Posts by jasonhunterdesign

How This Couple Spent Next to Nothing For An $80,000 Wedding

Click here to view the original story.

The average couple may spend about $30,000 on a wedding, but Jessica Norgard and Isaac Aaron Piche aren’t your average couple. Rather than shell out the kind of money that could buy the newlyweds a car, they decided to barter for their entire wedding.

The Fresno-based couple dated for seven years and launched a filmmaking company, Isaac Aaron Media, together before they decided to get married. Piche proposed using a camera-carrying drone that flew the ring to Norgard and edited the whole thing into a video, naturally. But since their business was only a year old, they didn’t want to divert money away from their livelihood for the wedding itself, so they started asking vendors if they’d be willing to provide wedding goods in exchange for film services.

“We started realizing that there were so many people who thought that what we were doing was really special,” Norgard, 29, told The Huffington Post. “So we thought: Why should we even pay a dime? Let’s just try to do the whole thing on trade.”

Piche, 28, is the creative brains behind Isaac Aaron Media and Norgard is the producer and salesperson, so she took the lead on the negotiations for the wedding. She’d just think of something they needed for the big day — flowers, catering, dresses or tuxes — and start making calls to fellow small businesses, tailoring pitches to individual vendors. She’d first ask them if their business could use video services and then tell them what Isaac Aaron Media could do for them.

“But we realized with trade, a lot of vendors didn’t want to have their names associated with something cheap,” Norgard said. “When we would go to these trades, almost everybody was like, ‘I know that you’re asking for the real basic plan, but let’s do a trade for something a little better.'”

Of course, they found a lot more people who said no, rather than yes. Out of the 250 vendors they approached, 25 agreed. But Norgard and Piche had a strategy: Go straight to the owner of the business and find out exactly how they could benefit from video. Norgard said they tried to do a “dollar-for-dollar trade,” but admitted that tallying services is a bit trickier than counting dollars and cents.

“It really boils down to what’s in it for them,” Piche told The Huffington Post. “We really didn’t target businesses that didn’t think that they needed anything.”

In total, the couple ended up agreeing to produce 29 commercials, three web sites, three photo shoots and one web series consisting of five 5-minute videos in exchange for a wedding that cost about $80,000, according to their rough estimate. That five-figure value — not to mention hours of work — got them everything from a five-star catered meal, facials before the wedding, golf carts, a venue, rented tuxes and a wedding dress that was Norgard’s to keep — in fact, Black Tie & Bridal Lace threw in the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses for free, too, because they thought the wedding concept was “cool.”

In the end, the catering company, The Painted Table, was the biggest trade for the couple, since it required the most work on their end. But the most stressful trade, according to Norgard, were the flowers and decorations, since those weren’t locked down until a week before the wedding, when Chocolates & Posies signed on.

“By the time we got the florists and the decorators on board, I was literally telling her, ‘Here’s what I like, but I don’t even care what you do. If you don’t come on board, I don’t have flowers or decorations, so you run with it,'” Norgard said. “I was at their mercy, but I was just amazed. It was like a fairytale.”

The only thing the couple paid for were their rings and a $1,500 deposit for the venue, Paradise Springs Resort in Yosemite. Plus, they managed to pull the whole thing off in just six months, tying the knot on June 5, 2014.

As for the emotional impact of the wedding? The couple simultaneously agreed that it was “absolutely perfect.”

For Piche, waiting at the altar for Norgard was the moment that made all of the negotiating and scrambling worth it.

“It kind of hit me wow, it’s such a miracle that this all came together when I was standing there waiting for the love of my life,” he said. “Getting to experience the wedding itself as a wedding and not as a job or a party, but as a ceremony before our family and God and coming together as a man and a wife — that was really the special part for me.”

“Toward the end of the night we just thought we did this — what a way to start a marriage,” Norgard said. “To pull such an amazing thing off for your wedding, for the thing that ties you together forever, I think there’s no better way that I’d rather have the wedding.”

That said, both Norgard and Piche conceded that, while it was quite an accomplishment to barter for an entire wedding, they don’t plan on trading for an event of that scale anytime soon, especially now that Norgard is pregnant with their first child. This good news also means that the full-length documentary film they’re producing about their “free” wedding will be put on hold until next year.

After all, now that the wedding is behind them, they have plenty of work to catch up on in addition to preparing the baby’s nursery. And yes, they plan to barter for that, too.

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Looking for Ways to Rev Up the Engine of Finding New Customers?

Keeping the engine of your business running smoothly can be a challenge even with all the right parts working together. Finding new customers is just one piece that business owners need to keep going. Like thousands of other businesses, Duluth International Auto Service uses The Barter Company for the added edge in bringing new customers through his door.

