Tommy Leslie returned to Lee’s Summit from New Zealand with his wife after a two-and-a-half year stint there intent on making a name for himself in the trade and barter realm.
Leslie’s home-based business, Elite Barter Group, isn’t a unique concept within itself, but in this market – and with a little tweak here and there to the business model – the business may be just what the doctor ordered.
Elite Barter Group officially opened its door in June of last year, and in the year-plus since, the company has grown from one initial member to the 40 on its roster now.
Leslie co-owns the business with silent partner Weston Krska, who handles the company’s website and technical aspects.
“I lived overseas in New Zealand and I worked for a business that was a part of a large trade group like this,” Leslie said Sept. 24 via telephone from his Lee’s Summit home/business. “I got to see everything the owner of that business did on trade. He was doing a lot of (business) on trade so I was like, ‘this is awesome for a small business owner.’ When we moved back to Kansas City, we did some research to see what was around and we saw a really wide open market for it.”
Leslie said the goal of being a member of Elite Barter is to reduce cash expenses so that the savings can be put back into the business allowing business owners to keep more on price due to having lower operating expenses.
Between the current 40 members there are nearly 80 products and services being offered on trade. He added the idea of bartering or trading is nothing new, but typically it’s trading product for product, or product for service.
Elite Barter offers indirect trading, which means both sides do not need what the other has. Members use a local currency called trade dollars to buy products and services from each other. The trade dollars are recognized by the IRS as equal to the U.S. dollar provided all sales are reported as income and all trade dollars are backed by the retail value of each member.
For example, Leslie said, if the chiropractor in the group spends $1,000 trade dollars on advertising, website hosting, traveling and other expenses then he allows other group members to get $1,000 worth of chiropractic services with their trade dollars. The end result is the chiropractor got $1,000 value out of the group without spending cash; he simply paid it back with his service that cost him nothing but time.
“It’s been going good,” Leslie said. “We’re up to 40 members in the group now. It took a while to get the interest and to get the initial base of members going, but it’s starting to take off. In the last month alone we’ve added 10 new members.”
Group member and part-time Elite sales rep Dan Pentimone offered an example on how the system works based on his dealings as a real estate investor.
“I joined because I use to own a barter company (in Topeka, Kan.),” Pentimone said. “I saw the benefits of it from the past. Basically, it’s a great concept and it enables me as a business owner to save cash.
“For instance, recently I’ve had a number of security systems installed through barter. I can get not only the installation, the system, but my ongoing monthly fees paid through trade rather than paying cash out each month. In return…I will sale a house and take my commission on trade.”
Elite Barter is currently offering free sign-up for the first 50 members of the group. As mentioned before, membership numbers are at 40, so only 10 spots remain for the perk.
“The perks are just saving money and expanding your network,” Leslie said.
For more information on Elite Barter Group, visit www.elitebartergroup.