This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Have you ever considered bartering?
As I begin to type this, I am awaiting my dental appointment to get some crown work done. And yes, I am trading a painting for the dental work. A few years ago, when we lived in Texas, I traded paintings for my wife's braces. Currently, my oldest daughter has braces which are partially bartered. I have also traded artwork among artist friends (this is a great way to build your collection).
A few years ago, a client who owns a car dealership offered to trade artwork for a vehicle. I didn't at that time because the client came from a gallery which represents my work. Considering the gallery commission, the purpose of bartering would have been defeated. But I did recently become acquainted with another dealer who is an art collector, so that door is open the next time I am in the market.
I have a few other friends – both artists and non-artists – who are avid barterers. They have bartered for everything – horses, furniture, cars, dental services, tax services, legal work, tractors, rent, computers, TVs, construction labor, etc. You name it, they would be willing to consider it.
But why barter?
There are several potential reasons.
1. It is a great way to get items and services you need or want without dipping into your cash flow.
2. You can move inventory out of your studio.
3. You gain a new collector. One who may buy (or barter again) in the future.
4. You can get things that you normally would never spend money on.
5. It can be fun.
You need to use wisdom and judgment when you barter.
1. Don't barter too much of your inventory away. You need to keep enough of your art available to sell and generate more income.
2. Make sure the trade is fair to both parties. The monetary value doesn't always need to be equivalent as long as the need or desire for the item makes the difference in value fair. But be careful that your work doesn't become undervalued.
3. Treat the other party just as you would any other paying client.
4. Don't trade for something you don't want.
5. Make sure all the details are worked out beforehand. Are you trading wholesale or retail value? What all is included? Shipping (if necessary)? Is it a full trade in terms of monetary value or a partial trade?, etc. Neither person wants to feel that they were taken advantage of.
6. Treat it like a business transaction or arrangement – because it is.
If you have never bartered before, consider it. Give it a try. You might find it quite beneficial. If you have, share your experiences. Have they been good or bad? Yes, just like any other business arrangement, bad experiences do happen. But if you approach it the right way, the experience will more likely be positive. And you just might get hooked.
PS I am currently looking for someone with 35+ acres of land with a nice home and barn or shop which could be converted to a studio that they are willing to trade. If you know someone, send them my way! I have a few paintings to offer.