How do I Barter – Trade for Physical Therapy or Pilates Services?

How do I Barter - Trade for Physical Therapy or Pilates Services

Today, I want to answer a question that I got from a good friend, Andy. Andy asked, how do you determine if you would trade with a client? Do you trade with new clients or regular existing folks only?

We do lots of trading. We do lots of bartering. It's something that we've started from the very beginning of our business. But what happens with our trading is, we trade for many things. My wife trades for hair, haircuts, hair colors, and all that stuff with different ladies. And these are women that we already know.

They were already an existing client of ours, we got to know them through coming into our business already. For example, the girl that does the facial will send Cheryl her invoice, and I have no idea how much facials cost. I'm not even going to guess.

Let’s just say it’s 100 bucks. So, she sends an invoice to my wife that costs 100 bucks, puts a credit on her account for her to come in and do sessions for 100 bucks classes. So, we trade dollar for dollar. We don't get discounts or package rates on any of our trading.

Now there's many ways to save and pay less. But with our trade, we don't do that on our trading. For me, I've traded for furniture; we've got a custom table, a custom chair and so many more.

There’s a scenario where a woman actually came in to see us. She came in and saw my wife and they did train and did some sessions. And we traded $6,000 worth of furniture. The thing is, you got to be cautious with trading. Because we did the work but didn’t get the furniture for a long time later.

 We had to stay on, we’re like, “Hey, we got a $4,000 credit, how much is the table?” It was king of a hassle. So, you got to be cautious on who you trade with. Because when someone comes in to utilize your services, whether it's PT, Pilates, massage, or whatever you're offering, but you don't get their services in return in a timely manner, a lot of times it'll get lost or forgotten. So, you have to have a system in place to keep track of it.

What else have we traded for? I trade for concert tickets now, too. For example, there’s a guy, he owns the theatre that I love to go see music at. And he's an old musician and been playing drums for. So, I work on a shoulder strengthening, we kind of work on whatever he needs.

He comes in and sees me once a week, I've been seeing him for some time now and really helped him a ton. I'm not really keeping track of that trade, because he's someone that I can just text within the day or a few days before a concert at his theatre. I just get on the list and it's done.

That easy. But I'm not really keeping track of tabs because he's coming in to see me for a bit, but he's not going to see me forever. But I’m going to keep seeing concert with him for as long as he's around. So that's a trade. It's a long-term trade. It’s a great trade for me because I love music, and I get tickets to anything I want.

We traded with some art, too. I'm going to say $20,000 worth of art. And that's art that we would have never ever bought. We can’t ever afford it. It's an art that we love. And I've learned a lot about art since then. There’s piece of art in our place.

We’ve traded that art when we first opened our business. Cheryl was working in a studio where most of the people were classically trained at a different kind of level of fitness level and she was working more rehabilitative.

Well, this woman really loves Cheryl and when she said “Hey, I'm leaving here. I'm going to be working at my own place.” The woman's like, “I'm coming to your place.” That’s when we found out that when instructors move to other places or open their own place, some of the clients are going to go with them. It's kind of a part of it. 

So, this woman came to us and she said, “Hey, I have an art gallery. I have an art showing tonight.” And we're like, “Okay, let's go check it out.” And again, we were about to open our place we hadn't quite open but we were in that process.

So, we knew she was coming to work with us, we knew she was going to work with Cheryl. When we went to her art show, we saw this piece of art right there. It was really a cool piece of art. And it was more expensive than I would ever pay for a piece of art. But I told her, “Look, if that piece doesn't sell, I'm happy to trade you for it.

I can't pay you for it because I just bought equipment for our business. But I'd be happy to trade with you. We'll give you a credit every time you come to see Cheryl.” She agreed and said, “Oh, yeah, it'd be awesome.” Then we got the piece immediately. I have it and it hung in my office in the lobby for four or five years. And it was basically the piece that we designed our entire facility around, we built our logo colors, we built out the floor, and everything is kind of based around that piece.

as the studio grew, we ran out of space, it ended up in my bedroom. Now over time, we ended up doing work for her and having a big credit again, but we had to chase her down because she owes us 12 grand and we need to get our art. So, there was a little stress in it. But now we have probably six pieces or seven pieces of original art that are awesome and I love. Most of it were a pleasant trade.

So that's my stories on bartering. I'm a big fan of it. But I don't barter with people that I don't know. Because I need to feel them out. I need to know them more. When I meet a client and they have a business or they do something that I think can help me, I start thinking about it immediately. Right now, have a client and she own a painting business.

I've only seen her once. But she comes in highly recommended word of mouth and she loves me already after one session. She's got paint business and I got some stuff that needs to be painted, like my house they need some painting and it certainly needs some staining.

So, we went, “Hey, we want work out a deal where you can take a look at my house and see what it costs you to paint my house and I'll give you that credit at the studio. And then you can come in and do what you need to do to get better.” That’s what happened. That’s a real possibility of something that I will also be offering someone in the next few weeks. Again, I'm going to feel them out a little bit more.

Before I do that, I want to make sure I don't get burned, because I have been burned out a bit with this bartering situation. And I'll tell you about that with the last story. I had a client that did some PR work for us. We were trading and it was really hard to put a value on what she was providing, because she did get us into one magazine.

They did an article about us in the Austin monthly magazine. That was awesome. It was a great article. And she got me some backstage passes to the ACL Music Festival which was awesome. But that was all I got. And she saw me a lot. 

She saw the trainers a lot, and the amount of money that she came in and the amount of PR that we got, it was hard to determine because she never really told me how she would have been charging people normally and how her rates worked.

She was just like “Yeah, we'll try it and then I'll get you some stuff.” But again, I got two things that were a value to me and the rest weren't. So again, you got to be cautious with who you trade with.

For Cheryl, bodyworks and haircuts work well. For me, concert tickets, furniture, custom art have been the things that I’ve love. I've also traded for social media. I've traded for all kinds of random things. So that's my story for today. And thanks for asking.

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