FAQ: What is hOUR Economy?
hOUR Economy is an alternative local economy based on time and relationships, rather than dollars. Instead of money, we exchange time.
Anyone participating can “earn an hOUR” for time they spend helping neighbors, fellow business owners, or organizations that are also participating in hOUR Economy. They can then spend that hOUR to receive services like gardening assistance, cooking classes, business services, wellness and medical care, pet sitting, bicycle repair, and many other local services. – and the cycle continues.
In hOUR Economy, everyone’s hOURs are treated equally, and everyone’s contribution is valued.
For many reasons!
Some participants join to receive access to services that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford or prioritize in the monetary economy (massages, dog sitting, website design, educational classes, musical events, etc.).
Others participate to “give back” and make their services accessible to a broader range of the community. Many like having a way of exchanging that’s more personal and based in a local community.
Some simply like meeting new people and experiencing the diversity of local talent and opportunities. However you participate, hOUR Economy is co-created by everyone who is a member and you help shape our sharing economy.
What services are available?
As many as we, as a community, choose to provide. Members can access our full online listing of services, but you can also browse what’s currently listed by clicking here.
Who can join?
Everyone! hOUR Economy is open to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. When joining, we encourage you to attend an hOUR Economy potluck, meet other members, and to get to know a little about our community. Contact us to learn more.
How do I keep track of my hours?
Our online Timebank Website tracks hOURs for everyone. When you’ve provided or received a service, decide which of you will log the hOURs, and then simply record them online. (The other individual will receive an email notification of hOURs exchanged). As a member, you can always check your hOURs account balance online here.
To learn more about using our online timebanking software, check out this short video tutorial below.
How much is an “hOUR” worth?
In hOUR Economy, everyone’s hOUR is equal regardless of the service. Time is precious to all of us, and we value each individual participating and the hours they are able to give. Our choice to share our time, and to build a sustainable local community with our time, is the shared instinct that hOUR Economy celebrates and nurtures. Thus, when you record a transaction, you account not for its worth in dollars but in the amount of time it took to complete.
I own a business, why should I get involved?
hOUR Economy is a unique way for businesses to provide and receive services in addition to the ones they are already engaged in.
hOUR Economy doesn’t replace the monetary economy – it complements it. Businesses may use hOUR Economy to supplement their existing customer base and to keep growing and strengthening their community networks. They may also choose to receive hOUR Economy services (accounting, webdesign, marketing assistance, etc) when they have limited financial capital.
Both providers and receivers of ALL services on hOUR Economy should keep in mind that hOUR Economy is a networking tool, not a business clearinghouse or a guarantee of services. As in all exchanges, use your good judgment and ask questions to determine whether the person you are considering working with can provide the type and quality of services you really want.
Can you buy, sell, or barter things with hOUR Economy?
Not directly. hOUR Economy is unlike bartering in two important ways. First, in a barter, only two people are involved. The person who “gives” something also receives immediately something of equal value in return. In hOUR Economy, when you provide a service, the hours are logged in your online account. When you want to spend those hours, you can ask anyone in the community for their assistance, not just the person to whom you originally provided the services.
Second, in bartering goods are exchanged based on their monetary value. In hOUR Economy, all participants’ hours are considered of equal worth. As a result, the IRS considers equal hour exchanges non-taxable. If you have a service that comes with a good (for example, providing photography services for one hour, and then supplying the images) consider either gifting the goods or selling it separately as a taxable item.