As I sit down to write this article, I await the arrival of a pressure washer any minute to my home. Our motor court driveway has seen better days, and our front porch needs a really good scrub. Not only am I thrilled to have this service performed today, but my husband and I are pleased that we aren’t setting aside cash from our bank account to pay for it.
Both the pressure washer and I are members of a barter system called Tradebank where goods and services are exchanged for Trade dollars. Because we are both members, I’ll send my invoice from him straight to my Tradebank broker, who will then transfer trade dollars from my account into his. He’ll then be able to spend his Trade dollars buying goods or services from other Tradebank members, both locally and nationally.
At its core, this is what Tradebank is: an official avenue that allows business owners to barter for the things they need within a large network of members.
Lisa Smith is the regional owner of Tradebank, which is headquartered right here in Madison at The Offices at Spenryn off of Sullivan Street. When she took over the franchise three years ago, it had roughly 50 members.
Today, Madison’s local franchise has more than 200 members that barter goods and services with each other.
“We were recently recognized as being the fastest-growing Tradebank region in the nation,” shared Smith. “And we’re on target to do that again next year!”
I’ve personally been a Tradebank member for about eight months and joined after catching the vision behind the barter system. I was intrigued by the idea of paying for things I needed (both professionally and personally) with Trade dollars, but I was also intrigued by the tremendous networking opportunity (maybe even more so than the bartering opportunity).
Smith is a connector at heart and thoroughly enjoys the process of helping business owners find answers to the resources they need. Smith says that our local Tradebank franchise has a limit on how many of each type of business can be a Tradebank member. Having only a few (often just 1 or 2) of each type of business means that Smith is able to garner each member new clients when someone is in need of their services.
Smith shared that barter-based Tradebank is actually tremendously helpful in bringing in future clients that will be paying cash.
Smith paints the picture of a roofer within Tradebank. For example, a Tradebank member comes to Smith and asks for a roofer recommendation within Tradebank that he or she can hire and pay with Trade dollars. The roofer then receives a Tradebank deal and boosts his or her Tradebank account.
But then, a neighbor or friend of the roofing customer also needs a roofer recommendation. That person is then able to refer the roofer to friends, family, and neighbors who will be cash-paying clients. This is primarily how the networking portion of Tradebank works, and it’s proven to generate many new leads and customers for those within Tradebank.
When asked if Smith could recall a time recently when a Tradebank member found tremendous value in being a member, she quickly told the story of a Madison member who was closing on a new home and needed a lengthy list of recommendations. The member approached Lisa and asked for help with finding a painter, plumber, electrician, a general contractor, and a landscaper. Smith was able to use our local Tradebank database to connect the member with resources, most of whom she was able to pay with Tradedollars.
When asked what Smith loves about owning our area’s regional Tradebank, she says that “it serves multiple purposes which is so important to me.”
She continued to say that “my time is all about helping and serving others, connecting two business owners, and helping as many people as I can.”
An example of businesses within our regional Tradebank
- Closing attornies
- Cookie decorators
- Paper products/invitations
- Personal chefs
- Fitness concepts
- Massage therapists
- Bakeries and restaurants
- Carriage rides
- and so much more!
Becoming a Tradebank Member
Getting set up with Tradebank is easy. Simply call, email, or text Smith and express your interest in learning more. If Tradebank seems to be a good fit for your business, you will pay a one-time join fee followed by a monthly maintenance fee of roughly $15. There is also a 12% service fee deducted from your trade dollars following each service you perform or good you sell.
Lisa Smith (email) | Lisa Smith call or text: (256) 227-8685
Tradebank Pop-Up Shop this Saturday, November 6th, 2021
Where: The Offices at Spenryn | 103 Spenryn Drive
Time: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
What: Inside vendors will be set up with goods to purchase for the holiday season. Service providers will be on-site as well to discuss how to work with both current and non-Tradebank members.
I’ll be there and hope to see you too! I’m ready to Christmas shop (with Trade dollars, wahoo!)