Bartering network easing businesses
IN THE FACE of a challenging economic climate, one local business has sought a way to help other businesses cope.
JTS B2B Services is a bartering company. It gives business operators an opportunity to access goods and services from other businesses and individuals without using cash.
Sales manager Shuntelle Clarke explained how the concept works.
“The traditional barter limited the exchange to two people only. However, we do organized barter. So, for instance, a hotel that is a part of JTS wants landscaping done but doesn’t have the cash. JTS would call a landscaper within the network and ask the charge.
“Instead of the hotel dipping into their cash flow to pay the landscaper, the hotel would pay the cost in barter credit. We do not deal with cash. The landscaper can now use the barter credits to buy whatever they want within JTS from any company within the network,” explained Clarke.
One barter credit is equal to $1. JTS has over two dozen members so far and was hoping to get at least another 25 by the end of this month to start trading. The Violet House, Upper Collymore Rock, St Michael business was started over a month ago and currently has three full-time employees and one part time.
Clarke said there were benefits for businesses involved in bartering since it would help them to minimize spending.
“Barbadian business owners are complaining about cash flow. When you have to get things for your business or personal use and you don’t have to take cash out of your business cash flow, that is a benefit.
“Also, when you do barter and you have happy barter clients, people do talk. So if you have a restaurant, for example, and you do a good job, people will talk and you will get cash customers,” said Clarke.
“People are strapped for cash and they are holding back. What I hear is that people are dipping into their savings now because things are really bad. But if businesses can see the advantages of this, getting things that you need for your business and what you need for your household without having to touch the cash that you are so strapped for, it would drive business. This is our way to help each other in a sense,” said Clarke.
Acknowledging that bartering was not new, Clarke said this type of transaction would encourage more companies and individuals to use more local products and services.
“There are a lot of businesses that import. In my opinion that is one of the reasons the economy is the way it is right now because we are not supporting each other. But with barter credit here now you can use them to get things without using your cash,” said Clarke.
She said while JTS was established to “help those who needed help most” businesses in every sector were welcome to join the network.
Companies sign up, choosing between two plans for a one-time sign-up fee. JTS also gets earnings from a commission from a trade as well as a monthly membership fee.
Clarke said there were a number of individuals who would have lost their jobs or be unable to find gainful employment but have a skill. Those individuals, she said, could also benefit from bartering.
“There is a need to help the people who do not have businesses. A lot of people are getting laid off . . . . There are people out there who do not have businesses but have skills. They could teach Spanish classes, knit and do things that they can barter,” explained Clarke.
She said there was also a provision to offer a “loan” in the form of barter credits in case a client did not have enough barter credit to acquire a product or service they needed.
The 21-year-old former University of the West Indies, Cave Hill student said she always wanted to be an entrepreneur and when the opportunity presented itself, she jumped at it.
“The idea started with my mom and dad. My father founded it and handed it over to me. I am passionate about how this business can help people at the bottom and at the top,” said Clarke.
She said the main challenge so far was getting people to understand the benefits of bartering but those who signed up were “very excited”.
Clarke said she was hoping to have over 100 companies within the network by the end of this year to early next year.
“And in the distant future I see JTS expanding throughout the Caribbean so local companies don’t only barter here but they can barter with businesses in other countries,” she said.