Duluth International Auto Service strives to provide the most reliable automotive repair and maintenance of foreign and domestic vehicles. Located in Gwinnett County, the friendly and knowledgeable staff is made up of ASE certified technicians with various degrees of knowledge from institutions across the country.

Billy Duhe, owner of Duluth International, has been using The Barter Company services for about seven years. He repairs and maintains vehicles in exchange for trips, restaurant dining, lawn care, window tinting, A/C repair, and concert and sporting event tickets. In all, he has more than $140,000 in barter sales. Duhe explains how The Barter Company gives his business a jump start: “Even though most business owners prefer a paying customer, barter brings you additional sales that may not have come to you otherwise. This allows additional opportunities to bring that new customer back who was impressed with our service — turning them into repeat customers. We’re always looking for new customers because we know once they’ve experienced our superior service, they will be back,” said Duhe.

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

For Billy Duhe at Duluth International Auto Service, trading through The Barter Company’s exchange helps his business stay ahead of the competition with new customers continuing to come through the door. “The automotive repair business is very competitive,” said Duhe. “We always need to find new ways to improve cash flow, reduce out-of-pocket costs, and market to new customers. The Barter Company helps us stay in the race.”

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Learning Fresh Ideas to Bring in New Business

Ever wish there was a way to draw new customers in like a vacuum? Or to filter through all the different marketing advice and find a proven way to find new business?

Aerus/Electrolux, Kennesaw franchise owner Rich Luisi has done just that. He has been a client of The Barter Company for more than eight years. “Plain and simple. The best reason to use barter is that they bring me new business. I’ve spent 44 years in the floor care industry and I started out with zero customers and now I have 70,000. I’m always interested in new customers because our products are so exclusive and high quality; once someone tries it they love it!”

Aerus/Electrolux provides products and services that enhance the wellness and comfort of its customers and their families, including Electrolux vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and water purifiers. These unique solutions purify the air, decontaminate surfaces, and eliminate harmful pollutants, all with respect for the environment.

Like any business, Luisi’s Aerus/Electrolux franchise needs new customers on a regular basis. To accomplish this, he uses a combination of advertising, customer referrals, and barter.

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

Luisi uses The Barter Company’s exchange for print advertising, direct mail pieces, office furniture, carpet, painting, plumbing, construction work, and heating/AC service. He also receives tickets to concerts and sporting events that his salespeople use. Every year, Luisi trades more than $100,000 through The Barter Company.

Just like the 2,500 other businesses in The Barter Company’s network, Luisi’s method of bringing in new customers relies on a complete strategy with barter playing an important role. He explains: “Barter helps me have a clean sweep of the competition.”

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Using Barter a Brilliant Idea For Business

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend but for David Douglas Diamonds & Jewelry, barter provides a friendly business boost as well.

The Barter Company has worked with DDD&J since the 1990s but the relationship really took off when the jewelry store lost its lease and they were forced to quickly find a new location. “Using the barter balance we had built up, DDD&J was able to trade for what we needed. From rugs and office furniture, to advertising and lighting, to glass for showcases, fixtures, signage, and phone systems — everything to get our business up and running. The transition would not have been as smooth without The Barter Company,” explained store manager Jen Foster.

David Douglas Diamonds & Jewelry sells a wide selection of fine jewelry, including diamonds and gemstones, as well as sterling silver jewelry and watches. They also provide jewelry repairs, custom design and appraisals. Every month DDD&J uses its barter “dollars” to purchase advertising, pest control, lawn care, food, and travel. Approximately $35,000 is spent in barter annually. The jewelry store also gives their employees an annual “barter allowance” that they can use as they choose. “Common purchases include restaurant gift certificates, concert tickets, and travel. It’s a great employee incentive,” said Foster.

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

Foster agrees: “The best reason to use barter is it allows us to increase cash flow by increasing sales AND reducing costs. You trade what you have for what you need. Basically, you have the ability to buy goods and services at your cost – it’s brilliant!”

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Don’t Allow Fear and Anxiety to Impact Your Business Management

Many business owners stress over cash flow and finding new customers that can make managing a business feel like going to the dentist. However, this dentist, Dr. Clarence Kegler of Artistic Smiles, has a unique method to alleviate fears about dental work as well as business headaches.

Dr. Kegler manages his dentistry practice with less anxiety by being a member of The Barter Company, a 2,500-member network for businesses to exchange goods and services. For the past three years, he has traded dental services for advertising, printing, painting, contracting and promotional items. “I have to buy these items anyway to help run the practice,” said Dr. Kegler. “If I can get these services through barter, it’s an easy way to save cash … or use that cash in other ways to hire a new person, expand, and grow the business.”

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

Dr. Kegler’s practice, Artistic Smiles, is located in Suwannee and offers patients state-of-the-art dental procedures that leave patients looking and feeling great. During his nine years in practice, Dr. Kegler has tried other barter companies but wasn’t satisfied. “The Barter Company provides more services, travel options, and business locations. It’s much more extensive than other exchanges,” said Kegler. “Also, the client service at TBC is the best. If I need something, my barter coordinator will make it happen.”

