Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home-Based Business - Barter Systems

Barter Systems
  • Start-up cost: RM500-RM1,000
  • Potential earnings: RM15,000 and up
  • Typical fees: RM15 or more per transaction
  • Advertising: Penny savers, community newspaper classifieds, bulletin boards, flyers, networking, participation in community activities related to recycling, cooperative grocery stores
  • Qualifications: Friendliness, detail orientation
  • Equipment needed: A computer would help you keep track of the information, but you could use a paper system as well
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Phone bill may be higher than expected
  • Lowdown: You know everyone. You never waste a penny. You love to solve problems, and to help other people solve theirs. That’s why you will derive great satisfaction from your barter system business. It’s really just putting two and two together: what someone has, with what someone needs, and vice versa. Making it all work as a profitable business will be a bit more challenging than just this (which you have probably been doing on an amateur basis most of your life). Many barter systems are warehouse operations, with individuals buying bulk odd lots and then trying to trade them. You will need to become known, to gather the data, the offerings, and the needs, and to work continually at the matches. Creating some kind of valuation system for disparate objects and services may pose difficulties also: how does a carwash match up with a soccer ball? Trading small ski boots for larger ones is easier.
  • Start-Up: Costs will be minimal (only about RM500 to start). You’ll need some way for your clientele to reach you, and some way to track what is bartered. Your thoughtfulness is your real product in this business. A part-time business should net you around RM15,000.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Barter systems appeal to people who try to live inexpensively and not wastefully—the cooperative market types, people in academic communities, and creative thinkers who are trying to step off the whirl of consumerism that keeps the rest of us in debt. You’ll develop repeat customers if you can help people achieve their wants, and get rid of their don’t-wants, without the exchange of large sums of money—just a small fee to you for the privilege. This business is a classic example of making something out of nothing. Virtually no investment, no training required, nothing but hard work on your part.

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