For the recent college graduate on a tight budget, being able to get a good or service for free sounds like a pretty great idea. While barter and trade may sound like a concept out of the middle ages, we’re not talking about swapping chickens for farm labor. Today, bartering is a popular way for people of all means and backgrounds to exchange goods and services. If you want to know how to start bartering, use these tips and you’ll be a pro in no time.
Get Familiar with Bartering Sites
Most of the bartering action happens online (unless, of course, you’re trading your lunch like you did in elementary school), so you’ll need to get familiar with sites like BarterQuest, SwapRight and Craiglist. These free websites are popular among barterers, so even if you don’t have anything to trade right off the bat you’ll want to keep an eye on them. There may also be bartering websites specific to your location, so do a quick Google search.
Go with Your Gut
Bartering requires a certain level of trust, particularly if you’re trading with a stranger, so when it comes to deciding whether or not a transaction is fair, you’ll need to go with your gut. Make sure you are hyper-aware of people trying to scam you. If something seems sketchy, it probably is. Don’t put yourself in an unnecessarily dangerous situation. When going to meet someone to make the trade, bring a friend, go somewhere public, and make sure you don’t have any cash on you.
Take Great Photos
The secret to success when it comes to bartering is taking photos of the item that make it look as appealing and valuable as possible. Make sure you use proper lighting and a quality camera, and clean off the item before snapping the photo. The more expensive it looks, the more likely you’ll be able to get a good trade.
Practice Your Negotiating Skills
The art of barter and trade requires a certain amount of negotiation skills, so you’ll need to get some practice in. While there are books available that can help you brush up on your skills, a lot of improvement will come through trial and error. Here’s a tip to get you started: Practice your poker face. If the person you’re trading with sees you getting agitated, they’ll get the upper hand.