Four years ago, Steve Jenkins started his own business manufacturing hand-bendable copper wires for plumbing. Jenks Tubes now employs three people and supplies hardware giants, B&Q and Wicks with its products.
"I got involved with Bartercard two years ago and have never looked back," said Jenkins. "Supplying the likes of B&Q means they want credit up to 90 days and this can play havoc with a small company's cash flow. Being able to barter and keep the cash in the business helps enormously."
Jenkins estimates that the company generates over £300 worth of barter business every month, but points out that because his product is more specialised, he can't sit back and wait for work to come to him. "Just like in the cash world, you have to proactively find the business, but it is out there."
Jenkins paid £750 joining fee and was immediately given £1,500 worth of credit. "This helped me get going before I started trading. Now I use it for almost everything - meals out, holidays, computer equipment, tyres for the vehicles we use etc."
But Jenkins says you have to be on the ball to make the most of the opportunities presented by barter. "You have to be prepared to change your buying patterns, change your suppliers and think more carefully about your outgoings. You can also 'cash convert' by buying a product for a friend and selling it on for cash, so you both get a good deal. But you have to learn to think in a different way to make the most of bartering."