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

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The Barter Company Launches New App for iPhone and Android Users


The Barter Company Launches New App for iPhone and Android Users

Atlanta –  The Barter Company, the largest and fastest-growing barter exchange in the Southeast, announced today the launch of a free app for iPhone and Android users.  The new app, Trade Studio for The Barter Company, provides clients with a full range of interactive services.

Trade Studio for the iPhone and Android devices, is the ultimate tool for clients to access their barter account on the go. For the first time, clients can manage their up-to-the-minute account activity, find the newest clients, see businesses nearby, find goods and services available for barter and authorize barter transactions.

“At The Barter Company, we want our client’s businesses to thrive,” said Ric Zampatti, CEO.  “By developing this new app, we are putting information right in the palm of our client’s hands, allowing them access to real time information, accessing thousands of businesses that want to barter their products and/or services.”

Trade Studio for The Barter Company is available for free download from the iTunes App Store and Android Market.  To learn more about the benefits of using the app, please visit us at

About The Barter Company

The Barter Company is the largest and fastest growing barter exchange in the Southeast.  As a member of The National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) and Barter Association National Currency (BANC), The Barter Company has developed reciprocal agreements with other barter exchanges throughout the country, giving our clients access to a wide range of products and services.  For more information on The Barter Company, please visit

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The State Newspaper Article on Barter

Bartering Up as Economy Down – Businesses Embrace Trading For Goods Instead of Laying Out Cash
By KRISTY EPPLEY RUPON – April 25th 2010

Over the past 30 years, Columbia artist Jeff Donovan has bartered for artwork, tuition for his daughter’s private school, a custom-made suit and, most recently, a couple of visits to the dentist. Bartering gives Donovan a way to use his talent – instead of having to pay cash – to get things he might never buy for himself.Bartering, trading goods or services rather than charging cash, is an ancient practice. But it has gained popularity during the economic meltdown that left many short on cash but rich in talent or treasures.

Tim Whitehurst assembles soccer trophies at The Trophy & Gift Shop in Cayce, which uses The Barter Company. for some of its services. – Tracy Glantz/
The number of online barter ads has increased 100 percent since 2008, according to published reports. In 2008, about 250,000 North American companies conducted barter transactions worth more than $16 billion, according to the International Reciprocal Trade Association, based in Portsmouth, Va. Columbia-area businesses also are using barter – trading a meal for carpet cleaning or trophies for landscaping and painting.

Donovan, the artist, uses bartering every few years. One of his paintings titled “Handout,” an oil pastel on canvas, recently caught the eye of a dentist in the gallery where it was hanging. The gallery owner suggested a trade – painting for dental work.”I couldn’t tell you the last time I had been to a dentist, and I felt like it was time,” said Donovan, who is self-employed and has a part-time job but no health insurance. The dentist paid $325 to the gallery for the painting and gave Donovan a $325 credit at her office. He got his first cleaning last week and will go back in six months for a follow-up. “It worked out very well,” he said. “Both parties were satisfied, which is I guess the ideal.” But Donovan has had a bad experience with barter too, overpromising and failing to negotiate the terms upfront. Donovan, who also has contracting experience, traded a bathroom remodeling project for tuition. The problem? Donovan didn’t realize the extent of the project and took six months to complete a job he had promised in six weeks. Plus, he did not agree on a tuition amount before starting the project. Luckily, he ended up with three years’ of paid tuition for the job. “That one was a little hairy,” he said. “It needs to be stated upfront what each person is going to get out of the deal, and they have to agree to it willingly.”

Hennessy’s owner Sharon May barters her restaurant’s meals for coffee service, carpet cleaning and even vacation rentals as a member of Atlanta-based The Barter Company. “You don’t have the cash outlay, and then, in turn, other members come and have dinner with us,” she said. “It’s been very beneficial. You’re just trading with your neighbors.” It is not a straight trade, however. The Barter Company members get barter points for providing a service and then can use their barter points at other members’ businesses. The company has about 300 members in South Carolina and 2,000 in the Southeast. The company charges a $395 enrollment fee as well as a monthly fee and transaction fee.

Clients are provided with a tax form at the end of the year because the IRS has taxed bartered goods and services since 1982, said chief executive Ric Zampatti. The key, he said, is providing the same amount of services as you are getting in return so the taxes even out.

