There’s been a boom in bartering recently. For many people, that’s meant digging through the pantry to find something to swap for toilet paper after pandemic-crazed shoppers cleaned out the aisles. For others, community pages on Facebook and Nextdoor are reliable sources for trading items like furniture or kitchen accessories. Then, there’s BizX, a barter exchange based in Bellevue. “We are a digital bartering company that helps advance the oldest tool of bartering — and takes it to the next level,” says owner Bob Bagga.
That next level goes beyond trading household items to trading entire households. For example, an article in Bloomberg recently described a transaction at the company: A home flipper spent a lot of money buying and remodeling a home in Leavenworth that was listed for $1.2 million. Now, he’s willing to accept part of that payment in “BizX dollars,” which he can use as credit to trade for services with other BizX members — electricians, landscapers, painters — so he can buy and flip other houses. “In the barter economy, you are richer than you think,” says Bagga. “The pandemic has impacted many businesses. Most of these companies have capacity but are tight on cash, and bartering allows them to use what they have to get what they need.”
Bartering has long been a common tool among savvy business owners. “One-third of transactions among businesses are non-cash exchanges. General Electric, Mercedes, and other major companies all barter.” Now, especially, it may be a necessity for all businesses, big and small, given the current economy. Bagga calls it “the first form of currency,” and he says it’s not going anywhere. “Businesses are and will continue to use bartering as the economy shifts, just as working remotely has become the way of the future.”
As most businesses have seen dramatic shifts since the Coronavirus, so has BizX. Since the outbreak began, the company has seen a 30% increase in traffic to their website. “It’s very interesting and encouraging to see the ways that our BizX customers are using our currency during this time. We depend on small to mid-sized businesses, and demand has definitely gone up since the outbreak began. We can now see that businesses are planning for the rebound.” Bagga and his team at BizX plan to be a part of that rebound. “My team has totally stepped up! I am so proud of them, the innovations in the BizX community, and the positive connections we’ve made.” He helped launch a Facebook group and website called Business Saving Business to allow members of the local community to help each other.
Bagga says it doesn’t matter if you are a billionaire, a sole proprietor, a Fortune 500 company or a local flower shop. “At the consumer level, if there is a way to buy something without having to use cash, people will be naturally drawn to it. People will always prefer measures that preserve cash, which is why bartering is more effective in this type of economy.”
“One-third of transactions among businesses are non-cash exchanges. General Electric, Mercedes, and other major companies all barter.”