Bartercard is the biggest corporate bartering company in the world, with a number of UK branches.
The only criteria potential members must fulfil is to be a 'viable' business with a constructive proposal and a service or product that other members will want. But, as Tariq Islam, Managing Director of Bartercard, Camberley, in Surrey, admits, anticipating the needs of businesses is not that straightforward.
"We were approached by a clown who wanted to join. My immediate reaction was that he would benefit from the offerings of our members, but how would he possibly find enough companies interested in using his services? I was wrong. He has proved very successful in providing corporate entertainment."
Bartercard has 2,400 members in the UK and access to 40,000 members worldwide. For a joining fee that varies between £800 and £2,000 depending on the company, members have immediate access to this pool of potential customers and suppliers, and Bartercard will actively promote the company to members. On each transaction, Bartercard will take some commission, based on the total cost (including VAT).
The Business Exchange (Scotland) Ltd, or TBEx, boasts hundreds of members and differs from most other barter organisations because it only charges commission on a purchase, rather than on sales as well. This is also charged at 10 per cent of the barter fee only, rather than the total including VAT. The annual fee is £300, but the first instalment isn't charged until the first successful transaction is completed.
The company has two ways of trading - corporate and retail. Retail allows members to liaise directly with members, by using its online search facility or its bi-annual members directory. Corporate involves TBEx buying goods or capacity from a company and remarketing it to clients.