Being a member of The Barter Company has also helped Dr. Kegler grow his practice. “Once a patient comes in through barter, they become a long-term patient. And, they usually bring in their family members and refer friends and neighbors who then become patients too,” explained Kegler. “Barter helps reduce the stress of running the practice and then I can focus more on my patients.” Less fear and anxiety about managing a business. Well, that’s something to smile about.

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In Lean Times, Restaurants Barter for Trade Services

Originally published in Wall Street Journal – click HERE to view story.

Independent restaurants are turning to an old-fashioned method to fill tables—barter.

As they struggle to keep customers and pay the monthly bills, restaurants are swapping food for services like oven-hood cleaning and pest control.

Bartering helps restaurants fill seats, reassuring prospective customers who might be turned off by the sight of a vacant eatery. It also attracts new customers when tradespeople bring friends along, reduces some costs, and helps retain employees who can’t scoop tips off empty tables.

It’s hardly a permanent fix for ailing restaurants, which still need cash to cover such expenses as rent, mortgages, taxes and utilities. But bartering is an especially useful tool for independent restaurants that, unlike some chains, lack access to corporate credit lines or cash.

~~Many restaurants are using barter exchanges that track and manage the transactions, which count as taxable income and must be recorded for tax purposes. Rather than traditional bartering, in which services are swapped directly between vendors, most barter exchanges use a “round robin” approach that offers flexibility for both restaurants and service people. For example, a plumber uses trade credits accumulated at an exchange to pay for a restaurant meal. The restaurant owner can use the credits spent by the plumber to “purchase” a variety of services offered by appliance repairmen, electricians and other exchange clients. The exchange acts as a bank, keeping track of credits and collecting fees on each transaction.

Tony Romano, owner of Marcello’s Pasta Grill in Tempe, Ariz., where business is off 40% from three years ago, joined the Arizona Trade Exchange in October. Since joining the exchange, he says he’s been averaging $2,000 per week in trade credits from tradespeople, which has allowed him to pay for almost all of his monthly expenses—from laundry to fire-extinguisher maintenance—without writing a check.

Although the restaurant doesn’t receive cash for the food, the tradespeople usually tip well, Mr. Romano says, which keeps his wait staff happy.

He says his traffic has increased 10% in the last month. New exchange clients also have led to catering jobs. “A lot of small businesses can’t afford to take their employees out for a Christmas party, but they can barter it,” he says. “I’ve booked two lawyers’ offices and three dentists’ holiday parties.”

~~Independent restaurants have fared slightly better in the last year than chain restaurants, though it’s hard to say how much bartering has helped. Same-store sales at independent restaurants declined 9% for the year ended Sept. 30, while same-store sales at chains declined 9.7% during that time, according to restaurant consulting firm Technomic Inc.

Rob Miller, president of the Arizona Trade Exchange, says he now has more than 30 restaurants involved in his exchange, up 20% from a year ago. The exchange charges a one-time $495 membership fee as well as a $12.50 monthly fee, and takes a 12% cut of each transaction from the person making the trade purchase.

Ric Zampatti, chief executive of The Barter Company, an Atlanta-based trade exchange with clients in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, says his business is up 10% in the last year, due partly to signing up 35 new restaurants.

Tradespeople also appear to be spending more when they go out to eat. A trade credit is worth a dollar; Mr. Miller says he used to see tradespeople buy restaurant credits in batches of 100 or 200; lately, he says people are buying restaurant trade credits worth $300 to $500 at a time.

Cody Smith, owner of Dynamic Pest Control in Mesa, Ariz., has been cashing in his trade credits at restaurants more frequently in the past six months. “It’s a great way to take the family out, enjoy a meal and walk away with very little cash out of your pocket.”

Trading his pest control services for restaurant meals and other services has brought in new clients and boosted his sales by 15% in the last year, due partly to new cash-paying clients who aren’t part of the exchange, Mr. Smith says.

Atlanta restaurateur Nancy Castellucci recently opened a fourth eatery called the Iberian Pig in an historic building that needed to be brought up to code. She used barter credits to cover 60% of the refurbishment costs.

“We would have had to go to the bank otherwise and we didn’t want to go to the bank. When you have barter dollars, it’s a much cheaper way to borrow money because you’re not actually borrowing money, you’re borrowing goods and services and not paying interest.”

Mr. Zampatti of the Atlanta exchange says he’s seeing restaurants increasingly use barter for routine maintenance costs. “In the past, restaurant owners would use barter to upgrade their lifestyle, like to go on vacation or buy jewelry, but because of the economy, now they’re using it to pay for their business expenses.”

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Running a Business Isn’t Easy, Even for The Big Easy.

