Garage Sale Bartering 101

Bartering is a key part of a good garage sale experience.  Whether you are the host or the shopper, you can benefit from knowing a little more about bartering -- its history and uses, and how you can apply it today.

Bartering at the yard saleBartering has always been a human way of obtaining necessary goods, by exchanging them for a surplus of other goods that have less value to the person giving them away than what they want in return.  Before money existed, the barter system was used by cultures across the globe; exchanges of food for pelts, or gold for jewels were made by participating parties.  When the concept of money was invented, it became the in-between -- a temporary product that people without specific skills or goods could use to get what they wanted from parties looking for something besides what they had to offer.

In the world of garage saling, bartering has come to be a synonym for bargaining, or negotiating a price for one or more items.  These two concepts are not actually the same.  A more accurate example of bartering at a garage sale would be someone offering to repaint your bathroom in exchange for your vintage armoire.  Instead of using money, which will be used by you to purchase food, entertainment, or other goods you need from vendors who can actually provide them, you are making a direct transaction of labor for goods, fulfilling both needs directly.

Bargaining is a great skill to have when it comes to yard saling, but bartering can actually be just as useful.  Say, for example, that you have a garden in your backyard, and have grown a surplus of summer vegetables.  Not everyone will be interested in those fresh, homegrown, organic veggies, but some people just might be, so you could take along a batch in your car and offer them instead of money for items you'd like to purchase.  Alternatively, you may be willing to do manual labor that most people find unpleasant, and instead of doing it for a company where you have to deal with coworkers and other concerns, you can offer your services directly to a garage sale host who needs it for the set of shirts you'd like to obtain from them.

Here are some tips a good barterer should know:

-       Keep track of your skills or products and how much value you place on them.  Redesigning an office, for instance, with proper feng shui, might be worth $20 to you, so offer it to someone in exchange for an item or items that total $20 in value.

-       When you're giving away an item in exchange for a service or goods you'll get at a later time, be sure to get something down in writing so you're guaranteed to get your end of the deal.

-       When deciding what to offer, stay specialized; don't be too broad with what you offer, or else you may find yourself handling a job you don't have the specialty skills for.

Come visit us at GarageSaleCow.com, where you can advertise and locate sales for free, along with reading a host of useful information!




Comments (6) -

Jonathan Dumars
Jonathan Dumars
2/23/2013 10:54:34 PM #

It's safer to barter an item for an item. You cannot assure that the other person will hold their end of the deal if you're bartering an item for a service in return. They may just have fooled you in giving them an item for free.

Stanley Teague
Stanley Teague
2/23/2013 11:02:23 PM #

Both parties can agree to have a written agreement to make it valid and if ever one does not uphold the agreement, he/she could be sued and filed a complaint with sufficient evidence at your disposal. Words can be forgotten but if it's written, there's nothing more to say. Res Ipsa Loquitor - The thing speaks for itself.

Marvin Ariza
Marvin Ariza
2/23/2013 11:10:54 PM #

Bartering is more effective if the other person is just your neighbor especially if you're bartering for service. How can I trust someone, whom I don't even recognize, to barter with a service he's offering. Its a different ballgame if the person is someone I can trust and is just nearby, I can always follow up when he would provide the service we agreed upon. An example of a service you could barter is painting your neighbor's house or building a cabinet if your a carpenter or an engineer at that.

Stacey Beal
Stacey Beal
2/23/2013 11:25:24 PM #

I bartered a shoulder bag in exchange for helping my neighbor organize a birthday party for her daughter. I have some background in birthday parties since we had a similar business before so it was not that hard. I also had fun while helping my neighbor, now, were close friends and she's having her 2nd baby by the way.

Jon Snider
Jon Snider
2/23/2013 11:37:14 PM #

I'm familiar with bartering but not so much in the context of garage sales. I'm well versed in bartering because I was a Pokemon trading card trainer. I was so hooked from the cartoons up to the trading cards that I spent my whole day thinking of my strategy, my deck to build and pokemons to use. Fellow trainers would meet up on a mall and compete with each other. We could trade our cards with each other depending on our needs to complete our deck. You just have to reach an agreement but you should be careful if you're still new because experienced trainers would take advantage of you and deceive you in trading your rare cards. I learned to be wiser when dealing with people since I started playing cards.

Tywin Hendrix
Tywin Hendrix
2/23/2013 11:42:29 PM #

It's not necessary that you provide the service you bartered for immediately. You can give the host the perusal to choose when he/she wants the service to be given because he may need it in the future. If you offered her to repair water pipes and she still doesn't have problems with her plumbing then you could agree that she would just call you if anything happens and she needs your help. It's like a coupon or gift certificate you present at a store when you already want to avail of the services they offer.

Post a Comment


  • Comment
  • Preview
Loading