Archives for Tips of the Trade

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School is almost out which means it’s time for some fun!

School’s out this week, which means it’s time to keep the kids entertained this Summer! What better way to do that than by saving cash in the meantime?? Here are some fun things to do this Summer on barter that puts cash back in your wallet:

The Bounce House

Aquatots Swim Lessons

Sycamore Place Gallery Art Camps and Lessons

Splatters Pottery Painting and Art Studio

World of Gymnastics

Boat Rentals

Sycamore Art Gallery

Circus Camp

JumpStart

Fairy Tale Friends (for parties)

Grand Slam Sports Center

Whirly Ball & Laser Tag

Gorilla Jumper

Tennessee Tri-Passes – $55

Segway Tours

Zipline Tours

White Water Rafting

Six flags

White water

Adventure Air Sports

Atlanta Movie Tours

Stars and Strikes.

Helicopter Tours

Lake Winnepesaukah park & water park – $34

 

Area 51 – mini golf

World of Gymnastics & Cheer

Boat Rentals at Lake Alatoona

For more info, or to purchase passes, call our office at (770) 591-4343.

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staycation2

Kick Back, Relax and Enjoy a Staycation at Home

New trends in vacationing are helping families achieve a much-needed break from reality while also not breaking the bank. Instead of expensive airline tickets and hotel stays, people have been substituting cheaper alternatives:  waiting for special travel deals online, driving to see relatives, having friends and relatives come to see them, etc.  But an increasingly popular and fun vacation is the stay-at-home-vacation, or the “staycation.”  The beginning of summer is coming so here are some fun ideas to help you plan a great “stay-cation”. (Courtesy of Real Simpler Magazine)

Put the World On Hold

  • Take time out—literally. Eliminating reminders of time helps wipe away the stress of the daily grind. Gather up all the clocks in your house and stash them in a dresser drawer. Throw your watch in next to them. Leave them there for the whole day (or two, or five).
  • Turn off the ringers on your phones and mute the answering machine. Check messages only when you want to, keeping in mind that “not at all” is always an option.
  • Do an “out of the office” message for your e-mail (even if your office is a corner of the playroom). Say you won’t be checking your e-mail till you’re back from vacation. Then power down the computer and throw a towel over it.
  • Skip the news—and maybe even stop the mail—for a week. When you banish the source of stress, the stress itself may follow. The earth will continue to turn even if you’re not reading all about it every morning at 7:30 sharp, and sadly, the bills will still be there when your vacation is over.

Have It Done for You

  • Bring a destination home for dinner. Can’t make it to your favorite coastal spot? Order in from your favorite new seafood place and make a romantic night of it at home.
  • Get your house cleaned from top to bottom. Part of the pleasure of a vacation is having the bed-making, dusting, and order-restoring consigned to someone else while you dedicate yourself to the task of lolling about. Why shouldn’t it be this way at home―for one brief, shining week, anyway? Hire a maid service for the week and enjoy!
  • Have dinner delivered every night. Place a stack of your favorite take-out menus next to the phone, and follow where your fancy leads you, from Chicago-style pizza one night to a Thai buffet the next.
  • Organize a babysitting trade-off with two or three friends or neighbors. Have all the kids report to a designated house for an evening of organized fun―pizza, games, Toy Story DVDs―leaving the other parents free to enjoy a date night (while saving money on sitters). Another night, rotate houses and repeat.

Set the Mood

  • Roll up and stash your rugs so your naked feet can enjoy that beach-house feeling of walking on cool wooden floors.
  • Play a vacation sound track. As any self-respecting escapist can tell you, the next best thing to being there is grooving around the house to the music you’d be listening to if you were there.
  • Relax outside by candlelight. If there’s nothing on your evening agenda but zoning out to good music and enjoying good company―your own, perhaps?―set out dozens of tealights, or line the edge of the patio with large pillar candles on plates. Your favorite songs, or simply the natural harmonies of a summer evening, will sound even sweeter when your senses are more attuned to them.

