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Volunteers clean the premises for two hours, in exchange for being able to use the facilities free of charge for two weeks.

  • Annie Verreault (View profile)Annie Verreault

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Far from being new, barter is still present in commercial exchanges today. Although it remains marginal, certain companies, notably sports centers, offer service exchanges to their customers.

This is the case at Boulders Climbing, in Edmonton, Alberta. Vacuuming and mopping in hand, volunteers clean the premises for two hours, and in exchange, they can use the facilities free of charge for two weeks.

C “is a good thing for accessibility for people who do not have the means to go to the gym, which is my case,” notes Fabricio Mosquera who, for a year now, has been able to practice his favorite sport at using this program.

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The exchange service allows Fabricio Mosquera to practice climbing, so that otherwise, they would not have the means.

However, the benefits of exchanging services go beyond the financial aspect, according to André-Claude Beaulac, the owner of the Yoga Origine studio, located in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

The studio offers volunteers to work four hours a week in exchange for a one-month subscription to the yoga center, #x27;worth a hundred dollars.

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If we do a quick calculation, [the person] would perhaps be better off going to work at minimum wage to pay for their subscription, and that would be more profitable, but it goes beyond that, for us, he points out. p>

It's the spirit of community, the friendships that are created and the social activities of the studio that bring many people to participate in this type of exchange, according to André-Claude Beaulac.

They are important people in the community, and I think that they find themselves valued through that, much more than money as such.

A quote from André-Claude Beaulac, owner of the studio Yoga Origine

Dan Corbett, who has been participating in the Edmonton climbing center exchange program for six years, emphasizes that it allowed him to meet many people he would not have spoken to otherwise.

He adds that, according to him, the agreement is very advantageous, I would do more hours of cleaning for the same number of hours [of climbing] in exchange, he says.

For the associate professor of marketing at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi, Myriam Ertz, the benefits that participants derive vary, since they must make an effort in exchange for this financial advantage. It always depends on the consumer’s estimation of the value of their time, she explains.

The economic benefits also apply to businesses. These can save on labor costs, which are often one of businesses' biggest expenses, notes Myriam Ertz.

She adds that this type of program can also help the business project a good image in the market and encourage a constant flow of people who frequent the establishment.

It doesn't cost them much, their goal is to bring people in, she says.

It allows us to kill two birds with one stone, it brings people back and at the same time it allows us to fill tasks that may not necessarily be carried out because we don't have the workers. for.

A quote from Myriam Ertz, associate professor of marketing at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi

André-Claude Beaulac emphasizes that volunteers become ambassadors of the yoga studio. These are often people who will talk about it around them, so it really brings a great energy.

Establishing service exchange programs requires time and management. However, both companies emphasize that over the years, the programs improve and become easier to manage.

Sophia Iligan, who runs the service exchange program at Boulders Climbing, emphasizes that it is important to specify the company's expectations with the participants.

The climbing center has offered the Karma Cleaning program since 2017, and it is very popular. The limited places are often filled and volunteers must reserve almost a month in advance to ensure they have a place.

The popularity of the program is good news according to Sophia Iligan, who hopes it can inspire other companies to offer this type of service.

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