Free vs. Paid Membership

To pay or not to pay? That is the question many would-be home exchangers ask themselves.

In most home exchange networks, the annual fee for listing your home is nominal–$75 to $150 (about half the cost of one night’s lodging for the typical vacation).

But, there is a greater issue at stake when you pay a listing fee: It is generally safe to assume that others in that network have paid a fee, also, and therefore they have made a financial commitment to the dream of a home exchange.

Previously, we offered free memberships on our home exchange website, Christian Home Exchange [dot] com. Since we had so much invested in helping others do a home exchange, we thought that others would appreciate what a fantastic opportunity we made available. We imagined that others would flock to join, do a home exchange, and then spread the word to all their family and friends about what an amazing experience they had during their home exchange. Wrong!

We learned the hard way. When people sign up for a free annual membership, the element of commitment is missing—so people rarely acted, seeking out a home exchange opportunity with others or taking seriously the inquiries of others to do a home exchange with them. Even when the listing fee was ridiculously low, the commitment just wasn’t there.

Apparently, most people operate by the principle: You get what you pay for.

Looking back, we should have known better than to offer free memberships. After all, we have worked in churches since the 1970s. So many times, we witnessed the gap in attendance between how many would show up when they prepaid for a social event versus those who paid on the day of the event. (I suppose one could say much the same about the different levels of commitment between church members who support the church with a tithe and those whose offering seems to represent leftovers rather than a tithe.)

Those who are serious about doing a home exchange understand the importance of paying an Annual Membership Fee. After all, who wants to get excited about contacting others about a home exchange when there is a high likelihood they are not really committed to the idea?

Having said all this, we are delighted to provide a 14-Day Free Trial Membership.

Sometimes curiosity must be satisfied before one is comfortable making a commitment.

Photo: Free “Sweet” Hugs by J3SSL33 is licensed under CC by 2.0.
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