Offerings are what you provide to the community of traders in the CES so that you can receive what they are providing.
Q. Can I offer both goods and services?
Yes, you can offer goods as well as services. You can offer anything that other traders will accept, the same as if you were trading in the conventional economy. You have even more scope in the CES because you can offer the kinds of services that wouldn’t be viable in the ‘other’ economy. Examples are companionship, personal assistance, advice, support, training etc. Of course there is no point in offering things that do not make sense in a small, closed community, e.g. astronaut, ship captain, airline pilot etc!
Q. I have nothing to offer!
This is a very common first reaction! Registering with the CES will help you realise that you do have things to offer and that you can be useful to others. Whether you are skilled or not, your time, energy or resources will be of value to someone. A few examples are shopping, answering the phone, dog walking, cooking, cleaning, gardening, child care, car lifts, home equipment or tool hire, to name a few. Start by asking yourself what you really enjoy doing, or sit down with a friend and tell each other what you are good at. Take a look at the Inspiration List below and have a look at the demonstration site to get ideas. You will probably surprise yourself when you begin to think about it!
Q. Can I offer what I do at work?
You can offer absolutely anything you like, but always ask yourself if there will be demand for what you are offering in a small, closed community. If what you do at work is highly specialised and only meaningful in the context that you provide it then you are not likely to find many takers in the CES. It is not good enough to put down what you do in your professional life and then later say it didn’t work for you because no one ever came to you. If no one comes to you then there is obviously no demand for what you are offering. If you have to steal time from your employer then it is probably not a good idea to offer what you do at work. There are many other things to offer. But if you really think others will respond to what you normally do in the money economy, then by all means offer it.
Q. How do I price my offerings?
If your exchange group is a community exchange, then price your offerings in exactly the same way as you would in the conventional economy! Price your goods and services in the national currency and then convert that into the currency of your exchange at a 1:1 ratio. This can be a fixed price or a rate per hour/day etc. If you can’t think of a price then put ‘Negotiable’ or ‘Various’ or ‘Contact me’. If you want to attract custom quickly then reduce your price. When you have registered and you get your account number and password, access the site and check what others are charging for offerings similar to yours. If you find that you get too much custom too suddenly then raise your prices! If no one comes to you then probably your prices are too high.
If your exchange group is a time bank then your unit of value is one hour (or sometimes another time unit such as a minute). Most time banks only offer services and operate according to the principle that one hour or your time is the same as one hour of another’s time. The pricing of goods in a time bank is a little more difficult but after getting used to the value of the time unit it becomes easier to ‘price’ goods in terms of the time unit, and after a time it is possible to compare the ‘time-value’ of comparable goods in order to establish a ‘price’. If you can’t think of a ‘time-value’ for your goods then put ‘Negotiable’ or ‘Contact me’ and then discuss with the receiving party what they would find acceptable.
You may also offer items for barter, to swap or as a gift, or any combination of the available exchange options. The CES is a true exchange system that attempts to facilitate exchange using a range of exchange methods.
Q. Can I quote prices in the national/federal currency?
No, not on their own but you may include a component in the national currency. Many traders quote CES currency for the labour and national currency for parts or materials. CES-currency-only offerings are preferred and you might find little interest in your wares or services if you quote a national currency component. Many traders feel uneasy about receiving CES currency only when they have had to lay out national currency. But remember, you get that national currency back by having more CES currency to spend on things that you would normally pay national currency for. The more you get involved in the CES the more comfortable you will feel about receiving CES currency even when you have spent national currency.
Q. How many offerings can I have?
The joining form only has space for three offerings but when you get your account details you can add as many more as you like. You can also put the same offering under different categories and advertise on other exchanges anywhere in the world.
Q. How do I describe my offerings?
Use a terse, descriptive offering title that makes it immediately clear to others what you are offering. In the Details field you can use as many words as you like to describe your offering. Think of your offerings as your personal advertisements. If your advertisement is poor, people will skip over your offering and choose someone else with a better description. Convince others why your goods and services are the best, why you are the best person to receive them from and how our lives will be better by receiving your offer! If you are providing goods describe it/them in detail; if you are offering a service tell us something about your experience and what others will gain from having you provide it.
Q. Can I change my existing offerings and delete old ones?
Yes. Your offerings are fully editable. You can change the title, the description, the price and keywords that help others search for your offerings. You can also hide your offerings if they are not relevant for the present time. Offerings can be deleted if they are no longer relevant.
Q. How long do my offerings last for?
You can determine how long your offerings will display for. You can select anything from one week to one year, which is the longest an offering will remain on the Offerings List without updating. You can also continuously update your offerings so that they remain on the list forever. Updating also ‘refreshes’ your offerings bringing them to the top of the list where most people will see them.
Q. Can I have pictures of my offerings?
Yes. When you access your account you can add additional offerings and upload pictures at the same time. Pictures can replace many words and draw attention to your offerings.
Use the list below to get some idea of what you can offer. This is not a complete list; it is just meant to provide some inspiration. Also have a look at the demonstration site and, of course, you will be able to see what others are offering once you access your account and look at the Offerings List.
Car washing & cleaning
Writing, editing, proofreading
|Answering the phone
Shopping for others
Reading stories, storytelling
Fetching/taking children to school
Curtains, carpets, cushions
Toys, dolls etc.
Computers and peripherals
|Hiring/renting||Food||Advice & Tuition|
Garden tools & equipment
Cakes, buscuits, buns etc.
Preserves, pickles, jams
Pies, quiches, tarts
Herbs & spices
Colour and style advice