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How to Become a Traveling Bartender

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Traveling bartenders serve cocktails, beer and wine at private parties in homes, offices, hotels or banquet facilities, providing their customers personalized service that fits the tone of their gatherings. Most often, traveling bartenders are self-employed and work as independent contractors, soliciting clients through professional networking, word-of-mouth and traditional advertising.

Gain experience bartending in variety of settings. Before you become a traveling bartender, make sure that you feel comfortable bartending at various types of on-site parties and gatherings, including weddings, reunions, birthday parties, barbecues and corporate events.

Get professional references. As you begin to pursue leads on bartending gigs for private gatherings, make sure that you have contacts who can vouch for your professionalism, bartending skills and reliability.

Decide what services you will provide. Before you begin marketing your services, determine what you will supply for parties, such as alcohol, bartending tools and glassware. You should also make a list of personal bartending policies for your potential customers to review before retaining your services.

Determine your rate. Research the going rate for traveling bartenders in your area and set your fees based on your level of experience and skill. Also decide whether you will charge your clients for your travel time, mileage and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Verify whether you need to obtain a business license. Some jurisdictions may require you to obtain a small business license or complete responsible vendor training before working as a traveling bartender. Contact your state's department of corporations and your city or county's office of permits to confirm what you will need to do.

2016 Salary Information for Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers

Food and beverage serving and related workers earned a median annual salary of $19,710 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, food and beverage serving and related workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $18,170, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $22,690, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 5,122,500 people were employed in the U.S. as food and beverage serving and related workers.