What types of services are available?
You can see the types of offers that are posted right now in the TimeBank here – they change depending on member availability and new members joining.
Is there a membership fee?
There is no monetary fee, nonetheless, the TimeBank accepts donations to cover operational costs, such as the website fees, TimeBanking software access, printing, etc. And of course, we accept time donations!
Can I exchange products, or goods, in addition to services?
Some members exchange things like eggs, home-grown veggies, used furniture, etc. However, the hours exchanged should be the amount of time it took to prepare the product for it to be exchanged. For example, if you are exchanging furniture, you might want to get the time-credits equivalent to the time it took to clean, fix (if applicable), and deliver the furniture.
It is important for us to avoid assigning a monetary value to our time; this is how the conventional economy already operates… and, clearly, the conventional economy is not working for everyone. For example, lets assume that you own a chair that is worth $10 and you want to exchange it for time-credits. You estimate that the average wage is $10 per hour of work, so you decide to exchange your chair for one time-credit (equivalent to an hour). By doing this, you are assigning a monetary value to a time-credit, which damages the TimeBank’s ability to operate as a parallel economy…an economy that works for everyone!
There are other systems and markets where you can sell or exchange material goods; timebanking is about exchanging services, and valuing everyone’s time equally.
What if I feel like I have nothing to offer?
You would be surprised at how many people share this feeling. We all have something to offer, and we all have unmet needs. One of the first things we learn when we join the TimeBank is that the majority of what is exchanged in the TimeBank are the everyday activities, such as help with grocery shopping, a ride to the other side of town, pet sitting, making food for the week. Furthermore, do you have a hobby? A passion? That is something to offer too. One does not need to be a “professional” with specific skills to be in the TimeBank.
Can someone’s account balance be negative?
We have a six time-credit negative limit for individuals. We encourage members to always be earning enough hours for what they want to spend them on. In special cases, if someone has a need, such as a sickness or emergency, they may contact the TimeBank coordinators to extend their limit. Sometimes hours are donated in this case as well.
What if I feel uncomfortable about someone I’m exchanging with?
We strongly believe in safety first. If anything goes wrong or feels strange during an exchange report it to the coordinators so we can be aware of it. If you feel uncomfortable during an exchange, or when you first meet the person, trust your instincts and tell them you’d rather not do the exchange after all. If they complain about having made plans, tell them they will still earn the hours agreed upon. Then report the incident to the coordinators. Don’t hesitate to back out of you are feeling apprehensive about any part of the interaction – better safe than sorry and we will understand.
What is a time-credit?
A time-credit is equal to one hour of service. Time credits may be counted in quarter hours too, so 0.25 time-credits is equivalent to fifteen minutes of service.
How do I earn or spend time-credits?
To earn a time-credit you must do an hour of service for another TimeBank member or for the TimeBank itself. To spend a time credit, you must have an exchange with another hOUR Bloomington TimeBank member, who will provide an hour of service for you.
How can I join the TimeBank if I don’t have access to the internet and/or a computer?
We are currently developing a member-run offline-system called Time Travelers. If you don’t have access to internet or a computer, you can still join the TimeBank by signing up for the Time Travelers system. This system works mainly through phone calls or scheduled home visits.
To sign up to the Time Travelers system, call us and leave a message at (812) 955-0560. Please leave your name, contact information, and the hours of the day in which you would prefer us to contact you.
Can I hold a small group class?
Yes, you can. This is a great way to share skills with other TimeBank members. The teacher should receive as many time credits as the time spent on the class and preparing it. Each student should give the amount of time they spent in the class. This is done a little differently than regular exchanges, and we will help you with recording hours and making sure your time is compensated appropriately, regardless of how many people show up to your class.
What about hard costs like gas, ingredients, or materials?
Things that cost real money like gas for rides, ingredients for cooking, etc., should be paid by for the person receiving the service. Whether you buy the materials up front or pay the service provided back is up to the two of you.
Is there a minimum age requirement in hOUR Bloomington TimeBank??
No– TimeBanking is inclusive of everyone– young and old, everyone has something to offer. Youth can offer services for navigating the computer and internet, yard care, pet sitting, crafting, volunteer projects, and more.
Can I donate my Time-tredits to someone else? Yes. If you are aware of a need that member has to receive a service, but they are unable to earn time-credits themselves, you may donate time credits to them. Contact a coordinators on how to do this.
I need a service that requires tools. Who is responsible for providing these?
The person requesting the service is responsible for providing all necessary materials. Always check with the member providing the service to confirm what is needed.
Should I tip a member for good service?
No. Rather than give a tip, “pay it forward” instead by giving excellent service to another member!
Do I have to report my service exchanges to the IRS?
No. All of the services that you exchange through the TimeBank are not taxable. Click the link below for more information.
TimeBanking Tax Document
What’s the difference between TimeBanking and bartering?
TimeBanking is not bartering because:
• It is not tied to a cash value
• It is based on the currency of time, so one time-credit = 60 minutes.
• It is not generally an exchange, like barter, between two people, but between a network of people. You may not earn and spend with the same person. You might, but you might not. It is not a contractual agreement, but recognized as a friendly favor.
hOUR Bloomington TimeBank is a member of hOurworld, an umbrella organization that provides tools, software, and support for TimeBanks worldwide.