Have Fun

  • Indulge in a vacation-reading binge. An armchair journey is a trip, too, when taken in the company of an evocative writer. First, create an ideal setting: Pick your most comfortable chair (or a chaise longue outside), making sure that you’ll have all the light you need. Then furnish it with the necessary props: a throw for when it gets chilly; reading glasses, if you wear them; a tall glass of your beverage of choice; a dictionary for words that make you go “hmm“; a notebook and a pen for jotting down phrases that make you go “aah.” Tackle a classic you never got around to in college, or if that feels too much like homework, try a summer blockbuster.
  • Take a camping trip in your own backyard. Borrow or buy a tent. Pack drinks in thermoses and snacks in Ziploc bags. Bring sleeping bags or blankets, flashlights, and mosquito repellent for everyone. And arm yourself with enough ghost stories to keep little ones up thrillingly past their bedtimes.
  • Decorate your fantasy home. Head to your town’s best newsstand and select the glossiest decorating magazines you can find. Then curl up with a pen and Post-its and start shopping. Money’s no object: If you love that five-zillion-dollar castle in Belgium, excellent. Mark it, then furnish it from your cache of glossies. Revisit it occasionally, and congratulate yourself on your impeccable taste.
  • Have your own three-day film festival. Pick a theme then bump them to the top of your Netflix queue or check for them at your local library. Lay in a supply of your favorite movie snacks, however trans-fatty and decadent. (Reminder: It’s your vacation, and it’s only a few days.) Turn off all the phones, turn out the lights, and slip away.
  • Declare Water-Game Day. Buy or borrow a kiddie pool, turn on the sprinkler, unravel the hose, and commandeer as many spray bottles, buckets, tubs, and water pistols as possible. Decree a compulsory all-day uniform of swimsuit and bare feet. Says actor John Lithgow, a devoted dad and the author of Lithgow Party Paloozas!, “All parents have to do is provide the props and initial ideas for games. The kids will take over and beget their own fun.”

Bring the Spa to You

  • Turn your bathroom into an aromatherapy spa. Stop in at a health-food store to pick out a selection of essential oils in scents you like (calming lavender, rose oil, or chamomile; energizing peppermint or lemon verbena). Then draw a warm bath, sink into it, and let Mother Nature do her botanical best for you.
  • Make staying hydrated a beautiful thing. Fill your prettiest pitchers with ice water and slices of lemon, orange, or cucumber. Place them (each with a glass) at various strategic points around the house and in a shady spot outside. Then, as you go about your day, stop often to take a long, cool, flavorful pull.
  • Hire a massage therapist who makes house calls. Ask friends for recommendations, or do a bit of Web research. Most good day spas will dispatch a therapist for a home visit; 20 percent is the standard gratuity for house calls. If your terrace or yard is relatively private (and shady), consider having your rubdown in the great outdoors.

Stretch Your Muscles

  • Try a DIY back massage. Here’s how: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or a carpeted floor. Position tennis balls under points where you have pain or tension—above your pelvis, at your bra strap, between your shoulder blades. Roll gently up and down and side to side for 5 to 10 minutes as your body weight helps massage the stress away. (Note: Massage therapists say that only those without injuries or other back problems should try this self-treatment and that you should heed your body’s advice and stop if it hurts.)
  • Take a yoga retreat in your living room. Strike images of painful contortions from your mind: “Restorative yoga poses are variations of lying on your back, but with extra support in key places, so you release muscular and nervous tension even more profoundly than when you’re sleeping,” says Cyndi Lee, the director of New York City’s OM yoga center. All you need is a couple of blankets or towels and the right instructional DVD or book.
  • Give yourself a relaxing foot massage. Put a tennis, squash, or golf ball on a hard floor and roll the sole of each foot back and forth over it, concentrating on the instep and the ball of the foot, just below the big toe, where lots of tension can gather. Do this for five minutes while you read or just gaze out the window.

Indulge in Luxury-Hotel Amenities

  • Buy yourself a plush white cotton or terry robe, the kind you itch to tuck into your suitcase when you check out. Slip into it when you wake up, sit with a mug of your morning brew―perhaps delivered on a tray by room service (a.k.a. your partner)―and savor that pampered feeling.
  • Sleep on ultra-high-thread-count sheets—or just the pillowcases. Cases in 600-count Egyptian cotton will feel like your oldest kitten-soft shirt against your cheek. At $50 per set, they run a fraction of the cost of a night at the Four Seasons―and are yours forever.
  • Have nightly turndown service. Buy a box of beautifully wrapped chocolates or caramels. Then dispatch a different family member each evening to fold back blankets, smooth sheets, and leave a sweet or two on each pillow.

Take your “stay-cation” to another level and save cash completely! The Barter Company offers more than 2,500 services in the Metro area on trade. For more information, call (770) 591-4343 or visit www.barterco.com. Start saving money today!

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fathersday

Father’s Day is Sunday 17th – Let us Help You Make Dad Feel Loved!

Father’s Day is just around the corner and we are here to help you make dad feel loved! Come shop our showrooms and pick up certificates in our office. Don’t forget, Father’s Day is June 17th!  Call (770) 591-4343 to purchase and to speak to a trade coordinator about more great ways to celebrate Dad.

