Bartering for Coaching -
A Conversation

by Wendy Buckingham
( All About Becoming A Life Coach )

When I asked on LinkedIn for people to comment on their bartering experiences as coaches after reading Should You Barter and Swap Your Coaching Services? the result was a great conversation on the subject as you can see below.

Brandi Caskey, California, USA
Hi Wendy, yes, I have bartered my services for other services I needed.

In my case I offered a package of VA services to a business coach to help me launch my business. She was thrilled for my help with her article marketing and I have learned so much from her about how to land my first clients, clean up my webpage, etc.

That sounds like a really successful barter Brandi. Thanks for sharing it.

Aleasa Word CLC,CEIC, Philadelphia, USA
I've bartered quite often but agree that you must be careful regarding the terms. I've bartered for everything from website creation to logos, marketing etc and been successful. The key is to really know the party on the other side and make it a true business relationship.

Joseann Freyer-Lindner, Finland: I might be a little slow to grasp this, but why do you guys barter in the first place? Why do you not buy and sell services on the "money market" like everybody else? Makes me wonder if coaching does actually pay for what I need on the official market? If it did, why would I choose barter?

Aleasa: Joseann the majority of my services are not for barter but sometimes opportunities have presented themselves and I've been able to take advantage of them.

For instance the man who designed my logo was really stuck in his business but not generating enough income to pay a business consultant or coach. He really needed help and so we bartered and a I did a couple of sessions for logo work on a few projects. Since then he has referred mutiple paying clients to me and his business is working for him now.

Joseann: Ah. makes sense Aleasa. So it is true, bartering is for when money is tight for one or both of the partners. I have nothing against it, I was just wondering.

As Aleasa says, bartering is not just when money is tight. Done properly it can be a very convenient way of doing business. Wendy

Kathy Matchunis, Florida, USA>
I have bartered for office space. I now have office hours twice a week at a wellness center in exchange for life coaching of the owner. It has worked out great for both of us. This can be a win-win if everyone is clear about the expectations.

That sounds a good deal Kathy. I'm curious to know how you both worked out how much life-coaching was the right exchange for the office. Wendy

Kathy: I have been a patient of the chiropractic wellness center for 10 years, so I already had a relationship of trust with the owner for quite some time.

I was going to pay him to use the office occasionally and he suggested to me that I could just do some life coaching sessions with him. We did not specify how many sessions, but I keep track of how many times that I use the office.

That works, but I'd suggest you keep checking in to make sure you both feel in exchange. Hope the sessions go well and you get lots of referrals. Wendy

Aleasa: For me it was literally trade for trade. We took my normal rate and compared it to his cost for graphic design work.

Loral Lee Portenier, PhD Montana, USA
In addition to life coaching, I also offer hypnotherapy and expressive arts therapy.

I barter services with a massage therapist/healer, and whenever either of us feels like we need a session, we contact the other person and arrange a trade. This works really well for us.

However, I have another client to whom I prefer to offer pro bono sessions rather than entangle myself in a barter relationship with her. Even if she had something to offer that I currently need, with her it would be way too messy and unproductive to barter services.

Emer O'Leary, Edinburgh, Scotland
Great to hear so many successful stories on this as it has always been an area I have been wary of.

I think an important point is how to and when to open up the conversation for bartering. It seems reasonable if both parties have first stated that they are interested in the other services, but if only one party was interested in the other person's service, this can potentially be awkward.

As a rule I tend to avoid bartering. At the same time I have someone who is a client of mine, and I am a client of hers, however we don't barter as such. We simply invoice each other as we would normally do with any other client.

Thanks Loral and Emer You are right interest is the key. They important distinction is to only barter with someone whose services you would be happy to pay for anyway if a barter was not an option. Wendy

Kim Williams, CPCC, Ontario, Canada
Hi Wendy and everyone! Yes! I have bartered my coaching for other people's services and it worked out wonderfully. We were both very clear about what we were giving each other and we treated each other like paying clients and wrote up invoices and agreements.

I usually barter for IT work or bookkeeping/admin. help. It has been very rewarding on both sides. And we will give each other great testimonials and referrals!

Thanks Kim and what a wonderful international conversation.

So the consensus seems to be that, yes, bartering for coaching does work, and works well. But the key is firm agreements and making sure you get what you really need in exchange.

Thank you all again so much for your contribution. And here is where you can get more hints on setting your coaching fees


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