Originally published in Cobb Business Journal, Our Town Magazine and Around Acworth. Click HERE to view online at Our Town Magazine.

Running a Business Isn’t Easy…Even For The Big Easy.

There’s nothing easy about running a business even if that business is modeled after the Big Easy itself, New Orleans. One of the greatest challenges is managing costs especially in the competitive restaurant industry. Bartering within a professional network can save thousands of dollars every year. Now, that’s something every business owner can get jazzed about.

For 10 years, Copeland’s of New Orleans, has been working with The Barter Company to exchange their services with other barter clients. “We estimate a net cash savings of 30% on every barter transaction,” said Bill Goudey, owner of two Copeland’s Atlanta locations. “Copeland’s does about $125,000 in barter per year, so the inflow and outflow is double that amount.”

Copeland’s of New Orleans restaurants serve New Orleans cuisine in a casual dining atmosphere. The extensive menu includes: seafood, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, and a kid’s menu.

Barter is one of the ways to make things a little easier in the restaurant business. Goudey explains: “We barter food and beverage from our restaurant primarily for marketing and repair services. That includes printing, print and broadcast media, restaurant cleaning services, supplies, general construction and maintenance services. We even use gift certificates for entertainment and dining as rewards and prizes.”

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

The best reason of all to use barter, according to Goudey, is “the introduction of many new clients to the business that would not otherwise visit our establishment. That and the cash savings from leveraging the barter network. Effective bartering takes time so be committed to the concept. The Barter Company’s trade coordinators work hard to help us build barter traffic and spend our dollars wisely.” The Barter Company makes it easy.

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Small Businesses: Don’t Watch Your Out-Of-Pocket Costs Fall Down the Rabbit Hole

Originally published in My Forsyth Magazine. Click HERE to view story on page 17.

Small Businesses: Don’t Watch Your Out-of-Pocket Costs Fall Down the Rabbit Hole

Managing out-of-pocket costs can be challenging for any small business owner. Sometimes it seems that these costs disappear down a rabbit hole just like Alice in Wonderland. Turning to the White Rabbit or Cheshire Cat won’t help. However, The Mad Hatter offers great advice on how to keep cash in your business. Kevin Sparks, owner of The Mad Hatter explains: “I use The Barter Company to help manage my out-of-pocket costs because through them I can trade my services for things the company needs and I don’t have to pay cash.”

This particular Mad Hatter is a local company specializing in chimney sweep service, air duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, fireplaces and fireplace accessories, and all kinds of outdoor living items from Big Green Eggs to pool supplies. For more than 10 years, The Mad Hatter and The Barter Company have worked together to manage the company’s cash flow and use trade rather than cash.

“Before I reach for my wallet, I call The Barter Company. Nine times out of ten they have a service or product I need,” said Sparks. “My trade coordinator works with me one-on-one and is very accommodating and actively seeks what I want. It’s a great concept.”

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

The Barter Company is a recognized leader in the barter industry with offices in Georgia and Florida. TBC provides businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle your transactions. TBC acts as a third-party records keeper, providing clients with monthly statements that reflect all barter purchases, sales and current barter dollar balance. For more information, please visit www.thebartercompany.com.

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Helping Owners Navigate the Ups and Downs of Running a Business

Originally published in Points North Magazine, Cobb Business Journal and The Brightside Newspaper. Click HERE to view story in Points North.

Helping Owners Navigate the Ups and Downs of Running a Business

All businesses have their ups and downs. It can be like a roller coaster. How can a business owner find the right path through all the twists and turns? One way is barter and a great example of how well barter can work is Six Flags Over Georgia & Six Flags White Water and their partnership with The Barter Company.

For more than 10 years, Six Flags Over Georgia & Six Flags White Water has worked together with The Barter Company to stretch their budget dollars further to do more for less.

Debbie McGraw, Director of Administration for the Atlanta area theme parks, describes how The Barter Company has helped. “Over the years, we’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars by using barter. We regularly use The Barter Company member businesses for transportation, employee gifts, printing,  banners and signs, and dining certificates. Instead of paying with cash, we pay in theme park tickets.”

People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. “Alternative currencies are trending for business,” explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

Each year, Six Flags Over Georgia & Six Flags White Water relies on The Barter Company for items to trade that are vital to its business operations. McGraw continues: “If we need something new, I’ll ask my member service advisor. The staff at The Barter Company is very knowledgeable and always willing to assist with finding a vendor for a service we need. I highly recommend The Barter Company to any business owner looking to make their budget dollars go the extra mile.”

The Barter Company is a recognized leader in the barter industry with offices in Georgia and Florida. TBC provides businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle your transactions. TBC acts as a third-party records keeper, providing clients with monthly statements that reflect all barter purchases, sales and current barter dollar balance. For more information, please visit www.thebartercompany.com.

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