Family Service Rochester

Time Trader

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Time Trader is a FREE organized exchange system through which members earn time credits for time spent helping other members. In exchange, you can use the time credits you accrue to ‘buy’ service that you want or need. One hour of service equals one time credit and everyone’s time and service are valued equally. Time Trader keeps track of service offers, requests, exchanges, and time credits through an online database called Time and Talents.


Here is how it works:  Trader Albert fixes Trader Janet’s fence, which takes 2 hours. He earns 2 time credits. With his time credits he purchases 2 one-hour guitar lessons from Trader Brad. Trader Brad spends his time credits on getting someone to help him paint his barn. It’s easy: give what you want, get what you need!!


Anyone and everyone (all ages welcome); subject to acceptable application and completion of a short orientation.


Time Trader connects people and unmet needs with untapped resources by enabling individuals to use their everyday skills to benefit a network of people.


Give what you want, get what you need.


Absolutely FREE!


To sign up simply click on the ‘Time Trader application’ link under documents and fill out the form; someone will contact you shortly. If you have questions, email us at

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The Vision of Time Trader: An integrated community in which individuals invest in each other’s well being through reciprocity, exchanging time and service.


Provide a structured network to:

  • Connect people and unmet needs with untapped resources
  • Provide economic relief through access to alternative resources
  • Encourage increased community interaction, wherein people help themselves and others
  • Foster mutual respect for all individuals in a community and bridge gaps between existing barriers
  • Promote equality, recognizing that all services are necessary to society and equally valuable


time TraderPlease check out our Time Trader video!

Available in two versions:

Version1 - Quicktime (45MB, Download Free Player)
Version 2 - Windows Media (16.6MB, Download Free Player)

KAAL - Time Trader Celebrates One-Year Anniversary!

Time Trader Frequently Asked Questions (click to reveal answers)

What is a TimeBank?

A TimeBank is a network of people who exchange services with one another, wherein the currency of exchange is time. Members earn “time credits" (TC) for time spent helping others, which they can spend on getting services for themselves. One hour of service equals one TC. For example, one person may provide two hours of painting in exchange for one member’s hour of childcare and another member’s hour of yard work. TimeBanking connects people and unmet needs with untapped resources by enabling individuals to use their everyday skills to benefit a network of people.

How exactly does it work?

Once you join Time Trader, you can earn TC by using your time and skills to help others. When you spend an hour doing something for someone, you earn a TC. Then, you can use that TC to “purchase” an hour of a member’s time. You can also earn TC by attending member gatherings, assisting Time Trader and recruiting your friends to become members. In fact, to help get you started, we will give you up to five TC when you join!

What can TimeBanking do for me?

For every hour of help you give, you also receive an hour of help. In addition, you are making a difference in someone’s life – whether it’s giving a ride to a person who doesn’t have a car, tutoring a student, translating, sewing or helping with computer problems. You can also learn new skills, make friends, and get to know your way around your community much better.

Some ways people have used TimeBanking to achieve their goals include increased neighborhood safety, community renewal, health improvement, mutual support for single-parent families, peer self-help, integrating people with physical and learning disabilities, respite for caregivers, improved intergenerational understanding, learning opportunities and environmental clean-ups – to name a few.

If you like to give time to your community, TimeBanking is a way to get something back in exchange for your time. If you want to build a network of support within your neighborhood or community at large, TimeBanking can help you do exactly that. Instead of paying professionals to look after your children, care for aging parents, and do the work that family and neighbors used to do for one another, TimeBank members do those things for each other.

What if I don't have time to volunteer?

TimeBanking is not volunteering (unless you choose to donate some of your TC)! Many of the services people exchange in a TimeBank are the types of things they already do every day. For example, those with children are already cooking for them, driving them to activities, and helping them with their schoolwork – among other things. If you have a dog and take it for a walk every day, why not pick up your neighbor's dog along the way? Cooking an extra portion of food for someone down the street who is housebound, picking up your neighbor's kids on the way to soccer practice, or helping the child down the street with his homework do not add work to your day.

Even better, TimeBanking helps you gain extra time when you spend the TC you've earned to have someone do something for you that you can't fit into your schedule or simply don't know how to do!

Do I have to pay anything?

No. There are no membership fees.

What services can I buy with TC What can I do to earn TC?

The possibilities are endless, really! From walking a neighbor's dog, raking leaves, stuffing envelopes, braiding hair, cooking meals, giving music lessons, running errands to lending professional advice and getting an oil change, everyone has a valuable skill to share and something they can gain!

We suggest earning TC by doing things you enjoy doing. Give what you want; get what you need.

How do I join Time Trader?
  1. Attend a new member orientation or set up a personal orientation with Time Trader. (507-287-2010)
  2. Fill out an application.
  3. Your references will be checked and a background check is conducted.
  4. When your membership is approved, the Coordinator creates your online profile and notifies you.
  5. Complete your online Community Weaver profile .
  6. Add your service requests and offers.
  7. Start earning and spending TC!
Do I have to live in Rochester?

No. Anyone in the surrounding area is welcome to participate. Members identify their neighborhood in their TimeBank profile. The City of Rochester is divided into four quadrants: Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, and Northwest. The outlying cities/suburbs are grouped into larger areas as well.

Do I need a car to participate?

No. You can receive rides via Time Trader, take the bus or walk.

What if I need help before I have time to help someone else?

You can earn up to five TC when you join the TimeBank, so you start out with TC in your account!

What happens if I go into debt with my TC?