  • Watches
  • Sunglasses
  • Golf Memberships & Passes
  • Cookie Bouquets
  • Massage Certificates
  • Segway Tour Certificates
  • Zipline Passes
  • White Water Rafting Certificates

What can you do to make this Father’s Day special? Check out these tips from Parents.com:

1. Eliminate the pressure. What Dad wants most is to have a day free from any pressure. Even the pressure of having a “perfect day.” Dad would really appreciate no deadlines, no hassles, no chores, no having to fix anything, and no rushing about on this special day. Let him really relax so he can enjoy his second wish…

2. Spend time together. Enjoying each other’s company as a family in relative harmony seems simple. But it’s so easy to get sidetracked from your time together when you get caught up in cooking, taking a quick run to the store, or the temptation to finish up a project. Get away from the house if you must, but take this day to focus on spending time together as a family. Go for a walk, have a picnic, lie in a hammock together, share stories and dreams together. Now that’s a day Dad will really remember!

3. Make romance. Father’s Day is not just a day to celebrate Dad as provider and caregiver for the children. It’s a day to honor your partner as your lover and friend. Make him feel special by telling him how much he means to you, dressing up for him, treating him to a massage. Give him a sexy surprise in the morning or steal a few moments during the day to show him how much you love him.

4. Focus on him. Instead of planning everything out for him, give him the gift of freedom and choice. Let him make decisions about what to do and how to spend the day. If he’s a sports fan, accompany him to see a favorite team play. Is fishing his passion? Even if you’re not so keen on bait, go along with him if he wants you to. If he wants a few hours to himself, indulge him. He deserves it!

5. Bring on the praise. Fathers want to be appreciated. Tell him how much you need him. Show him how you feel by writing him a thank-you note detailing the ways he contributes to the family, how he gives moral and emotional support, what makes him a great parent and partner. If writing is not your forte, consider making a short family video for him, or making a big banner in his honor. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts; your gratitude and love are the greatest gifts you can give him this Father’s Day.

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moms day

Mother’s Day is May 13th!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and everyone’s thinking what gift to give their mothers. It’s that time of the year again when people search for items that their mothers will love as they celebrate this special occasion. The Barter Company makes it easy to find the perfect gift to make mom feel special! Come shop our showroom and pick up certificates!

For more ideas, call (770) 591-4343.

  • Jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Massage Certificates
  • Salon & Spa Certificates
  • Home Decor
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Wooden cubes with numbers "2018" with tax forms and calculator on the table. Business concept. Pay tax in 2018 year.

What You Should Know About Taxes & Transactions

Barter is a widely accepted and proven marketing and business management tool. Barter transactions, like cash sales, are taxable and must be reported as income to the IRS. When you receive and spend trade dollars, there are income tax consequences just as though you were using cash.

The Barter Company is a legal third-party record-keeper on par with banks, credit card companies, and other such custodians of taxpayer financial records.

The Barter Company has a responsibility imposed by law to provide the Internal Revenue Service with information on the barter income of each of our clients for the calendar year. We do this on a Form 1099-B, “Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions.” You, as the taxpayer, are required by law to give The Barter Company your Taxpayer Identification Number (either your Employer Identification Number or your Social Security Number), which we need to prepare Form 1099-B. The IRS matches that number to either your business or personal name for accurate reporting.

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding barter and taxes.

* Are there any tax advantages or disadvantages to barter? No. You should view barter income, as you would cash income. Barter is a marketing and business management tool, not a tax strategy or tool. Generally speaking, as with cash income, business-related barter purchases are deductible and, conversely, your barter income (sales) and business deductions (purchases) should be accounted for separately on your tax return.

* What constitutes income in barter transactions? Barter income accrues to you or your business when trade dollars are posted to your account, property or services are received, cash is received, or scrip is issued to you as part of a barter transaction.

* In what year are trade dollars taxable? The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that trade dollars earned from your barter sales should be included as income for the tax year in which they are credited to your account.

* How do I know how much barter income to include in my tax return? At year-end, The Barter Company will compute the proceeds from your barter sales and submit this information to the Internal Revenue on Form 1099-B. The Barter Company will also give you a copy of this form or some equivalent documentation. Be sure to include the barter income listed on Form 1099-B in your total income when filing your tax return.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at (770) 591-4343.

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Set Yourself Up For New Year Success

small biz successIt’s not too late to start prepping your business for new year success! Small business owners take this time to evaluate their accomplishments and set the course for what’s ahead.

