Barter Online with this Lansing Startup

By Jane Whitttington on October 28th, 2016 / Comments

Bartering has been around as long as people have. Our ancient ancestors, living in caves, likely bartered. Before money, there were trades for goods and services. When money entered the picture, it took the place of bartering; however, bartering is still part of our economy.

In the 21st century, this kind of trading increasingly takes place over the Internet. Trade Network, Inc. has updated the concept by offering an easy, efficient and effective way for business owners to conserve their cash while also attracting new customers and tapping into new markets.

It works like this: companies working with Trade Network accept payment in the form of trade dollars instead of cash. Those companies then use the trade dollars they have received to purchase goods and services they need without having to pay cash for them.

Trade Network’s website explains it this way: “A TN trade consultant works with you to bring your company new sales and increased market share, to move available inventory and to minimize cash outlay for everyday business expenses. Clients of an exchange use trade dollars, instead of cash, to handle their transactions. Trade Network provides you with an alternate distribution network. You can charge retail value for goods and services in trade dollars, instead of selling them for reduced rates in cash or having them go unsold. An exchange acts as a third-party record keeper, providing clients with monthly statements that reflect all trade purchases and sales and show the current trade-dollar balance.”

Evan Kay, the CEO of Trade Network, Inc. says, “My father started this company back in 1991. He was an avid barterer himself and saw the need for a local company that could market and monitor bartering while helping its customers to expand their businesses.”

He continues, “Over time, we have expanded to serve over 1,000 businesses in Mid-Michigan and West Michigan. Besides our main office in Lansing, we also have a satellite office in Grand Rapids.  In addition to myself, there are two other employees.”

Trade Network’s customer base includes a wide variety of businesses. Kay says, “We have 75 different restaurants that are part of our network. Our members pay the restaurant in trade dollars which the restaurants are then able to use to purchases goods and services that they need from other members of the network, things like menu printing, restaurant equipment and repairs, landscaping, or advertising. This is a winning situation for everyone involved. And restaurants are just one type of business in our system.”

There is a one-time membership fee and a 12 percent transaction fee when trade dollars are spent.  Kay says that 95 percent of their customers renew their memberships.

More information about the company and how your business can become a member is at

About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.