We just moved into a new house about a month ago. This is actually the second time we have built. I had forgot how much work a new home is. There is so much to be done. One big project we need done is landscaping the backyard.
Since we have pretty much run out of money with all our other upgrades, I decided that rather than go into debt to get it done, I could perhaps find a landscaper willing to do some trade work. I could build a website for their business in return for their landscaping services.
I’ve actually done trade work once in the past. I needed my house painted and posted an ad on Craigslist. I had an artist come and paint my house and I built a custom website for him in return to feature his artwork. I think after all the iterations and custom work I did, he came out far ahead.
But, I really need a backyard, so I wrote up a few on craigslist. I got a couple of bites. The first one was someone who wanted me to call them. I emailed them instead and never heard back from them. If I can’t communicate with someone via email, I don’t think we will be able to work well together.
The second person who contacted me was all about every plant being editable and water-wise. She said if I liked to use bug spray and non-organic fertilizer then she didn’t feel we would be a good fit. I didn’t feel we would be a good fit.
So I figured it was time to just find someone and get a bid. I subscribed to Angie’s list and sent emails to about 6 different landscapers. I didn’t hear from any of them. It must be a busy time of year. My wife called a few places and actually got one person to return her call.
But then something crazy happened. Some neighbors came to visit and welcome us into the area. When I told them what I did for a living, one of them’s eyes lit up and said “We need to talk.” I actually hear this a lot. Since I haven’t really done freelance work in many years I usually just let them know I’m not in the freelance business. But, when he said he owned a landscaping company and needed a website and that he was interested in trade work, my eyes lit up. “Yes, we need to talk!\”
So we are going to work with each other. Hopefully it all goes well. My wife tends to get nervous when I do business with neighbors because she is afraid that something may go bad and cause hurt feelings and awkward relationships. I tend to look at it as more of a blessing. I love trade work. There is something appealing for about trading skills for skills and work for work.
So what do you think? Have you ever done trade work? How did it go? Would you do it again?