Every small business has a slightly different end of year checklist. That said there is definitely a common thread that runs throughout. Some of these items may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many are overlooked. While small they’re still very important and they can make all the difference for accomplishing your goals in 2018.

Here are four small things you can do to prepare your small business for the new year. (www.entrpreneur.com)

 1. Organize your booksFirst and foremost you need to get the logistics out of the way. At the top of your list should be your books. Hopefully you’ve been setting enough money aside each month to pay your taxes. If not, then you’re in trouble. Either way you need to get everything prepared for the good old Uncle Sam.

Make sure you take the time to carefully examine all your financial reports and really take this time to evaluate your progress. If you had trouble getting your books in order then you may make it a goal of yours to keep better track of your finances next year.

One pro tip I can give you is that you may want to consider using an online payments solution with invoicing and expense management functionality. That way you can automate your bookkeeping and focus more on growing your business.

2. Reflect with your team

The end of the year should really be a time for reflection. If you’re like most small business owners the majority of your day is spent in your own head grinding on making your business thrive. Often times this results in the owners missing out on valuable feedback and time spent with their staff.

As things wind down for the holidays make sure you take the time to reflect with your team. Setup one on one chats as well as a group discussion to gather feedback. Make sure every single person has a chance to provide input. This will make for a stronger more engaged team in the long run.

3. Prepare for growth

Growth is typically on the top of the list for every small business owner. However many of them don’t actually take the necessary steps to make that happen. As the year comes to an end this is the time to really set the stage for growth.

Think about where your business is lacking and what efforts produce the biggest return on investment. This also may be the time when you decide to cut a few employees loose. It’s never easy but if you want to be able to move the company forward you need to do what’s necessary.

4. Upgrade your technology

For better or for worse we’re living in the time of constant innovation. Good news is there’s a ton of new technology every single year that can benefit your business. Bad news is that it means you have to replace your old systems with new ones.

If you have the time you should run a quick check to see if you’re up to speed on the latest technologies available. Here are a few tools you may want to checkout before going into the new year:

  • Slack provides seamless and affordable team communication. I highly recommend this to any startup or team.
  • Dropbox is great for file-sharing and recently released Dropbox papers which provides a Google Drive style collaboration tool.
  • Buffer is great for social media marketing as it lets you schedule posts from your social accounts.
  • Calendar is a fantastic tool for scheduling and managing your time.

Final Thoughts

Out with the old in with the new. With 2018 here it’s time to check those last few items off the list so you can start the new year with a bang. If your a small business owner make sure to do these four small things before wrapping up the year!

 

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How to Offer Health Benefits to Employees Without Spending Cash

Many business owners are finding themselves unable to continue to offer health benefits to employees. Some may even be looking to stipend employees versus offer a company-wide plan. Well, here at TBC we have the perfect answer for business owners who want to offer these benefits to their valued employees, but want to save cash in the meantime – BARTER! Through their barter accounts, our clients offer “subaccounts” to employees so they have access to neccessary health services while still being provided the privacy of their own account. We have many clients  in the healthcare industry that barter their services so that everyone wins. And we are growing everyday!

Here are some of the types of medical we offer:

– Dental/orthodontics

– Oral Surgery

– Optical

– General medicine

– Women’s health

– Holistic practice

– Chiropractic

– Mental health

– Fitness and nutritional programs

– Internal medicine

– Allergy testing

– Hypnotherapy, Reike, Massage therapy

For more information on how you and your employees can get access to wonderful healthcare providers, click here. You will be so glad you did!

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Fall Home Maintenance & Cleaning Checklist

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Check out these helpful Fall home maintenance tips courtesy of homeadvisor.com.

Before the weather grows colder it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage. Below are the fall preventative home maintenance steps that every homeowner should follow.

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris. Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters.
  • Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place.
  • Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.

Windows and Doors

  • Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors.
  • Inspect and repair any loose or damaged window or door frames.
  • Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.

Heating Systems

  • Replace the filter in your furnace.
  • Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs.
  • Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems.

Plumbing

  • To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated.
  • Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.

Chimney and Fireplace

  • Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
  • Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.

Attic ventilation

  • Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
  • Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
  • Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.

Landscape and Yardwork

  • Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
  • Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
  • Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.
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Fall is in the Air

Fall-Cleanup

Fall is upon us and TBC has what you need to get your home and yard ready! 

For business contact info on these services and more ideas, call us at (770) 591-4343.

– landscaping/lawn maintenance

– pressure washing

– gutter cleaning

– chimney cleaning

– window cleaning

– carpet cleaning and MORE!

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