Bartering may save cash in hard times

October 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
In these tough economic times, a growing number of savvy consumers are turning to bartering by trading skills, services or goods with one another, without exchanging any money. Meet Dave Norwoods, a Mission Hills resident who has mastered the art of bartering.

He got this truck for doing carpentry and tile work for a wealthy Malibu resident.

A licensed contractor and musician, Dave has been bartering his labor for 20 years, getting boatloads of stuff absolutely free, like a Sea-Ray pleasure boat, worth about $6,000.

"See what you can get for having some talents and skills, nice little goodies, if you don't have money, trade!" advises Norwoods.

"And here's some of the stuff I've traded for. Deals are everywhere, look, a set of pumbas," says Norwoods, pointing to his drums.

Dave's collection of musical instruments didn't cost him a dime.

Dave's biggest passion is traveling. He's bartered for airline miles and free trips, documenting his adventures on his Web site, travelindave.com.

"I've traveled all over the world to about 87 countries and 106 islands, and most of it has been because of trade, isn't that cool?"

Dave finds most of his barter swaps on the Web site, craigslist.com.

Craiglist told Eyewitness News bartering posts on its site have gone up 120 percent over the last 12 months because of the troubling economy.

In Los Angeles, Eyewitness News found Craigslist users bartering for dental work, a blackberry smart phone, magic lessons and even a Rolls Royce.

Norwoods recently put in a new carpet at an audio post-production studio in Burbank. For his labor, the owners of Monkeyland Audio agreed to digitize CDs for a documentary Dave is working on.

"We trade our cheap materials, low cost materials to Dave for his low cost materials, it works well."

Dave says the most important thing he's learned about bartering is knowing the value of what he's trading and what he's trading for.

He says it's not worth bartering services worth $100 for something valued at $10.

And, when it comes to getting free stuff, Dave Norwood, hasn't missed a beat.


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