What is a Barter Group?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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A barter group is a club of people that gets together to exchange goods or services. There are many types of bartering groups. A one-to-one barter group works on the system of single exchange, in which people swap one good or service for another directly.

In a "special money" barter group, members provide goods or services in exchange for faux dollars. This money can later on be used to "buy" services from other members of the group. Usually, this type of barter group works well only if there is an organizer to keep track of the exchanges.

All types of things can be exchanged within the limits of a barter group, from old clothes and toys that are still in good shape, to firewood and homemade crafts. Services such as tutoring, babysitting, home repairs, and even food preparation are also highly sought after in a barter group. As a general rule, anything you can do or own can be bartered as long as there is a demand for it. Bartering is a great way to get access to goods or services that you wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.


The first step in starting a barter group is to find members. A basic club can be organized among neighbors as a way to save money and strengthen community bonds. The one-on-one system is easy to set up by making up a list of all members and the goods or services they have available for barter. The list can then be photocopied or emailed to all members as a reference. With the help of a coordinator, it is possible to set up a regional barter group, where the coordinator acts as the contact person or middle-man, keeping files and arranging meetings for the actual trades.

Another way to set up a barter group is to organize monthly themed meetings -- winter clothes, after-Christmas, toys -- at which members can exchange items directly. Internet barter groups are also becoming popular. They can be either open to visitors, such as Craigslist, or private Yahoo or MSN groups one can only join by invitation.

To guarantee the exit of any barter group, it's important to create a set of rules and agree on what constitutes a "fair trade" beforehand. This can be done verbally or through a written agreement. If the club has a coordinator, he or she can be in charge of supervising the exchanges and making sure both parties provide the promised goods or services.


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Post 2

I also don't prefer it.

Post 1

I personally feel that's it's best not to get involved with barter groups. I've met some great people but their fees can be high and often people overcharge group members for services that would have much lower cash rates.

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