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How does TimeBanking work?
For every hour you spend helping someone else, you receive one TimeBank hour, or time credit. You can then use those time credits to receive a service from another member of the Frederick TimeBank.
How much is a time credit or TimeBank hour worth?
A time credit has no monetary value or association. An hour of service receives an hour credit, no matter what service is performed. An hour is an hour. Time is the currency of the TimeBank. And that’s the beauty of TimeBanking. Everyone’s time is valued equally.
How do I find the services I need/Offer services?
People list the skills, experience and services they have to offer, and those that they may need at the Timebank website. You can respond to an offer of service, or post a request for what you need.
Who keeps track of the exchanges?
A record is kept of all the hours exchanged between members. When a service is performed, one of the people involved, usually the service provider, records the exchange at the website. The receiver of the service then receives a notice about the exchange and how much time was deducted from their TimeBank account. You can always see a listing of all of the exchanges you have participated in, as well as your account balance by clicking on the “My Exchanges” link either from the homepage or from your profile page.
Can I offer a service that another member already offers?
Absolutely. No one person can service all the members of the TimeBank. A member may choose to receive a service from one member over a number based on any number of factors – location, the level of expertise that is being offered, their gut reaction to your bio. Multiple options to choose from, even for the same service, is always a good thing.
Do I have to accept someone’s offer of service, or request for service?
No. You decided when and with you exchange services and time. You can say no for any reason. We only ask that you respond to the person with a yes or no within three days so that they know to look for someone else to help or receive a service from.
Who can Join?
Anyone! While the majority of our members are in Frederick County we welcome members from the surrounding communities as well.
How much time is required of me?
Only as much as you choose to give.
Isn’t this the same as bartering?
No. In timebanking you don’t need to negotiate an equitable trade with someone. Instead, you perform a service and bank the hours as time credits. Then you choose when and how to spend your time credits with any other member of the TimeBank.
What if I feel like I don’t have anything to offer?
Many people feel this way in the beginning. We all have something to offer. The majority of services offered are normal, everyday activities. You do not need to be a professional with specific skills to be in the Timebank.
What about hard costs?
Hard costs such as gas, materials, and supplies that are associated with a service are to be paid by the one receiving the service. The receiver of the service has an option of providing the materials ahead of time, or reimbursing the service provider either before or after the service is performed. In cases where reimbursement is chosen vs providing the materials, payment is in dollars, not TimeBank hours. Details should be agreed to by both parties before the exchange is made.
Can I offer Items?
While we can offer items through the TimeBank, there is a specific way to do this. At this point in time, the IRS has ruled that timebanking activities are not taxable like traditional barter is. One of the reasons for that ruling is that there is no monetary value to the time credits or hours being exchanged. It is important that we not do anything that creates a dollar value association to time credits, or that we appear to be buying or selling items, otherwise the IRS could reverse their ruling and make timebanking exchanges taxable, and no one wants that. Here are the guidelines for offering items through the TimeBank:
- Offering an item you made: when determining how many time credits are appropriate for the item, you calculate how much time you have invested in making the item, not the amount of money in materials, etc. The cost of any materials associated with creating the item, known as hard costs, is paid by the person receiving the item. Include this information in the posting. You can either have the person provide you the materials to create the item, or give you the money to purchase the materials ahead of time or reimburse you for materials afterwards. You cannot charge time credits for materials. This monetizes time credits, associating them with a dollar value. If you feel that the cost of materials is negligible and you do not want/need to be reimbursed for them, you can do that.
- Offering an item you own that you didn't make: again, you do not determine the number of time credits based on the dollar value of the item. You calculate the amount of time it will take you to gather the item(s) together, clean them up if you wish, and meet with the person -- that is the amount of time credits to ask for you in posting. If you choose to deliver the item, you can include time for delivery.