Publish Date: Nov/Dec 2006
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 www.thebartercompany.com or call 770-591-4343.