How to Get Into Mobile Bartending
Bartending Events and Being Your Own Boss
We wrote about mobile bartending (a.k.a event bartending) in our April 2010 newsletter and how it can be a rewarding and profitable career choice. We had a lot of response to that article, so we decided to expand on it a bit and give it a place of its own on our site. Here is an excerpt of that newsletter from the founder of BarsandBartending.com about event bartending:
“I’ve worked in so many types of establishments over the years – from pubs to clubs; no-star to five-star restaurants, as well as many private functions – birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries etc. And do you know where I liked working the best? Not the pub, club or 5-star restaurants, but bartending events like weddings and birthday parties. Why? Because the tips are outrageous and the atmosphere is 100 times better.”
Think about it. Birthday parties are once a year events and weddings are, hopefully, once a life events (at least they think so at the time). And everyone has their guard down and are more willing to let their hair down as well. And when you bartend these events, you’re treated like the star of the party (you are, after all, the purveyor of spirits and good times).
Now, there are a couple of different ways you can get into mobile bartending depending on your current position and / or previous bartending experience. If you’re already an experienced bartender, order yourself one of the many portable bars from our bar store and get started on your mobile bartending business!
You can start by working for someone else, maybe in the catering department at a hotel or golf course, for example. Or, you could work for yourself, be an event bartender or run your own mobile bartending company. Or, if you’re a bar owner, you could add mobile / event bartending to bring in extra profits. Let’s take a look at how you might start your own mobile bartending company or become an event bartender and start bartending weddings and parties.
You’ve Never Bartended Before – You Have NO Bartending Experience
Although it would obviously help if you had some bartending experience, its not essential. Its not just good bartending and drink knowledge that an experienced bartender brings to the mobile bartending table, its also their ability to interact well with customers. That being said, if you’re outgoing, personable and have the persistence to learn, you can learn the bartending knowledge and bartending skills you need…right on this site as a matter of fact (and, of course, it’s free)
If this is you, go through our entire site and watch all the bartending video tutorials here and Practice, Practice, Practice. Once you are confident with your ability to make drinks, and you have your flow down pat, offer to bartend a friend or relative’s birthday or private party (or throw a party yourself and bartend that). This way, you’ll learn the ins and outs of what’s to be expected of you while you’re bartending private events.
From here, keep practicing and then start advertising your services – starting with word-of-mouth through friends and family and moving into free social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc.
You’re Currently a Bartender or HAVE Bartending Experience
You’re ahead of the game if you’re already behind the wood or you’ve got experience bartending. If you are currently working as a bartender and you want to start your own business and become a self-employed bartender, this is not a hard transition. If you don’t already work most weekends (weekends are when most of your events will take place), then there are actually 2 ways you can increase the amount of money you make bartending. First is to go out on your own and try to book yourself as a bartender for private events. The second way is to approach your boss and ask him / her if you could spearhead a mobile bartending division of their business. Talk to them about the benefits of adding event bartending to the list of services your bar already offers. Then, the bar will take care of the advertising, transportation, equipment costs etc and you’ll make great tips and get more hours.
You’re a Bar Manager or Bar Owner
As mentioned above, if you own a bar or manage one, you should really consider hiring out your staff for events. People are always looking for professional bartenders to work their private parties, birthday parties, wedding receptions or anniversary parties. Hiring out event bartenders will not only bring in a new source of revenue for your bar, but it will also give your newer or more part-time staff an opportunity to work more hours and make more money on the weekends (when most events would take place).
Note: if you’re starting your own event bartending or mobile bartending business, you’ll likely need to advertise above and beyond that of telling your friends and family (unless you have a huge family and tons of friends). In short, you’ll need to create business cards, a website or a social media presence like on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc. Or you could put a small ad in your local paper, post on Craigslist etc. Start small, make some cash and then go out and buy a portable bar and hire some staff so you can take on more events.
The step-by-step tutorial on what you’d need to create and advertise your business is beyond the scope of this article. Keep in mind that when you first start out in mobile bartending, you don’t need to have a portable bar. You can simply advertise yourself as a “bartender for hire”. Most people throwing parties don’t know where to go to find professional bartenders to bartend their event. They provide the booze, the bar and the bar supplies – you set up, bartend, clean up and go.
Here are just some of the reasons why we think mobile bartending is a great bartending career choice or an easy and fun way to make more money bartending.
Unlimited Freedom. Since you are your own boss, running your own company, you choose the hours you want to work. Work just the weekends and take the rest of the week off or pack your schedule with as many clients as you can.
Respect. There’s just something about being your own boss that lifts your chin up just a bit higher.
Flexibility. Not only can you choose your own shifts, but, because of the added money that you’ll be making working weddings, anniversaries, graduations and retirement parties, you can cut down on the number of hours you work each week. That gives you the flexibility to have more time to focus on the things that are the most important to you in your life, whether that’s spending time with your family, graduating from college or building up your mobile bartending business.
Networking. Unlike the nightclub scene where you rarely have the time to strike up a conversation with anyone, at weddings and the like, you get to know the people you’re serving. And you can make a lot of connections for future business – bartending related or not.
More Cash! Working weddings and the like as the owner of your new mobile bartending company, you could charge anywhere from $200-$500 / night just for your services. Then there are tips on top of that – making every night a huge money night.
More Fun. When you’re busy and your guests are happy, then you’re happy. And you start to love your job. Entertaining happy, beautiful people is just more fun.