I have just started to barter. Because I like working with people, helping my friends, and because I want to save money for sustaining life after I graduate college. I think that more people don't barter now because we have been dependent on capital for so long. The comfort of the 1990's, that I grew up in, has us stuck in a rut. Because of my experience in a rural farm community, I have hope that urban society, especially the graphic design industry, can benefit from using the barter system. I think the first thing that can convince a fast-paced business culture that bartering is worth the effort, is information that clearly shows the monetary value of each barter transaction. Hard proof wins, for now. Compassion for the environment and helping each other as people, unfortunately, comes later.
I think bartering is more common among our demographic–young, hungry, creative twenty-somethings. I have only bartered with friends, mainly for small things, like an exchange of an artwork for another artwork, or a batch of cookies in exhange for a favor.Bartering, I've found, is pretty common in the print-making (Print, Paper,Book) world, maybe because there is the tradition of making multiple editions of the same print. I have traded a lot of prints for other prints from printmakers. Having talked to the printmaking teachers at MCAD, I've also found this is a common practice for professional print artists and not just students. For example, when I worked with Jody Williams at the MCBA last Fall, she mentioned trading one of her books for a book by the artist at the table next to her.People don't barter now I think because its often hard to put a value on objects, and we are simply more comfortable with and used to a capitalist society where everything involves a specific monetary amount. I also think people are skeptical in situations where the trade may involve something that is inconcrete or yet to be done, because the outcome and the value cannot be clearly defined. For example, if I were to offer someone my design skills in exchange for a specific artwork of theirs, they might be hesitant because they don't yet know what that design would look like, andif they will even like it. Also, people in general don't trust each otherto keep their word, or might worry they'll change their minds.A template for a detailed contract could provide a solution to this. A lot of times artists simply aren't business saavy, don't know how much they are "worth," and aren't aware of all the ways they can be taken advantage of. Creating some sort of contract template and providing tips for how to write contracts/invoices would be helpful.Having this contract template would be a good opportunity for the two people involved in the trade to sit down and discuss the details of the trade and their expectations, and would force them to stick with their word.
I barter most often casually with friends. We exchange services at different points in friendships which lead to trust and security. I rely on this trade to do things like buy groceries, verbalize my feelings, have access to things I don't own and have my questions answered. This is a unrecorded, very casual exchange of property, services and respect. The strength of my friendship can often be determined by the comfort, access and success of casual bartering. I think that people do not barter because bartering often involves trust and is easier to do with people you have a relationship with. Our society has evolved into a surplus of distant relationships. We do not feel comfortable enough with the people we need services from to initiate a bartering situation. Building a closer community of people could help bartering. Understanding or having access to what you have to offer and what someone can offer you is the first step in a trade. I also think that in harder times people will find bartering more necessary.
No. Its often hard to predict how much time will go into a project at the very beginning. So to settle on a dollar price per hour is easy for the designer and customer to agree on, understand, and calculate as they move forward. I have been offered a new printer/scanner in exchange for doing the lay out of a book. Its true I needed a good printer, but I was just getting into the project and didn't know how extensive it would be. If I had said yes to that barter, I'm afraid I would have had a hard time asking for additional payment later on. The total price of my work is reasonable and fair, and by taking the barter I would have been taking a HUGE cut myself. I already gave the client a family discount, but still need to have them know what I'm worth.I would probably be more willing to barter on smaller scale projects. Say on ongoing web updates...in trade for say IT services. Bartering simple services between experts.Its hard to measure value and compare the value of services with physical objects. Hell, its hard enough to come up with an hourly rate (which I think is very important and totally fair)...Bartering between professionals for their services. So that someone it IT would understand the value and work I put in....compared to a family member wanting a project who has no basis of knowledge about the work involved. So mutual understanding of project details by both parties involved. Also, a contract. Putting a value on the bartered service, so additional charges could be added...
I don't do design work directly, but work in a semi-related field of web development and work with designers often.Do you barter? Why/Why not?-------------------------------------Yes, when times are good, I often barter my ability to create web sites for a lot of different things (sometimes design work). The main reason I do this is because of the lack of formality and legal issues. I am not business savoy and setting a price and drawing up a contract is more than I want to do in my free time, so there is a lot of value in the relaxed barter transaction for me.Why don't more people barter now?-------------------------------------I think the main reason people don't barter is that people are not used to assigning value for goods and services that don't involve a specific dollar amount.A currency system allows for everyone to have the same understanding of value. With modern society and specialization, one person does not necessarily know what how another person works or creates, so it is difficult for someone to assign their own value to a car mechanic, for instance, because we often don't know what is involved in that transaction. In less modern times, I think it was more common that the average person knew the process of services and products and could assign personal value. A currency system levels out the idea of value and makes it common for all.I think it can become easy for people to feel cheated in a barter exchange because there is not explicit value assigned. But, with open communication about value and process, it should be trivial to ensure that both parties feel that the exchange is beneficial.What would make bartering more successful?-------------------------------------I think contracts are necessary for any professional bartering. But once you get into contracts, you begin to assign concrete value which begin to translate to a monetary system. So, there has to be some value in bartering itself, in my opinion. For me, its the lack of contract, but it can be many things to many people.
HII am blazabes and I Like the barterbarter