When in doubt....?


forum moderator / t11
Elite Member
Sep 14, 2008
Louisville, OH

Hey fellas,
I was contacted yesterday by a local YMCA organization in my hometown for me to possibly perform magic or do balloon sculptures at a summer Subway challenge race this June. They wanted to hire me to help bring in more families and make the race a fun day for families of the contestants.

Problem: Their committee had NO money whatsoever to hire me nor could they even cover the cost of my balloons for that event. I was discouraged at first and then an idea struck me.

Solution: After I had told them what my fee would be and even gave them a price break they seemed a bit discouraged as well. I told the YMCA that perhaps they could give my family FREE YMCA membership for the summer so that I could work out at their weight room facility and allow my wife and kids to swim in their pool all summer. This was a WIN / WIN situation. We were both happy with the outcome and it didn't cost them a dime.

Just because an organization may not have the funds....check to see what you can barter or trade with. It might be free meals, entrance to one of their events, etc.

Hopefully this tid bit of info helps any of you in a jam like this!
Jan 10, 2009
University Park PA
I agree. I've actually had similar situations where I did charity events and got free meals out of it. Being a college student, free meals are just as good as monetary payment for me.
Dec 18, 2007
Northampton, MA - USA
Bartering can be a very beneficial course of actions for everyone. I've gotten tons of FREE photography, printing, travel benefits (everything from limousine use to private flights in corporate jets) and a long list of other neat advantages. Catch is, you need to consider just how far you will barter in that some very real world costs are involved when you do a show. In one instance I did a show for Southern California Wines the people that give us Segrams and a long list of other notable beverages; the pay was a couple of cases of booze which in turn became holiday presents for some of my upper-rung clients . . . and trust me, when you give a client a $30.00 bottle of booze, even if they don't drink, they understand the gesture and value behind it; so it was well worth the full barter and my covering the costs to do the gig ... the $200.00 it cost for crew and transport in exchange for nearly $1,000.00 in beverages wasn't such a big deal.

One the other hand, I will typically express a willingness to barter between one and two-thirds my regular rate in that the other third will cover the bulk of my costs. However, you may need to include a rider to the contract in which certain expenses are covered like local accommodations if it's an overnight trip, fuel, meal vouchers, etc.

Look into Barter Clubs if this strikes you as something feasible to your lifestyle and course of action. You will end up brokering a few deals here and there in order to gain full benefit. I know a guy that ended up with a Cessna he couldn't use but he found a guy that had something he did want and who just happened to be interested in getting his own plane and voila! Things came together. . . then again, that was before eBay.

Before you get too carried away with Bartering however, sit down with a tax consultant in that certain levels of Bartering are taxable and viewed as taxable income.
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