By Dave Ficere
The dictionary defines bartering as “a system of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.”
Bartering has been around for more than 6,000 years and – in modern times – became popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when it was used by many people to obtain food and services.
Today, bartering has once again enjoyed a renaissance and Value Card Alliance (VCA) is leading the charge. The world-wide company is headquartered in Deer Valley and boasts more than 36,000 trading partners and more than 3,000 local members. It is the largest privately-owned barter network in the U.S.
Bringing her experience as a marketing director to the organization, Value Card Alliance President Christie Acevedo got involved with VCA in 2008, helping take the company from 400+ members to 3,000 local members. They’ve been ranked as one of the fastest growing businesses in both 2013 and 2014 and are still growing.
“Value Card gives every business a platform to trade services with others. It works very much like a bank,” Acevedo says. One thing that makes VCA different from the competition is that businesses have to conduct “all trade” transactions, unlike other barter companies who mix cash and trade. Another unique feature is the Value Card Swap Meet, where members can post anything 24/7 and work with each other.
Each business that joins Value Card Alliance has a broker assigned to them who manages the VCA side of the business on their behalf and touches base with them at least twice a month. Acevedo estimates that most VCA clients trade between eight and 20 percent of their business with other VCA clients.
“It’s free to join VCA,” Acevedo says and clients pay a five-percent transaction fee that goes to VCA for their costs. In addition, there is an $8 a month fee, as well. Businesses have to decide what they’re going to trade; for example a dentist may trade certain services, but not others.
Once a business comes on board with VCA, they can go onto the website and see
all the other members and businesses. Healthcare providers and travel companies are a large presence in VCA and clients can search the database themselves or have VCA promote their business to others in the database. Acevedo says just about every type of business you can imagine is part of the VCA network.
So, why should businesses join Value Card Alliance rather than do it on their own? Acevedo says the biggest reason is the amount of work involved and having someone work on your behalf and the ability – because of the large network – of seeing almost instantaneous results. “Working with us saves a business the time and energy needed to set up a trade,” Acevedo says, “as well as open up a whole world of products or services they can utilize.”
“People need to check VCA out and find out if it’s a good fit for them,” Acevedo adds. “There are a lot of ways we can set up accounts for businesses and we work with them to make sure it’s going to work for them.”
One very popular event that’s just around the corner is VCA’s Holiday Show, November 21 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Acevedo says it’s a huge draw with thousands of participants who offer a variety of products and holiday gift items. With more than 350 vendor tables, there’s just about everything you can imagine for holiday shopping
To learn more about Value Card Alliance, call them at (602) 308-0385 or visit them online at www.valuecardalliance.com.