Milwaukee (Area) Time Exchange
The Milwaukee (Area) Time Exchange is a program that gives people the opportunity to exchange services with neighbors and organizations. Members offer everything from home repairs and sailing outings to childcare, companionship and transportation. Members hire each other but pay time credits instead of cash. Time credits can be used to purchase services from over 100’s of members from all over Milwaukee County. It's free to join.
What services are offered by Mke TE Members? Members have offered bike repair, computer repair, home repair, childcare, elder care, gardening, pet care, Spanish lessons, German lessons, sewing, French lessons, music, physical fitness, fine art, job/interview skills, sailing, resume writing, graphic arts, computer skills, painting, math tutoring, knitting, dog training, phone calls, cooking, sewing, companionship, transportation, solar pv installation, gift wrapping, bread baking, cleaning and much more.
What are time credits? Time credits represent that amount of time one Time Exchange member has spent in the exchange of a service with another member. When you spend an hour helping another member, one Time credit gets added to your account and subtracted from the account of the member who received the service.
Does it cost anything to join? There are no set fees for individual members. Fees vary for organizational members.
I don't live in Milwaukee. Can I still join? Yes, you can join if you live anywhere in or near Milwaukee County. If you live far from other members your exchanges might start slowly, but you can encourage your neighbors to join!
Are time credits taxable? The IRS has determined that 1) because an hour is always an hour, regardless of what is offered, 2) because they are backed only by a moral obligation and 3) because they are intended for a charitable purpose, Time credits are not taxable.
What is expected of me as a member? We ask that members make their first exchange within two weeks of joining and engage in six exchanges during the course of a year. We also ask that you return any messages with requests or offers for service within several days of receiving them.
What can I do to help the Mke TE organization? We are always looking for volunteers to help with various aspects of the Mke TE, such as outreach, marketing, membership, event planning, newsletters, etc. There's bound to be something you'll be good at and enjoy, plus you'll meet great people and earn time credits while you do it. Contact us if you're interested in helping out.
I created an account, why can't I browse the site? We're glad you created an account but before we activate it, we'd like you to come to an orientation meeting. Since time banking is all about community, it's important for us to meet new members and explain how it all works before they start browsing offers and requests. We can't let everyone look at profiles right away because they contain members' personal contact information.
How do I enter the hours after I've traded? Either the person who received or provided the service can go online and enter the transaction. Hours will be deducted and added, both parties will receive confirmation.
How do you keep people from giving themselves extra hours? In any time trade, it's usually the member who received the service that should enter the hours. Essentially members are on the honor system to accurately enter the hours so that everyone's account is kept up to date. This may seem like there's potential to give yourself extra hours, but when any transaction is recorded, the system notifies both members involved as well as the coordinator. So one member thinks something is not accurate, they can always contact us and work it out.
Can I trade products, or goods, in addition to services? Yes, some members trade things like muffins, artwork, etc. In most cases the hours exchanged should be the amount of time it took to make the product. In cases where this is not applicable, members can work out an arrangement they both agree on.
If I post a service, am I committed to doing it? No, posting a service offer doesn't commit you to performing this service. We understand that people get busy and their situations change. We hope members will try their best to perform the service at a time that does work, and keep their service offers up to date. But it's also fine to tell someone interested in your service that you can't do it at that time.
Can someone's account balance be negative? We have a ten hour negative hour limit for individuals and 500 hours for organizations. 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 coordinator to extend their limit. This essentially means the timebank is loaning them the hours.
What if I feel uncomfortable about someone I'm trading with? We strongly believe in safety first. We like to think of the Mke TE as a community of trust, and problems rarely arise, but of course many trades are with people you've never met. If anything goes wrong or feels strange during a trade, report it to the coordinator so we can be aware of it. If you feel uncomfortable during a trade, or when you first meet the person, trust your instincts and tell them you'd rather not do the trade 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 coordinator. Don't hesitate to back out if you are feeling apprehensive about any part of the interaction - better safe than sorry and we will understand.
Who can see my contact info on my Mke TE profile? At this point, only the coordinators can see your contact information. Unless you include your contact information in service ads, members can lonely reach you through our software. Links to these messages will be sent to your e-mail.
Can I hold a small group class? Yes, you can. This is a great way to share skills in the Time Trade Circle. 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. Clearly with more than one student, there are extra time credits in this situation, and they would be donated back to the Mke TE or a member organization of the teacher's choosing.
Should I include someone's travel time? Yes, we encourage members to include travel time for someone giving them a service because that is time they wouldn't be spending if it weren't to help you. So if a person helps you in your home for an hour and it takes 15 minutes to get there and get back, you would give them 1.5 time credits. If they live very close by or were out anyway and agree that it's not necessary, that's fine, but please offer.
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 for by the person receiving the service. Whether you buy the materials up front or pay the service provider back is up to the two of you. If you both agree, it's also possible to add an extra time credit in exchange for the materials, but the default is to pay cash.
To do a trade, does that service have to be posted on the site? Nope! Sometimes people already know each other or connect offline, like at potlucks or other events. If you make an arrangement with someone outside of the TTC site, you can still enter the hours on the site. Instead of choosing from a list of posted offers/requests, you can just type in what the service was. So it's fine to trade things that you didn't "officially" offer or request as an ad through the site.
What about safety? All Mke TE applicants are screened. The Mke TE Coordinator does a criminal background check through CCAP . Individuals with criminal records are not excluded from the Mke TE but, depending on the offense and recommendations of supervisors, may be limited to certain types of participation such as group events and supervised activities. To protect the safety of our members, we err on the side of caution. If there is concern about a member posing a threat to the safety of other members that person will not be given access to the on-line listings of names and addresses and will only work under supervision. Not everyone is guaranteed a Mke TE membership, but the Mke TE strives to accommodate as many people with as many different backgrounds as possible.