Steve McHugh from Barter Kings

Steve McHugh

When Steve McHugh of Hesperia, California, got laid off from his job as a car salesman, he was forced to start bartering to support his wife, Cindy, and their two young boys. Little did he know he’d be able to make a good living at it, and be able to spend more time with his family in the process! He negotiated his first “real” trade when he was 22 years old, exchanging an HO water ski for a set of golf clubs. In one of his most interesting trades, he would go on to trade a boa constrictor for a car stereo, which he then traded for a rare French horn, which he finally traded for gold buillon.

Steve now runs a trading post with his good friend and business partner, Antonio Palazzola, and earns an extra $3,000 to $5,000 a week trading. He says he doesn’t plan on teaching his sons the trading business because they watch him and do it themselves anyway. His older son has already traded rooms with his younger brother so that he could get the more comfortable bed.

Q&A with Steve

What’s the best thing you ever got in a trade?

The best thing I ever got in trade was a red chopper.

Have you ever gotten a bad deal on a trade?

I’ve got plenty of bad deals on trades. My worst value trade was trading a nice acoustic guitar for an antique gun. All the information I received on the trade was correct, but I was given the information about that type of gun “in general” and the gun did not fit all the criteria to make it worth what I was told. The guitar was worth $500 and the gun was probably worth $17. I still have it. Antonio told me not to make the trade.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy golfing for fun and doing things with my kids. I consider myself an outdoors person. I enjoy the river, riding motorcycles and quads, golfing, exercising, snowboarding, and going to the beach, the race track, and Las Vegas.