Blondes, Business and Bartering

A week doesn’t pass where I’m not asked to donate or barter for my public relations counsel, copywriting or just plain ‘ole project management time. Frankly, I am all about a good barter –I’ve bartered for services at my hair salon (although, for the record I’d like to state this color is natural – ahem), for my kid’s dance lessons, and for a gorgeous oil painting of the girls.

These requests have convinced me to be particular about how and where I donate my time and services and the importance of a contract ―or at least getting the agreement in writing.

Why, you ask, is getting the terms of a one-time discounted job, barter or pro-bono project imperative? I’ve discovered over the years that assuming you and your friend or colleague are going to remember the conversation in the exact same way are slim. Not that anyone is trying to pull a fast one on the other (I will say that I’ve never –knock wood – had someone intentionally or maliciously not live up to their end of the bargain), but getting crystal clear on expectations, then following up with a written confirmation takes the guess work out of the situation. Plus it makes sure at the end of a project, all parties leave happy and still want to be friends, work together and give delightful referrals at every opportunity.

I recently received this contract from a company with which I barter my services. Their expectations were clearly outlined, along with a discounted price associated with these expectations. I communicated my expectations, signed the document, and frankly – breathed a sigh of relief. I am happy for them because they have many people with whom they barter their services and this document insures they are getting a bang for their buck. I am happy for me because it has established clear parameters around what I am (and am not) doing to fulfill my obligation to this business.

Do you have any areas, business or otherwise, that could use a little clarification? Make time on your schedule to tie up those loose ends, and happy bartering … you never know what kind of cool stuff a barter will bring!

Order marches with weighty and measured strides. Disorder is always in a hurry. -Napoleon Bonaparte


mim said...

This is a great blog. You need to get the word out so more people read it! Mim

Amy Mac said...

Why, thanks! You'll notice you've just been blogged about in the black beers post. I'll never think of the Smoky's the same again. Send the link to all your friends and tell them to sign up for the rss feed and it will tell them when it updates.

Bonnie said...

Amy, I barter all the time and this is GREAT advice. One of my first time bartering experiences was when I live in Atlanta and I bartered with a landscaping company - I would do their logo and stationary package and they would in turn build a pond in our backyard (with a fountain to boot!). Needless to say, I held up my end of the bargain but we ended up with a big hole in our backyard full of rocks and the landscapers were no where to be found! I was in the hospital having my first baby at the time and my father-in-law called my husband to tell him we had a hole with a sleeping worker in the backyard (he was napping in the trench he had built... nice.)! My husband had to quickly learn how to install a pond and fountain that year and finish the job. Yikes!

Amy Mac said...

Bonnie: When will people learn it is foolish to mess with a pregnant woman? We had a similar situation in Cincinnati with a contractor finishing (or not) our basement.I do wish I could have heard your father-in-law explaining a sleeping man in your backyard. Here's to signing on the dotted line!