Bartering is the original form of commerce. The exchange of goods and services is what keeps the world running. Bartering may have gone out of style for a while, but it has made quite the comeback with the help of the internet and social networking. And when you’re on a budget or just trying to save money, bartering can be a great alternative to buying something new. Below, we will look at the five best bartering websites and then go through the three best bartering apps.
What Is Bartering?
Bartering is simply making a trade with someone else. Ideally, you trade something that you do not need anymore, have an excess of, or can readily replace. Bartering is not limited to just physical items. You can trade a service that you provide for something you consider equal to the value of the service. Bartering can take many different forms, but it boils down to an exchange of goods or services with another person.
Bartering also tends to be local. If services are exchanged, they may have to be done in person. Staying local also means there is no shipping involved, which opens the door to larger items that would be challenging to ship.
Best Bartering Websites
When talking about bartering websites, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is Craigslist. Craigslist might be the only legitimate bartering website that works as well as it does.
On the front page of your local Craigslist site, you will see a “for sale” section. Under this category is a link titled “barter.” Click on the link, and you will be taken to your local bartering page where people have offered up items for trade.
If you have an item you know you want to barter with, list it along with whatever you would be willing to barter it for. If you have nothing to list but see something you would like, you can email the person who listed the item and make them an offer. You can also offer up an item you currently have listed and offer an exchange for another person’s listing.
BizX is an exchange for business owners to barter their business goods and services. The way it works is by using BizX dollars that you can earn and spend rather than spending cash. BizX can help you to discover new clients for businesses and is a way for business owners to acquire services without having to use cash.
Freecycle is not your typical bartering site. It may not technically be a bartering site at all. But it is a place where items are exchanged. Instead of asking for something in return, Freecycle is all about giving things away for free. Now, it is not good form on the site to always be taking stuff and not giving anything away. But the freeness of this site gives it a much more relaxed atmosphere.
Freecycle also has an app to help further facilitate your exchanges, and there are over nine million members around the world. Once you sign up, you choose a group of people that’s closest to you and then go ahead with trades or free exchanges.
Game Trading Zone
Game Trading Zone is a community for gamers to buy, sell, and exchange video games and movies. There are no credits involved at this site. You can check out user’s libraries and propose trades. Once you have agreed on the deal, you ship the games out to each other.
PaperBackSwap just makes sense. If you enjoy reading books and don’t have a home out of Clue with a billiards room and a library, you’ve undoubtedly run out of room to store your collection.
At this point, you have to prioritize which books you actually deem worthy of keeping. So what do you do with the rest of those books? You could try selling them to a used book store, but you aren’t going to receive anywhere close to what you paid for the books.
Enter PaperBackSwap. The way it works is you come up with ten books you are willing to give up in exchange for two credits on the site. Each credit can be exchanged for one book. Anytime one of the books you have listed gets requested by another user, you send it to them using shipping labels you can print right from the website.
Best Bartering Apps
To avoid app bloat on your devices, we’re limiting this list to the three best bartering apps.
The LetGo app makes it easy to quickly get rid of old items. It’s also helpful if you’re looking to acquire a specific item. When you first log in, you select three categories to start getting personalized deals arranged for you on the app. When you see an item you want, you can send a message to the other user. Some users may want to stick to their offered price, but others are willing to barter with you to get a deal done.
Swapub is a bartering app with an interface that is easy to navigate. When you upload a picture of an item you want to exchange, you have the option to add art and flair to the posting to make it stand out. Swapub has a category for anything you can think of and has a “Wishwall” feature, which lets you post all of the items you’re looking for, making it easy for other users to set up a trade.
The app TradeMade might be the best true bartering app available. It has a more polished look than Swapub but offers slightly different features. TradeMade lacks the Snapchat-like flair offered in Swapub but has a cleaner trading interface.
You first upload an item, either a good or service. Add a picture, a description, a value range, and the quality of the item. Then you browse trades which you can filter by distance, your Facebook friends, or by what other users want. You then propose a trade and barter back and forth before agreeing on a deal.