Gregg Pinner, who heads up the West Metro Chamber of Commerce in Cayce, gets points for letting members join his organization on barter. He had built up enough points that he was able to fully stock a recent auction with items including Atlanta Braves tickets, hotel rentals and restaurant gift certificates. “It’s a tough time out there,” Pinner said. “It gave us some cool auction items, and we didn’t have to have the manpower to go out there soliciting.”

Bartering probably won’t work everywhere, says Barter Co. executive Zampatti. For instance, a restaurant that has a waiting list every night is unlikely to strike a deal. But for a place that has some lulls, “it’s a way of filling in those gaps and earning goods,” he said. The concept seems to be catching on. The Barter Company grew 10 percent last year – even as many other companies were failing or just breaking even.

Gloria Cook, who owns The Trophy & Gift Shop in Cayce, joined the network last year. She has been building up points, providing trophies to businesses that participate in the network, such as Six Flags over Georgia. Soon, she will use her points to get some painting and landscaping done at her business and her home. “When things are tight – as they are right now – you’re not having to write out a check or hand somebody cash,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt quite so bad.”

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Marietta Daily Journal Story “One Smart Cookie”

Marietta Daily Journal EAST COBB – When the air conditioner broke at east Cobb’s Cookies by Design in May as temperatures began to soar, owner Lisa Rish couldn’t afford to shell out extra money for costly repairs in this economy. So, she turned to the Kennesaw-based Barter Company as she previously had done when her oven, refrigerator, sink and grease trap needed to be fixed. The company ties a network of businesses together to barter their services with each other, which allows them to save money. “I didn’t have 500 plus dollars in cash to get it fixed and still be able to pay employees, taxes, bills or rent,” said Rish, who’s been using the Barter Company since 2001. “It’s very helpful when it’s something you have to have like an air conditioner.” The Barter Company’s network includes a variety of professionals, from lawyers and dentists to restaurant owners and house painters. Clients use barter dollars instead of cash in transactions. Businesses charge retail value for their goods and services in barter dollars, instead of selling them for reduced cash rates or having them go unsold. The Barter Company acts as a third-party records keeper. Barter Company President Ric Zampatti said business is up 15 percent this year. Founded in 1996, the company has 15 employees at offices in Kennesaw, Macon, Columbia, S.C., and the Gulf Coast of Florida. It has over 2,000 clients in the U.S., primarily in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. The Barter Company’s profit comes from charging a 7.5 percent brokerage fee of the total of each client’s trades every month, said Scott Stinnett, the company’s sales vice president. In this down economy, business owners are looking for ways to save money, the company said, and can find that they save more by bartering. For the past five years Susan Smelser, owner of the Book Worm bookstore on Marietta Street in Powder Springs, has traded with Barter Company clients for such things as pressure washing, landscaping and exterminating. She said it has been invaluable in saving her money to operate her store, which sells used books. “We’ve been able to save $60,000 to $70,000 out of our pockets,” Smelser said. “And new customers recommend the store to others.” Rish, who sells a variety of cookies from her store in the Providence Square shopping center on Roswell Road, said trades are based on barter dollars and not comparable services – though she has baked more than 60 cookies before in a barter. “But you’re excited because you can use this money in trade for something,” she said. For more information about the Barter Company, visit

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Columbia, SC WIS TV10 News Story and Video

The barter system: An old business makes a comeback COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – It may seem like a blast from the past, but an old system of getting what you want is back. Bartering is a way of exchanging things instead of cash that’s growing in popularity — again. The first kind of business was the barter system. A good stonecutter might make a few extra tools and simply trade them for furs or other things he wanted. It’s so simple the cavemen did it. Today bartering is back, but it’s a little more advanced. “It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my business,” says Sharon May, who owns Hennessy’s restaurant in Columbia. She’s been bartering for years. “You’re not limited to bartering between just you and me. It’s a whole group,” says May. A group that’s growing, as small business are having trouble keeping up their cashflows. May does her trading with The Barter Company, one of many groups that brings traders together. “It’s an alternative form of currency,” says Barter Company spokesman Randy Wolfe. Wolfe says for a fee, small businesses are added to a database stretching across the southeast. They can put anything up for a cashless trade. At Hennessy’s, May can trade gift certificates and vacant tables for what the company calls barter dollars. She then uses those barter bucks at member businesses for things like carpet cleaning or a new awning, all cash-free. “I use to own a business, I’ve experienced both sides of this, there’s no downside to barter,” says Wolfe. Wolfe calls bartering the best way to move excess inventory without having to discount. “We bring you new business, you spend less cash. It uses up your excess inventory you bring in new cash business through members referring you. It’s win-win-win-win. In this economy that’s why we’re growing so fast,” he says. It might be a little dated, but when the times get tough old tricks might be the best tricks. Reported by Taylor Kearns.

