Money Matters

Let’s Swap

Before there were dollars and cents— in fact before there was any kind of currency — there was barter. You give me this and I’ll give you that. From other professional service providers (dentists, electricians, yoga teachers) to weekend getaways, nail techs are still using this practice today.

I bartered with a customer whose husband was a sign maker when I was moving to a new location. He made a great sign and installed it. It was a total win-win as far as I was concerned. – MINDY BORREGO, Mindy fingers, Granby, Conn.

I have bartered for patio furniture, a starter for my car, air conditioning work, attorney’s fees, and hair services. I even bartered for bush hogging [a large lawnmower attached to a tractor] my yard after my riding lawn mower broke! – GENIE WEBBER, The Nail Room in Hair Therapy & Spa, Wetumpka, Ala.

I met a woman who goes to your house to do private yoga sessions, so I traded her manis and pedis to come to the shop once a week. I would close the shop for an hour and we’d all do yoga. It was great! – MICHELLE PHOENIX, Wet Paint Nail Spa, Cambridge, Mass.

I have bartered with my dentist’s wife for dental procedures. I’ve also bartered for personal training, massages, facials, pedicures, laser procedures, haircuts, and photographs. – RITA HORVATH, Nailcare by Rita, Boca Raton, Fla.

I barter with a client who is an artist. She creates wonderful welded sculptures. She had made me five 6-ft.-tall sun flowers.  –MARSHA RUBINO, Gimme Nails, Kalispell, Mont.

I’ve bartered with a client for an appraisal on my house, for wall treatments for my home, and for bookkeeping services.  – DEBRA WATTERS, Styles, Lodi, Calif.

I’ve cleaned the salon when I didn’t make enough to pay my booth rent.   – KATIE GRIMMETT, A Grand Illusion Salon and Spa, Everett, Wash.

I’ve bartered for many things from hair services to clothes, but the most unusual so far was carpet for my house. I got a great deal and my client helped me out in the delivery as well. I’m currently trying to barter for some French lessons.  – MELISSA QUINTON, Creative Ends, Victoria, B.C, Canada

I had all the wiring in my tanning salon done by an electrician in exchange for free tanning. In exchange for nail services I’ve had my house and salon cleaned, got a new fax machine, had my grass cut, got tune-ups for my car, had my SUV detailed, had three horses’ hooves done, and got tickets for George Strait. I even got an EKG. I’ve bartered services for travel as well. I got a one-week stay in Orlando and Hilton Head, and a weekend at a ski resort. – BARBARA LAURENCE, A Place For Nails, Summerville S.C.

My CPA is a client and we barter my annual tax reporting services for nail services. Every year in March, I start keeping track of her services until I work off her fees. When bartering, I post my usual work ticket to my accounting program, but rather than the offset being a payment of cash, check, or credit card, I post to an account called “professional courtesy.” My accountant is able to decide if I can write off all the items or not, and I stay square with the IRS! – KAREN HODGES, Morning Glory Nails & Skin Therapy, Key West, Fla.

I have bartered for a canopy for my deck, a twin sleigh bed for my daughter, and a dining room set. – BONNIE BRENNAN, New Look Salon, Swoyersville, Pa.

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