See previous article about bartering for background.
There are about 500 bartering organizations in North America. How do you know which ones to join? There is no universal RIGHT answer here, you just need to ask the questions, and see if the answers meet your bartering needs.
First off, membership fees are generally low monthly (occasionally annual) fees. It generally pays off to be a member of more than one organization, as it increases the likelihood of finding someone who can provide the service/good you need.
1) Is it regional, national or international?
Some exchanges are limited to cities in a specific city/county – others nationwide.
2) How many members does it have?
You want to make sure that there is enough to go around. Not all businesses in an exchange will want to barter at any given time.
3) Which industries are the other members in?
You want to make sure that the industries represented are ones that you might require goods or services in, and ones that might need whatever you can provide. Otherwise, you won’t be doing much bartering.
4) What is the typical transaction size?
Different exchanges work on different scales, you want to find one that is in line with whatever you have in mind.
5) Are there barter consultants?
Some barter organizations offer barter consultants, who help broker the deal in an individualized fashion. Others are more automated.