Positive Blatherings: Barter Is Nice, but be Tough
If you’ve read a few of my Blatherings, you know that my life revolves around movie quotes. The one above makes my point succinctly. Plus – Burt Young and Keith Gordon – two fantastically under celebrated actors.
I’ve learned that you really need to CYA at all times regardless of how well you “think” you know who you are dealing with. This holds true for business and personal encounters. I might be slightly naive to believe in my heart that most people want to do the right thing. I think it breaks down when it comes to the part where they must take action, and if it is at all an inconvenience.
If you’ve ever had to barter services for mutual benefit, you know how easy it is for one or even both parties in the transaction to devalue the services being bartered – especially when any out of pocket expenses are involved.
Let’s say you have a service that a friend of yours needs. That friend has the ability to really get your services out to his or her network. Do those values match? You really need to figure that out, otherwise you might be on the losing end of the bargain. If you would normally charge $2,000.00 for your service, you had better be sure that your pal gives you equal or greater value. Sure, if your service is no out of pocket and you want to do your ‘bro’ a favor, that’s totally cool and totally your call – “The Dude Abides”.
If you enter into any kind of barter arrangement – WRITE IT UP! Make sure both parties have the deal in writing. It is all too easy for someone to say they misunderstood and not deliver the quid pro quo. I have had this happen to me and it is really unfortunate – especially if you like the person who suddenly ghosts you when you’re looking for your part of the barter.
I’m a forgiving and understanding person, so I get it. Sometimes you can be excited about a barter situation because it will really benefit you and you’re not entirely worried about the end game when you have to pony up your end of the deal. Protip: don’t promise something you cannot deliver – and get it in writing. I’ve moved on from my disappointments so I’m good with it all, but I won’t make that mistake again!