represent local activity it does not seem that many National offerings exist.

My search found two legit looking networks (I have not personally tried these bartering website networks) catering mainly to small business but with decent looking online systems.

The Barter Network (

The Barter Network has been around since 1996 and says it is the biggest growing online bartering service. Barter members include large companies like ClearChannel and Invisible Fence and many small businesses with a large variety of services to offer. They even say they will pay your business $1000 to join right now!

Barterquest (

With some strong media mentions and a focus on bartering higher ticket items Barterquest seem to have brought some mainstream attention to the idea of exchange.

One last place that may be worth checking out is A commenter left this website for me to check out but he may have been from the company himself even though he acted like he was a customer of theirs…. Still their site looks very interested and well worth checking out.

Finding a local barter network

The larger national networks mentioned above seem to be mainly set up for small business. You may find it much more appealing to join a local bartering network where you can at least interact with some of your barter partners.

The GigaFree offers a fantastic list of USA Bartering Exchanges, this is the best list I could find for the whole of the country. The same commenter who told me about Trans Media Trade also mentioned the IRTA (International Reciprocal Trade Association)  and they look like they have some good info.

You could also try searching Google for “Bartering Exchange in wherever” or “wherever local barter / bartering network”. Craigslist also sometimes has local barters too. Failing these options it’s time to take to the streets, maybe talk to your local business association, local town hall or the consult the classifieds of any local circulars. You could also ask small business if they are involved in barter networks.

Be careful and verify any network you become a part of. You don’t want to get dragged into anything that will waste your time so try to find something that seems structured with monthly meet-ups, printed information and a regulated system.

Tax On Bartering

As you theoretically gain the same net worth from bartering as you do from buying services or goods, bartering exchanges are considered Taxable by the IRS. I recommend you talk to a Tax professional about this but the general gist is that services and goods will be converted to current market value when applying tax to barters. So basically make sure you keep good records and extra cash aside for these!

I think bartering is an absolutely awesome way to stay frugal and also get involved in your community on a wider scale. It’s great to trade services and goods whilst being social and saves on items traveling across the country / world keeping things working on a local scale.

If you are already part of a barter network or have any comments at all I would love to hear from you.

Please also take a moment to share this post on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else using the social buttons below.

Thanks a million.

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Hey, I'm Forest, owner and writer at I used to be a graphic designer but now I travel a fair bit and blog for a living. I love all the standard other stuff such as movies, music and socialising :).

22 thoughts on “Bartering Websites and Finding a Local Barter Network”

  1. I saw your latest article… and already mentioned that bartering is probably not really replacing money. But many Websites support bartering with a kind of trading currency, like does, which means, that it doesn’t seem that weird to just exchange goods… it means that you have the possibility to give it a value.

    1. Thanks Kerry, yes the points system adds a whole new aspect to bartering. I’ll check that site out for sure.

    1. Hey Craig, oh cool where do you live?

      I live in Cairo and it’s amazing the gap between rich and poor here and bartering is very common too.

      … On another small note I keep having it hammered into my head not to say 3rd World but to actually say Global South…. Still I keep making the mistake :)

    1. Yeah, I am sure trading a 6pack with a neigbour for them to help you put a self up is ok….. Well maybe it isn’t but I can’t see the IRS running after you for it! If you barter as part of a network then Tax is definitely an issue to deal with.

    1. Yes it can do if you do not keep records. I think most barter clubs would help you in that area though.

  2. I’m basically on a bartering vacation right now, saving thousands of dollars. We have swapped our home for three weeks in Manhattan and one week in Vermont. Not only are we saving hundreds of dollars each night on a hotel room, our accommodations are far larger than the typical New York hotel room!
    .-= Retired Syd´s last blog ..What is Retirement Anyway? =-.

    1. Hi Syd,

      That is awesome and a great way to vacation. I spent a lot of time in Vermont, what area are you staying in?

    1. If you like Beer then Vermont has the most breweries per capita! You can go on a brew tour: I recommend The Alchemist in Waterbury and American Flatbread in Burlington (Best flatbread Pizza EVER).

      For walking there are plenty of hills, Stow area is nice but you can pretty much pull up at the base of any hill and get a nice walk.

      The lakeside of Lake Champlain in downtown Burlington is cool and I also always enjoy driving through the small towns (names I don’t know!).

      The capital at Montpelier has a cool gold roofed government building but not sure what else to do there.

      VT’s best attraction is just relaxing I think :)…. That’s what I like to do when I am there!

  3. Have you checked out Time Banks? I dig their system, because it doesn’t create a hierarchial system (e.g., a janitor’s skills aren’t worth as much as an attorney’s in the current capitalist system, which tends to define bartering systems as well). An hour is an hour, regardless of the work. Anyhoo, it’s a great system and I’m hoping to start one in my town one of these days.

    I’ve also seen some PBS shows that highlighted communities (obviously not in developed countries) where currency was non-existant. All exchanges were bartered. I think we sometimes forget that money is a fairly recent development and not a very good one at that.
    .-= ConsciouslyFrugal´s last blog ..Tuesday’s Tip: The Oil-Cleansing Method =-.

    1. Hey that sounds like a wonderful idea and I am sure it works awesome for the majority of Barters…. Sadly it could turn some people off more due to pressure differentiation… For example an hour cleaning out a garden does not yield the same pressure as an hour doing surgery… extreme cash but it goes somewhere to explaining how the capitalist system created such disparencies of pay… A good friend of mine grew up in Communist Hungary though and her parents were doctors, they earned about the same as say a bus driver but never had a real problem with it as they had more social perks so extra payment came through respect, not money.

  4. Interesting article. You would think with the advent of the internet Bartering sites would have proliferated, but there still seems to be no easy and cheap way to ensure a web site is legitimate.

    I am interested to see if this ever becomes more main stream in America.
    .-= OdysseusToday´s last blog ..How to pick a Graduation Gift =-.

    1. Thanks Odysseus Today,

      I am surprised no one has managed to make it blow up in a big thing yet…. I am sure it is technicalities holding it back as there are so many people ready to make use if they only knew…. Things like the Tax issues are one thing too.

      Also thanks for joining the forum.

  5. I’ve always been stingy with purchasing new or used products as a whole, and I always found more enjoyment in bartering away things I don’t need to get things I need.

    But from an efficiency standpoint, leaving currency out of the equation, it’s a lot more beneficial, since you give up things you don’t need and reduce un-needed clutter. Old items are horribly non-liquid, and bartering solves that.

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