Barter: from a 15th century French verb, barater; "to trade by exchanging one commodity for another". In today's economically straining times, we need to be creative and resourceful in ways to cut costs. One way that we've all heard of, but may not have considered, is bartering. During the 17th and 18th centuries, colonists bartered for commodities with such things as corn, nails, or deerskins, anything of value which could be traded for another item of similar value. (In fact, it was from deerskin that we get our slang name for a dollar, as in "the buck stops here.")

So how can bartering help you cut costs for your sign business today?

  • Move aging inventory
  • Creatively conserve cash
  • Improve time management, increasing productivity
  • Gain free advertising, generating new customers

    Scenario: You purchase X amount of materials to cover a job. You use most of what you ordered but still have leftover material. Even though the cost of the material is covered in the price of the finished job, you have potential dollars sitting on your vinyl rack, unused.

    Consider: Are you in need of some electrical work at your shop that you would prefer to have done professionally, rather than tackle it yourself, or perhaps that you don't have in your budget? There may be an electrician in your area that would like to have his truck re-lettered, who also considers this out-of-budget. Perhaps you and an electrician can swap professional services. He can fix your wiring and you can do some simple signage for his vehicle with excess material; a win-win deal.

    Result: From this one transaction, you have used some aging inventory that was not assigned to another job, kept money in your pocket that you would have had to shell out to an electrician, used some down time to remain productive, and you gain a happy customer who may feel inclined to tell others who reworked his truck signage. Not to mention you'll get credit for a great idea that others can utilize in today's tough times.

    Summary: You may save yourself under a hundred dollars through bartering, or perhaps save thousands. However, the focus of this idea is not the dollar amount saved, but the process of coming up with creative ways to cut costs.