(First person story on how one of our clients maximized barter in one average day.)
This morning I rolled out of bed at 6 AM for what I was planning to have a busy and active day. Step one throw on some workout clothes and head out to the gym (membership paid for via BarterPay). After a gruelling 45 minute workout, I showered and got dressed in my clothes that I bought at a one day sale held by a BarterPay member (yes, including my underwear). Drove over to a great little breakfast place that accepts the TRADEcard to meet with a prospective client. Chose the healthy greek yoghurt with fruit and a slice of whole wheat toast, watch my prospect devour a hungry man’s breakfast… honestly a little jealous but didn’t want my workout to be for nothing. Great thing is that meeting sealed the deal and now instead of being a prospect that company is now my client. Called my wife to celebrate a little, she let me know that she was off to the dentist (yep, another Barterpay member) with the kids and then would be dropping them off at the awesome sports day camp we had booked for them (on trade). The kids love going to that camp and if it weren’t for my broker, we never would have known about it.
As great as I was feeling after my workout and successful business meeting, I realized my hair was getting a touch shaggy – so I stopped by the barber (yep – traded for that too) and got a trim – brought him a coffee I got using the TRADEcard from a sweet mom and pop coffee shop nearby (great people, great coffee). The barber also happens to be one of my customers that I got through Barterpay, so we were able to chat about his next marketing campaign.
Finally rolled into the office around 10AM, looked at the sign I got on trade on my way into the office. Our receptionist thanked me for the wonderful anniversary dinner she had with her husband, using the TRADEgifts that I had given her as a thank you the week before. Poked my head into our small boardroom and had a quick conversation with the bookkeeper that comes in once a week (on trade) to help keep our accounting and invoicing up to date. That used to be something I had on my plate, but once I met with BarterPay about 5 years ago now, I realized I needed to focus more on growth of my business and find ways to use trade to take tasks that I don’t need to be doing off my plate. I used to wear all the hats in our business now I share the hats. Another example (although thankfully not something that came up this day), is that I used to be the go to person in the office if something went wrong with the computers or phones – now we have a specialist in both areas who my team just knows to call when their is an issue. And last year our server died, before Barterpay came into my life this would have been a disaster because we weren’t backing it up regularly, but one of the other BarterPay members offers an automated backup service, so the computer guys just came in and restored all of our data. What was I doing when that was happening? I signed up one of our largest accounts, whereas before I would have spent my time figuring out how to get the server up and running and trying to recover lost data. Even if I wasn’t bartering for these services it would have been more profitable for me to use them, but with barter it became enough of a no brainer that I was able to pull the trigger without giving it a second thought.
Lunch – and a client meeting at a restaurant that accepts the TRADEcard. It is great for me to be able to treat my prospects and clients, now that my business has really taken off I wouldn’t sweat it even if it cost me cash, but 5 years ago I would be looking at my client ordering a nice glass of wine and wonder if they were worth it (and if my credit card would cover it). Having my trade account (and keeping it fully loaded with TRADEdollars) gave me confidence to lavish my clients and staff the way I wanted to.
The afternoon was back in the office making a series of phone calls (one of which was to my broker to see about getting some printing lined up). That afternoon we had the mobile mechanic available on trade come in and do tune ups and oil changes on all our vehicles. Selfishly, by saving my employees personal time they put in a greater effort during the day. I also cover off gym memberships, up to T$500 in chiropractic/physio care and the tune ups and oil changes for my staff. (Yes, CRA it all goes through as a taxable benefit…) Our teams general health has been better since I started doing this. The new business my broker sends me allows me to do this. We also have a christmas party, and a summer get together where our staff are able to bring out their families and have bouncy castles for the kids. I like to believe our low turnover is only because I am great to work for and that my management style engenders loyalty. However, while I know that is definitely part of it, the additional financial compensation and camraderie that is built by the things I offer that I have bartered for also help. My team as a result also has better attitude with clients when the clients are making unreasonable requests and are able to handle the smaller things that used to annoy them. I found it very beneficial to treat my BarterPay clients exactly the same way I do my other clients, my staff and I don’t put them off because it is barter. Barter and specifically BarterPay helped me and the relationships that I have built with those clients have led to referrals to other clients who don’t understand barter and as a result are ‘cash’ clients to me.
At the end of the (office) day, with my freshly tuned vehicle, I drove to the family restaurant that takes the TRADEcard to meet up with my wife and kids. After dinner we went bowling using TRADEgifts.
Finally we took the kids home and put them to bed in their matching beds (the frames and night tables purchased via trade).
Sitting on the couch to watch TV (didn’t get it via barter – but through bartering other costs, I saved enough to buy the one I wanted), I drank a couple of beers my brother-in-law had made using the self brew place that I had sent him to on trade. Then I called it a night and went to bed.