How to hire a Cocktail Bartender in 2023
A free guide on how to hire a cocktail bartender for your event without being stung.
You’ve decided you want to hire a cocktail bartender for your birthday. The big wedding, a hen party or just a simple summer barbecue! But how do you decide which bartender hire company will be best?
This guide will help you work out what you need, how to avoid the crooks of the industry and more importantly. Ensure that the bartenders you hire are suitable for the gig, and, well known!
Searching on Google to hire a bartender
You visit your favourite search engine and begin the search for; Cocktail Makers, Cocktail Bartenders, Hire a Barman, Bartender Hire, any search term that you can think of, but it brings up a HUGE amount of results. You click through a few, but all you can see is how good or bad their sites look. How do you know which one is right for you?
Simple. You contact all of them and never accept the first quote you are offered.
Event Bartending is a simple business for most bartenders to set up – which is why you have to look at previous experience and events.
What to look for in a quality Bartender Hire company?
Instagram & other forms of social media are a fantastic way nowadays to see a company’s “Gallery”. It’s definitely worth taking that time to check out a company’s Instagram, Facebook or whatever platform works for you & see not only the quality of their events but the spectrum of styles of event they are able to cover.
For example, a company uploading only their grand scale events, or professional level photography, most likely will be priced out of the range of the domestic consumer & have not much interest in a home event.
At the other end of the spectrum, the documentation of ONLY home events would indicate that they may have little or no experience of the large-scale efforts. Which may seem harmless initially if you’re only aiming for a small home event. But, could mean the company & its team are extremely inexperienced, and possibly won’t be able to adapt to changes in the event.
What should I look for when hiring a bartender?
Look for a company that has a balance of posts across small living rooms, or kitchen setups. To large grand events in huge venues for private Galas etc. It shows their versatility & more importantly, their quality of bartender along with the ability to adapt to each event with absolute ease.
Pricing: If this is your prime concern or point of interest, each & every one of these companies will typically be similar in price across most reputable firms as they all try and stay competitive with each other.
What you should look for are the companies that take the time to listen to what you require for your event. Not just try and sell you as much as possible!
As soon as you make the first enquiry. You’ll get an idea of the professional style of the companies you request a quote from. Here is just one example.
As someone who has worked for most of the established event companies at one time or another, believe me, I know how reputable firms should operate.
Step By Step Guide on how to hire the right Cocktail Bartender company.
If anyone attempts to contact you outside of reasonable hours, be wary. These can typically be bartenders doing events for other companies on the side for a bit of extra cash. They have not fully formed their companies as yet – if at all – and will do the event at any price you suggest.
These companies or individuals may not have appropriate insurance and may severely lack the experience needed to make sure your event runs smoothly. So steer clear of people calling outside of sensible hours, unless you have agreed to take this call previously.
No company should be just emailing a quote to you without speaking to you first. This is lazy and shows that they have zero interest in your event and what you would like to happen. Some companies won’t even contact you until you agree to their quote, one we’ve heard about refuse to even speak to you until a deposit is laid down!
Any bartender hire company worth its salt will speak to you in-depth about your requirements.
A lot of these companies mentioned here may send quote templates over to you without asking questions. These are also the same companies that do not work the events themselves. A HUGE problem in this industry.
Special Warning about this happening when hiring a bartender:
Some of these businesses may often outsource the work to public forums on social media after you agree to work with them – meaning that they potentially can’t vouch for any of the staff at your event!
This could mean they have taken your money and simply passed the work on, with little idea of the credentials of who is coming to your event.
The bartenders they found on these public forums may not have been vetted or tested, and the company won’t know if the bartender will even show up. If you are worried about these kinds of companies then simply give them a call and ask as many questions as you can. You’ll catch them out on their lack of experience. If they can’t answer, hesitate or just become a yes person, you’ve probably found someone who is outsourcing your event to strangers.
ALWAYS check reviews for bartender hire companies:
Also, if you have the time to spare. Look at reviews on how to hire a cocktail bartender. Google now puts company reviews right there on the same search page in which you found the company. Look through them. Find out what kind of business you’re about to entrust with something so important to you.
Avoid pushy sales-people. The companies eager to push the sale through over the phone may need the money more than you realise. They will say whatever it takes to get the deal.
Some less reputable firms have been known to promise extra hours, event cleanup, table waiter service and many more extras. They think it will make you agree to sign with them. It’s often the case that the bartenders may have zero knowledge of these arrangements and they may not end up happening.
Avoid event comparison websites – these are sites where you upload the basics of what you need & then they post your requirements out to the “Vendors” on their list signed up to the site & then these “Vendors” eBay style BID on your event for the lowest price.
These are people on these sites, not companies. You will get much cheaper quotes from them, of-course you will. However, you need to be wary that you may also get a cheaper standard of service, quality & have very little control over the specifics of your event, along with the possibility of zero reassurances or guarantees. If you even get a bartender that knows how to make more than 3 cocktails in the first place.
Fifth & Finally but most importantly – Check them all out. Some, for example, have websites dating back to over 10 years old, one we know of has changed owners three times since it was designed & founded and yet not one thing has changed or been updated. Any reputable company has its own Instagram and Facebook accounts – find these and check how often they post their events. Ensure they are always busy and open with their posts, have pictures of their bars, drinks and staff. We at Cocktailhire always try to upload a lot of images from events with our bartenders. So that people can see the kind of guys that work with us. Even recognise them when they show up to their events.
Ask questions. Lots of them. Find out exactly who is willing to work with you for your event. Who takes the time to find out what you need. Make sure they sound like they have worked similar events before. That they will use their own trusted staff to fill the event. If they seem shady, you can’t speak to them. Also if they don’t have up to date posts on their social media or even their websites, don’t use them!
The Cocktailhire Team.
Written by Stu Hoyland, Director – Cocktailhire