Having a negative balance is not a big deal in a TC account. After all, people have to receive in order for others to give. Our TimeBank has a limit on how far a member's account can go into debt, which is explained in the Member Handbook. When a member goes 5 TC into debt, he/she will get a call from the Coordinator to discuss options for earning TC.

What is the Community Fund?

The Community Fund is a pool of TC donated by TimeBank members that goes toward helping those who cannot earn TC themselves due to extenuating circumstances. The Community Fund is a “member” of the TimeBank. To donate TC to the Community Fund, you create a transaction in Community Weaver™ or request the TimeBank Coordinator to set up the transaction on your behalf. To become a Community Fund Receiver, you would meet with the Time Trader Coordinator to explain your need and circumstances. From there, we will come up with a plan of action.

What is Community Weaver™?

Community Weaver™ is a secure, password-protected online software program used to keep track of member accounts. Through Community Weaver, members advertise their services, contact each other and have an account of the TC they have earned and spent.

What if I don’t have email or Internet access?

For members without access to the Internet, the TimeBank Coordinator will help you set up an offline account and post your service requests and offers. You will be notified via phone when there is a request for your service or an offer to help you. As a TimeBank member, you can call anytime to add, change or remove offers and requests. You will also receive a printed copy of the TimeBank directory and mailings with relevant information and your account balance.

If you have access to the Internet but don’t have an email account, we suggest you set up an email account to help facilitate convenient access to Community Weaver™ and the TimeBank network.

How do you keep track of the exchanges?

There are two ways to keep track of the exchanges.

  1. Record the exchange and the number of hours online, and it will be debited from or credited to your account.
  2. If you are an offline member, call the TimeBank Coordinator to organize an exchange for you and then call again when the exchange is completed in order to record the TC you earned/spent.
Can children join the TimeBank?

Yes, with their parent or guardian’s permission, children and teenagers can participate in the TimeBank. Community Weaver has a safeguard feature called the “Guardian Angel” mode, whereby transactions must go through the TimeBank Coordinator before being approved. Anyone under age 18 will be in Guardian Angel mode to help ensure their safety and compliance with TimeBank guidelines. The TimeBank can be a great way for children and teenagers to secure tutoring, music lessons, mentoring and job coaching. It also helps foster inter-generational relationships that will enrich young and old alike.

What if I don't have a service or skill to offer?

Almost everyone says that! Talk with the TimeBank Coordinator; she will help you explore what you can offer. At the core of TimeBanking is the belief that everyone is valuable and everyone has something to offer. Think of the various tasks you do everyday (e.g. cooking, driving, walking a dog, etc.) and your hobbies (e.g. sewing, graphic design, using the Internet, scrap booking, playing tennis, photography, etc.). Don’t list only what you could get paid to do in the traditional economy. The TimeBank economy is an informal economy of people doing the types of favors that family and neighbors have been doing for millennia. Thus, mentoring, braiding hair, beginning guitar lessons and making chicken soup are all great offers!

Can people who cannot earn TC still get help?

Yes, they can use TC donated by other members to the Community Fund or earned on their behalf by their family and friends.

How does the TimeBank screen members?
  1. We conduct a criminal background check.
  2. We always ask members to provide two references, to inquire about the individual’s trustworthiness.
  3. We meet with individuals through a group or one-on-one orientation.
Are background checks conducted by the TimeBank?


Are TC exchanges tax-exempt?

TC are tax-exempt and completely separate from federal dollars. TimeBanking is different from bartering in that no dollar amount is assigned to services. Every hour of any service is worth 1 TC but has no “cash value”; hence, they are free from tax implications.

Can I buy or sell things with TC?

Yes – if you charge only for the hours it takes to produce something in TC and for cost of the materials in regular dollars. (i.e. If you make a scrapbook for someone, you would charge TC for the number of hours it took to make and the member receiving the scrapbook would pay for the materials used.) The important thing to remember, however, is that in order to maintain the TC tax-exempt status, you can never make an equivalency between a TC and regular dollar.

Are there any services the TimeBank cannot provide?


  1. We don’t give medical help, except giving rides to appointments and translating during appointments.
  2. We are not able to provide ongoing services such as giving you a ride to work every day or cleaning your house every week.
  3. The farther away from Rochester you live, the more challenging it is to find members who can get to your home because of distance, time and reliable transportation.
  4. Last minute requests are difficult to meet; requests should be made as far in advance as possible to respect the busy lives and schedules of members.
  5. Some requests cannot be met if members do not offer that service, such as electrical work, roofing, etc. We are always looking for new members who have these skills! If you know someone who could help out from time to time, please tell him or her about Time Trader.
  6. Huge projects will be broken down into smaller jobs. For example, if you need several hours of work done, it might take several members one or two hours each, and we cannot promise that the entire project will get done in a short period of time. An illustration is helping you to move: some members can help pack boxes before moving day, others can lift and carry boxes on moving day, someone else could help to clean the old place or the new place, etc.
What if the quality of work does not meet my standards?

Neither the giver nor receiver should expect professional standards. Sometimes you get professional quality work, but that is not the point. The point of TC exchanges is to build relationships of give and take. When planning an exchange you should ask for references, photographs, or professional licenses if those things apply to your exchange. Membership in the TimeBank does not constitute an endorsement, and we recommend that you do research as you would for any professional service before taking part in an exchange.

What if a member’s conduct is unacceptable?

We have a process for handling complaints about conduct; through this process a member may be suspended or removed from the system. Any issues should immediately be reported to the Coordinator.

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Time Trader Orientations:

Orientations are scheduled on a regular basis. Email us at


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