Recently, I found myself in a situation with a potential client where we went from talking dollars and cents to discussing exchanging our services in a way that would ultimately be a win-win for both of us. He runs a business networking group and has a substantial membership list of business owners and professionals in the Washington, DC Metro area. He also had a substantial list of administrative work which he needed help with. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the budget for a V.A. On the other hand, I wanted access to his membership list. I believed it had the potential to be a great source for new business. We began to talk about how we could help each other.
This was not the first time I had bartered my V.A. services. In this case we determined that I would provide some of the admin support he needed and in exchange he would grant me access to his prominent list of members, invite me to do a business presentation at their next meeting and give me a free membership!
Bartering Virtual Assistant services is like bartering for anything else. According to SBDCNet (Small Business Development Center Network):
- Small Businesses exchange almost every imaginable product or service like medical services,media services, landscaping, clothing, food, real estate, legal services, toys, cruises, cars, hotels, etc.
- The advantages of bartering are:
- You receive goods or services you need without paying cash.
- You get new customers from the company you bartered with as they will continue to buy from you for cash, if they are pleased with your offering and service. This satisfaction generates the most effective form of advertising: word of mouth – which will get you new customers.
Consider bartering the next time you need something but don’t have the necessary cash on hand. See if the person who has the product or service you need is willing to make an exchange for yours. Here are a few tips to help you set up your barter arrangement.
- Decide what you need and what you are willing to accept in return. Be very clear and detailed.
- Identify a realistic trading partner. Take a fresh look at existing business clients and vendors and determine if there’s something worth exchanging.
- Make sure you get everything in writing up front – and be specific. Develop a contract just as you would for a paying client and include time limitations.
- Keep records for your accountant. Remember, bartering is considered income! While you may be able to write off expenses you incur during the barter, you must claim the fair market value of the services you provided as income.
Becky Gregory is an Executive Virtual Assistant and the owner of Virtual Administrative Services (VAS) www.virtualadminservices.com