Currency: Hour Exchange Portland, Maine

How much does it cost to be a member?

We ask our members for a donation of $25 and 2 time dollars a year to help pay the rent, heat, lights, office supplies, CIMA insurance (This insurance covers our members in case they are injured while providing or receiving a service), and fund programs and part time staff. Members may give two additional hours instead of the $25 if they are financially unable to donate money.

What services can I get?

Our members provide almost any service imaginable; health care, dog walking, legal advice, cooking, accounting, sewing, computer services, home repair, tutoring, gardening, photography, the list keeps growing. Everyone has valuable skills to share. You can search our list of available services by clicking here.

Who can join?

Everyone! Our membership is open to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Over 2,500 families, organizations, businesses, groups and individuals in the greater Portland region have already participated. All new members must attend an orientation session to help familiarize them with the Hour Exchange, and begin meeting other members. Orientations are normally held the third Monday of the month from 5:30-6:30. Click here to find out about our orientation schedule.

How do I keep track of my hours?

You can log your hours and search for services online using hOurworld online software developed by fellow member Stephen Beckett. Accessing our online software is simple and easy and will be covered in your orientation. We also have E-buddies to assist members who have difficulty accessing or navigating hOurworld. If you would like to learn more about our online software, go to or check out the Software Guide.

How can I make the time?

Hour Exchange is not just something to do when you have free time, but something that frees up time for you, giving you more time to do the things you enjoy. Many of the services members provide are things they do everyday or would like to spend their time doing more of. You already go to the store for groceries, why not help someone get theirs who may not have the mobility you do?  You already walk your dog, why not make a doggie date?  It doesn’t really take extra time, and it can be fun! Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn another language, but could never afford a private tutor. Or maybe you’ve been meaning to repaint your room, but frankly have no idea what you are doing. We all know chores go quicker with a helping hand, and working together can feel like play!

How much is an hour worth?

In Hour Exchange Portland, everyone’s hour is equal no matter what the service. We value time. When it comes down to it, time is all we have. Our time is priceless. We value people. Everyone has value, everyone’s time is equal, everyone has something to offer. The real economy is people. We value work. We value the work it takes to make healthy children, a healthy community, a sustainable future.

I make a lot of money, why should I join?

We recognize that the world takes all kinds, and all kinds of knowledge. The more we have simply means we have more to give. Hour Exchange Portland is a way to spend more time doing the things you love for others while spending less time doing the things we don’t. We embrace the definition of “amateur” being “for the love of.” We should love what we do regardless of how many plaques we have on the wall or letters come after our name.

I own a business, why should I get involved?

Hour Exchange Portland provides a unique way to gain experience and expertise as well as expand an entrepreneur’s client base, providing access to our Portland area members. Participating in Hour Exchange does not exclude you from participating in the money market economy, it’s complimentary to it, many businesses use Hour Exchange for some visits or portion of their time, which has allowed them to keep busy engaging and expanding and be better positioned to come out ahead as the economy improves. Hour Exchange strengthens local community relationships which strengthens the community’s economy in general. Our members provide hundreds of services in all walks of life, anything from office cleaning to accounting or computer support, services that can be especially useful for any business with limited financial capital.

So, you are a volunteer organization?

Not in the conventional sense. We believe in Reciprocity (it’s one of our core values), not in separating providers and receivers. We all have needs, but we all have value and something valuable to offer the community. Rather than asking “How can I help you?”, we ask “How can we help each other build the world we both want to live in?” By working together, we accomplish so much more.

So you are like barter?

No. Barter is trading, based on cash value, between two people. We are a non-profit 501c3 service exchange organization. Our currency is based on time, with no relation to market value and it is not a direct trade between two people. If an Hour Exchange member gives an hour of their time they can receive an hour of anyone else’s time within the Hour Exchange member community. And unlike barter the IRS has determined that exchanging time is non-taxable!



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