When you're selling online and an offer is on the table, don’t just grab it blindly. Treat any deal like you would a cash transaction in terms of the research you do and the questions you ask.

Depending on what you’re trading for, you should ask

  • how old it is,
  • what condition it’s in,
  • whether the trader owns it or if there are outstanding loans in force,
  • whether there are any cash outlays involved,
  • whether the item has ever been damaged, or
  • if there’s any other pertinent information you should know.

If you’re seeking a service, like SEO Leeds, check out the provider first. Call a professional SEO agency, or check listings online if they’re available, to ensure that the individual is in good standing with regulators, such as state dental or physicians’ boards. Look online or call the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed and, if so, how they were resolved. Ask for references from the trader and call them. It also helps to ask these customers detailed questions about what sort of work was done for them and if there were any hiccups along the way. Just asking if they were satisfied with the provider won’t necessarily solicit the details you need to make an informed choice.

Be careful to avoid over- or undervaluing the trade. You might be tempted to nudge up the value just to get more in return, like prolotherapy, or perhaps you have some sort of emotional connection to the item and you’re having a hard time letting it go. Overvaluation truly goes against the trusting spirit of barter. While you might be lucky at trading for more than you offered a few times, your trading partners will eventually realize that you’re overcharging and go elsewhere to barter.

If your trading partner is the one who seems to be asking for too much in exchange, your knowledge of the fair market value of the items or services involved will help you bargain more effectively. When Karen was trading with a restaurant to hold her son’s wedding rehearsal dinner, knowing the value of the deal came in handy. The husband and wife owners of the restaurant said they were willing to trade but that they would accept half cash/half barter for the dinner. Karen, who used trade credits that she had earned from business consulting and workshops through a barter company, could clearly see the value of the trade because all of the prices were printed on the menu. There was no need to haggle over the cost. The deal worked out well for everyone involved, and Karen’s son and new daughter-in-law were thrilled with their rehearsal dinner feast. Karen and Rick were thrilled to be able to provide a memorable event for the family while also easing the strain on their wallets.

If the deal is unequal (and many times deals are, at least to a degree) and you need to offer more to make it work, you’ve got a couple of options:

  • You can throw another item or service into the mix. If you’re asking a handyman to build a deck in trade for your cleaning his house every other week, and he can justify that the deal is slanted in your favor, offer to sit for his kids or elderly parent for an appropriate number of hours to make up the difference.

  • If you’ve offered everything you have available to trade, it might be time to pry out your wallet and sweeten the deal with some cash

Nothing prevents cash from being part of the mix as long as you’re happy with the combined offer. Just be clear on all aspects of the deal before you shake on it. If you are paying out more in cash than the retail value of the item, that’s probably a bad trade.