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Seven Ways To Use Trade Dollars for Employees

Regardless of a client's experience with trade, many are unaware of the many ways in which barter can stretch your personnel budget.

1. Wages

There are two times during employee's tenure that trade can be considered as a salary supplement; at the initial time of hiring or at the time of a raise. Obviously one wouldn't ask a worker to replace a portion of his/her salary with trade dollars, but adding to it in trade is an intriguing possibility for both parties.

Consider including trade as a regular part of your compensation for any new hire. One accountant has given an hourly worker a two dollar per hour raise; one dollar cash and one dollar trade. In another example, a client paid worker's overtime in trade dollars. The barter portion of the payroll is easily transacted by paying trade dollars into a personal account called a "sub account" set up for each employee. The employee receives an individual account number and any transactions appears on his/her own monthly statement. The employer should include any trade earnings on the employee's W-2 form under taxable benefit.

2. Bonuses

A good portion of businesses pay some sort of bonuses to employees during the course of the year. Whether as year end or special occasion bonuses, trade dollars have been successfully paid to employees by many trade clients. One restaurant reports being able to pay "far greater" Christmas bonuses to employees because of barter than would have been possible for cash alone. An alternative to the trade dollar bonus is to buy merchandise with trade dollars to give directly to an employee. Restaurant scrip, tickets, or Gift Certificates have all been used this way.

3.Commissions or Fee-for-Service-Split

If your company employs commissioned sales people, you may be overlooking an important way to use trade. When a sales person puts together a sale where the buyer pays in trade dollars, the seller would be wise to pay the salesperson his/her commission in trade dollars. This is accomplished easily by transferring the commission amount in trade to a sub account set up for the sales person.

Some companies split fees for service between the house and the employee who performs the service. For example, a hair salon will typically split the fee when the customer pays for a haircut. With half going to the house and half going to the person doing the haircut. Limo companies, delivery services and other industries engage in a similar fee split. To maximize your barter profitability, pay your employee his/her cut in trade dollars each time the customer pays in trade dollars.

4. Medical Benefits

Companies frequently strain to provide good medical benefits for employees and sometimes end up with "bare bones" protection. Barter can significantly improve the affordability of added medical benefits in several ways. Dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors, podiatrists, eye care, massage therapy, outpatient surgery, pharmaceuticals, general physicals, weight loss programs, stop smoking programs, health club memberships and other medical services can be bartered.

Some companies have allowed a set numbered of trade dollars, perhaps 500 to 1000 per year per employee, to spend on bartered medical services. Another option would be to offer employees a substantial discount when purchasing trade dollars to be used this way. Such a plan would make dental and optical protection much more affordable for both employer and employee. Compared to the cost of an insurance policy which includes dental and eye care, the barter plan may be quite attractive.

5. Incentive Programs

Many management teams rely heavily on incentives to help motivate employees. As with bonuses, barter incentive for reaching sales goals, perfect punctuality, productivity enhancing ideas or any other admirable performance be paid directly into an employee's sub account or used to purchase merchandise which can be awarded to deserving employees. An office rental firm has used charter fishing trips for incentives for real estate brokers who bring them business. An outdoor advertising company gave trips to sales people reaching a yearly quota. There are many other successful examples.

6. Events

Company social events build team spirit and boost morale but can be expensive. Trade for them. It is very common to barter for a restaurant or caterer for the Christmas party, to take an employee to a ball game, to buy trophies, awards, T-shirts and game prizes for a picnic, or to take a group to a ballet, opera or theatre. Reduce the cost with barter.

7. Training

Employee training programs are something that you probably wish you could afford but don't quite have the budget. Not suprisingly, barter can help. Several qualified training programs in motivation, sales, customer service, goal setting, time management, computer school, real estate school or telephone skills are offered on trade. One barter accounting service has reported almost a 100% increase in customers using a barter training program!

SmarterIdeas Inc.
Kathleen's experience in the arena of "Mentoring" has been developed over the past 22 years. Beginning with a long and continued career in the Barter Industry beginning in 1980. This experience afforded her vast knowledge of small business all the way up to large corporate entities. In addition to that she also has an extensive background in management, service and training along with an educational background in ministry including counseling and pastoral care.