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Q. What are some of the ways I can use my barter dollars?

A. Barter dollars can be used to purchase a wide variety of products and services. Not only can you use barter dollars to cut cash operating expenses, you can also use barter dollars for personal expenses, such as restaurant meals, travel and entertainment. Barter provides an excellent opportunity to reward staff and loyal customers, without cutting into your cash flow. If you do not have a dental plan, consider using barter dollars to help your staff pay for dental visits. Barter can also be applied to larger investments such as real estate.

Q. How do I set up an employee account?

A. If you have an employee you would like to reward with barter dollars, you can set up an employee account. You can make occasional deposits or arrange to pay your employee a set number of barter dollars each month. Your employee is not required to pay any fees when spending his/her barter dollars; however, you must pay a 7% fee on the barter dollars transferred into his/her account. If you would like to set up an employee account, contact FCBE.

Q. Who determines the prices of goods and services for sale through First Canadian Barter Exchange?

A. Each member sets the prices of his/her products or services. One barter dollar is equivalent to one Canadian dollar. All products and services must be sold at fair market value.

Q. How do I know products and services are being offered at fair market value?

A. According to the Policies and Procedures of FCBE, members are required to offer their products and services at fair market value. If a member is found to be overcharging, he/she is removed from the exchange. We suggest you use the same due diligence in your barter dealings as you would when paying cash. If you are not sure if a price being offered is fair, compare rates with other suppliers. If you feel that a product or service is not fairly priced, don't buy it and notify First Canadian Barter Exchange.

Q. Is FCBE responsible for the quality of the goods and services offered by members of the exchange?

A. No. While FCBE does its best to attract honest, reliable members, FCBE does not guarantee the quality of products or services offered by members of the exchange. Any guarantees are the responsibility of the selling member.

Q. What is the role of a trade broker?

A. As a member of First Canadian Barter Exchange, you will be assigned a personal trade broker. It is your broker's job to help you get the maximum benefit from your barter exchange membership. Your broker can advertise your product or service to other members in our emails, monthly newsletter and on our website. Your broker is there to promote your business through word-of-mouth and introduce you to potential barter clients. Your broker can also help you to spend your barter dollars effectively. If you are looking for more barter sales, or ways to use your barter dollars more effectively, contact your broker, it is his/her job to help you get the most out of your membership.

Q. Why are some members confidential?

A. Some members of FCBE are considered confidential and are not listed in the Member Directory. These members usually provide high-ticket merchandise or services. Instead of offering their goods/services to all members of the exchange at a low barter percentage, they service only a few members, usually at 100% barter. Members with large trade surpluses or high-demand products and services are given the first opportunity to purchase from confidential members.

Q. How do I post items on

A. Email your posting to FCBE at

Q. Can I sell items that are not part of my business, i.e. a used car, furniture, etc., through the exchange?

A. Yes. Selling items that are not part of your business is a great way to earn barter dollars. It also adds to the variety of products available through the exchange. Please be sure to include the condition of such items in your description, i.e. Used but in good condition..., etc.

Q. How do I get a line of credit?

A. If you are interested in obtaining a barter dollar line of credit, or extending your existing credit line, contact your broker. You will need to fill out a credit application and, depending upon the amount requested, you may be required to sign a personal guarantee or related documentation in order to secure the loan.

Q. What are escrow accounts?

A. Escrow accounts are set up to contain funds for a limited time in order to protect both the buyer and seller in a transaction. Escrow accounts are often used in situations where a seller requires assurance that a buyer has adequate funds before a service or product is provided. Buyers are often reluctant to release funds before services or products have been provided in case such services/products are never received. In order to aid both parties, an escrow account is established. An amount is agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller and is deposited into the escrow account. Neither the buyer nor the seller has access to this account. Once the service/product has been provided and the buyer approves the transaction, the allotted funds are transferred to the seller's account. (For more details, see FCBE Policies and Procedures, Escrow Accounts.)

Q. How do I find out what other exchanges First Canadian Barter Exchange deals with?

A. If you are planning to travel or would like to purchase a product or service not offered by an FCBE member, you may be interested in dealing with one of FCBE's affiliates. These affiliate exchanges are located throughout Canada and the U.S. and can be used to purchase products and services not available through FCBE's local network. For more information, please phone, fax or email FCBE with your specific request. FCBE will then put you in touch with the appropriate exchange. If you are looking for accommodations, please submit a Travel Request Form.

Q. How do I go about trading with these affiliate exchanges?

A. FCBE has reciprocal agreements that allow you to trade with a number of affiliates throughout North America. If you are booking a hotel or ordering a product from an affiliate, the transaction will be processed through the FCBE office. If you are visiting another city and would like to make purchases on trade during your stay, you may be able to pick up certificates from the affiliate's office or may be issued a temporary barter card, valid for the duration of your stay.

Q. What do I get for referring a company to the exchange?

A. Referrals are very important to FCBE and have been instrumental in building the exchange. Each time you refer a company that joins the exchange, you earn 100 barter dollars.

Q. Do I have to pay taxes on barter transactions?

A. Yes. Barter transactions should be treated the same way as cash transactions. Barter is considered income and must be declared. Barter spent on personal items is considered a taxable benefit; similarly, barter spent on business items can be written off. FCBE suggests speaking to an accountant if you require further information. If members are involved in direct trading in an attempt to avoid taxes, their memberships will be terminated.

Q. What can I do to get more barter sales?

A. The first thing to do is talk to your trade broker. It is their job to promote your business through the barter exchange. You may want to advertise in the Barter Now, which is faxed or emailed to members each week, or on our website. Concentrate on what makes your business unique. You may want to advertise one particular aspect of your business and give a description of one product or service you provide. Is there a special you would like to offer FCBE members? You may want to have a sale or event at your business or provide members with a limited-time offer. You may have items that are not related to your business, such as used furniture, cars, appliances, etc., that you could sell through the barter exchange. In addition to our local members, FCBE is affiliated with over 100 other barter exchanges throughout North America. If you would like to sell your product or service outside the lower mainland, ask your trade broker for details.

Q. Can I limit the number of barter dollars I will earn?

A. Yes. There are several ways you can control the number of barter dollars you will earn. If you are concerned that you may earn more barter dollars than you are capable of spending, here are some suggestions:

Accept barter certificates or script instead of the FCBE Barter Card. This allows you to pre-determine the amount of barter dollars you will earn during a given time period. You determine the number of certificates you would like to have issued and FCBE supplies them to interested members.

Instead of accepting barter dollars year-round, you may choose to hold barter sales and accept barter dollars only during these sales.

Sell products at FCBE trade shows only. This way you can sell a wide variety of products to a number of different members, then take your time spending your trade dollars.

Be a confidential member. This means you will not be listed in our directory or other correspondence, but will receive business referred to you directly through FCBE.

Q. Why should I accept barter?

A. Accepting barter is a great way to access a whole new client base. It allows you to turn your extra time and excess inventory into additional revenue you would not have received otherwise. This new source of revenue can be used to purchase everything from business products and services to luxury items and vacations.

Q. Why do restaurants accept script, not the barter card?

A. Since many members patronize restaurants on a regular basis, the amount of barter dollars a restaurant can earn sometimes exceeds the amount of barter dollars they are capable of spending. By choosing to accept script instead of the barter card, restaurants can control the amount of barter dollars they earn. Script are valid for up to three months, thus restaurants can specify how many script they would like FCBE to issue during each three month period. Allowing restaurants to maintain a balance of barter earnings and expenditures is an important part of ensuring their satisfaction and ability to continue serving barter patrons. By providing the script alternative, FCBE has been able to obtain a number of new restaurants.

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