With the wedding and party scene coming back full force, mobile bartending services are in high demand. Mobile bartending services bring the party to the customer’s home, office, or almost any other venue.
In this article, we are going to help you determine the right pricing structure for your mobile bartending service, whether you are a solo bartender working for a vendor or starting a mobile bartending service from scratch.
What is mobile bartending?
Mobile bartending is a full-scale bartending service provided by a single bartender or team of bartenders for an event at a location of the customer’s choice. These services are typically only used at event venues that do not have bartending services of their own included in the event package.
The mobile bartenders arrive on the day of an event and set up a complete bar with everything they need to serve the party guests. Mobile bartending services bring the alcohol, mixers, glassware, utensils, and more, and the staff serves and cleans up after the guests.
You can read about some of the pros and cons of mobile bars here.
What types of events do mobile bartending services serve?
Customers hire mobile bartenders for weddings, showers, birthday parties, and company parties. Depending on your market and niche, you can expect to be hired for everything from a simple backyard barbeque to an elaborate estate wedding.
Mobile bartenders come equipped with everything they need to serve a crowd. They are expected to set up shop just about anywhere, including customers’ homes, offices, or virtually any event venue.
How much can I charge for mobile bartending?
The price you can charge for a mobile bartending service will vary significantly based on several factors. It’s important to look at all of these factors individually before setting up pricing for your business.
Depending on your market, you can expect to charge $25-50 per bartender per hour of an event. You can price the consumables in different ways, including a flat rate per guest, per opened bottle of alcohol, or per drink. It’s important to do your research and price yourself correctly.
Here are some things to consider when pricing your mobile bartending service in 2022:
Know Your Market
To best price your mobile bartending service, it’s important to do research on the prices of the event industry in your area.
Prices vary based on the cost of living and the cost of goods in your area, making a big difference in your prices. Because of these factors, a mobile bartending service in Southern California would be much more expensive than someone offering the same service in the Midwest.
Look at local catering services, event venues, and even competing bar services. Notice price trends and try to find rates that you feel are fair to you and your customers.
Customers will pay top dollar for an experience that meets their event dreams and goals. This is where the niche comes in. Depending on your goals and who you want to serve with your mobile bartending service, you may decide to focus on a specific niche or stay with general bartending.
Many mobile bartenders do very well, offering general bartending services. This means that they serve all types of beer, wine, and alcohol and serve all types of events. This type of mobile bartending service is great in busy areas with a high demand for bartending services at a wide variety of events.
If you focus on a specific niche, you may only reach a small population of clients, but you can most likely charge more.
An example of this would be creating a “wine truck” or a mobile bartending service only for bridal showers. You would cater your offerings to meet the specific needs of the type of event or group you want to serve, and guests would pay a premium for this.
Staffed or Solo?
A big part of pricing your mobile bartending service includes whether you will be a one-man (or woman) show or if you will hire staff. If you plan to serve large events and will need to hire staff, you would need to charge enough to pay your staff a fair wage, cover your other expenses, and make money yourself.
This can get tricky, so it makes sense to create a tiered pricing structure to offer clients a choice. They can choose a package that best fits their event size and they can pay for as many bartenders as they actually need.
What Will You Offer?
With the takeoff of the mobile bartending industry, many services are beginning to expand their horizons outside of just bartending services. Many mobile bartending companies also offer event planning, catering, decor rentals, day-of-event coordination, and more.
If you have the bandwidth and interest in making your mobile bartending service a full mobile event company, you can command higher prices to match. Decide what complementary services you want to add to your offerings and market them appropriately.
What equipment do I need for mobile bartending?
Mobile bartending can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The more services you offer, the more equipment you will need, but it’s easy to get started with a minimal investment if you are starting out.
Here are some things you need to get started with mobile bartending:
- A reliable vehicle – You don’t need anything fancy, just a reliable vehicle with enough storage space to bring all your gear to and from events.
- Your bar – You can build something as simple as a pallet bar for under $50 or purchase a high-end bar. Some venues may have a bar for you, but it’s helpful to have your own for bare-bones event venues.
- Glassware/accessories – Be prepared with the right glasses for every type of alcohol you’ll serve (beer, wine, and/or cocktails). You will also want to stock napkins, straws, and other accessories.
- Alcohol/mixers – Arguably, the most important thing you’ll need is everything you need to make drinks for your customers!
- Liquor license – Ensure you obtain the appropriate licensure to serve alcohol in your state before you start working.
How do I find mobile bartending customers?
There is a large market for mobile bartending services in 2022. People are starting to plan parties again and there is a large market for custom event services like this.
The best way to market yourself is to connect with the local event industry to get referrals. If you work with local caterers or event planners, you can often bundle your services and work together to serve your customers.
Another great way to find mobile bartending customers is through social media. Curate your feed by using hashtags specific to the events industry and your local area to help you get discovered by potential customers in your area.
Once you start your business, ask happy customers to keep you in mind for future events or recommend you to people they know who are also planning parties. Providing great service during your events will ensure you stay top of mind and become their go-to mobile bartender.