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Trading Best Practices: The Golden Rule of Barter


Imagine this: You've embraced the idea of bartering, and enthusiastically, you join a barter exchange, envisioning all of the great things you can do with barter.


As a small business owner, you take great care of your customers, and you like buying from other businesses that do the same.




You understand that when you barter with another local business owner, it is more than just a financial transaction. It's about building relationships and adding value while also saving cash on what you need.


But what if you found out that not everyone was playing by the same rules? What if some businesses were trying to sell at 50% cash and 50% trade, undermining the fairness of the bartering system?

This practice, known as “trash trading” (trade+cash) diminishes the value of bartering and creates an unequal playing field. Expecting part cash and part trade as a seller, while still expecting to be able to spend solely in barter, isn’t fair to members who are selling at 100% trade and diminishes the value of bartering as a whole.


At Trade Network, for over 30 years we have firmly upheld the principle of fair exchange. Trading at a normal retail price, and at 100% trade, works well for both the buyer and the seller, and should always be the expectation. When businesses exhibit a zero-sum mentality, they diminish the integrity of the bartering system, and unfortunately, miss out on the business benefits they could have seen from barter.


If you encounter a seller who insists on part cash transactions, remember that you have options as a Trade Network member. You can negotiate for a 100% trade deal or reach out to us for alternative referrals to vendors who are willing to trade fairly.


While there may be rare circumstances where a cash component is necessary, such as outsourcing or pass-through costs in certain industries, it's important to uphold the principles of fairness and equity in bartering.




Bartering is more than saving cash or getting a good deal – it's about building relationships, and a place where all members can grow and thrive.


It’s more than just our slogan, we truly believe that “To Barter is Better!" 


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