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The Barter Company Featured in The Auto Pilot Magazine

Publish Date: Nov/Dec 2006

Region: Georgia

Would Your Company Benefit From Bartering? By Leslie Johnston

While the concept of bartering has been around almost since the beginning of time, many companies are just now discovering that business-to-business barter exchange can increase profits, conserve cash and maximize their prospects for new business. While the traditional concept of bartering is a direct one-on-one exchange, The Barter Company (TBC) offers what is known as round-robin trading though a business-to-business barter exchange. Members of the exchange barter what they provide or sell for other types of goods and services, with The Barter Company acting as a kind of clearinghouse. It’s like a fraternity of business owners and professionals who, together, are trading their excess time or inventory for other types of business and/or personal expenses, says founder and CEO Ric Zampatti. If you had to make a purchase, would you rather trade what you do or what you sell, or would you rather write a check for it? What makes barter appealing and beneficial to business owners and professionals is that it brings them new business, Zampatti says. If they’re at full capacity, they don’t need barter. But if they can handle additional business, bartering is an excellent tool for new business development. Companies must be a TBC member, and there is a one-time $395 fee to join. The Barter Company charges a brokerage fee on each transaction facilitated. The Barter Company, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in early 2006, is the largest and fastest-growing barter exchange in the Southeast, and is considered one of the top exchanges in the country. In those 10 years, close to 2,000 businesses have taken advantage of the opportunities the exchange makes available. A large part of the company’s success may be attributed to Zampatti’s, and his staff’s, active role in the barter industry associations on the national and international level; he has served as president and is current chairman of the board of the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) and is a charter member of the Barter Association National Currency (BANC). It is The Barter Company’s membership in BANC that has allowed Zampatti to develop reciprocal agreements with other barter exchanges, giving his member companies (most of which are in the Southeast) access to an even wider range of products and services across the nation. Partnering with The Barter Company has added great value to how we manage cash, says one of the management staff of northwest Georgia’s prestigious Barnsley Gardens Resort. I am able to trade unused room nights or tee time inventory for products or services that our business needs to operate. Other Barter Company members include The Fox Theatre, Airtran Airways, Clear Channel Communications, Six Flags Over Georgia, Lamar Outdoor, and New Orleans Copeland’s Restaurant. Ric and his dedicated team provide invaluable word-of-mouth advertising and public relations to members, says Copeland’s CEO and managing partner, Bill Goudey. The ability to trade essential products and services through The Barter Company allows Copeland’s to put more cash toward our bottom line. In addition to The Barter Company, Zampatti, whose professional background prior to forming TBC was in the hotel industry, is also a commercial real estate investor and the owner of Southern Media, a billboard company and concert promotion company, a company for which he makes frequent use of bartering. While bartering may be his business, Zampatti’s passion is aviation. He began flying as a youngster with his dad on family vacation trips all across the U.S. He already holds a private pilot’s license and is completing his instrument rating. While he now flies either a Cessna 172 SP or a Piper Archer out of McCollum Field in Kennesaw (KRYY), he is looking to purchase a Cirrus SR22. The Barter Company is located on Shiloh Road in Kennesaw, only one exit from the airport. While the majority of TBC’s clients are in Georgia, being a private pilot allows Zampatti to expand the membership beyond its Georgia base, especially to southeastern resort areas like Destin, Savannah and Hilton Head, most of which are within an easy hour-and-a-half flight of Atlanta. It satisfies my passion for flying, and it makes adding new members to our network much easier and more convenient, he says. For more information, visit or call 770-591-4343.

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