Does Being a Bartender Pay Well?

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Being a bartender is definitely a thrilling job. You get to hang out at the bar everyday, meet interesting new strangers every night, be in a position of authority in the nightlife industry – what more could one ask for? However, since you plan to take up bartending as a profession, there are other things to consider. After all, you didn’t go to École du Bar de Montréal, and pay the fee for nothing right? You need to consider if the profession will pay well enough for you to live the life you wish to live and also how you can earn more. This is one of the most asked questions by young and aspiring bartenders. Let’s take a look at what the numbers have to say:

Income Types

The salary you will earn as a bartender will be divided into two categories – wage and tips.

The wage is the fixed amount that your bar pays you for working there. You can call this your monthly salary and it is generally decided at the time of hiring. You may need to start at minimum wage or maybe at at a higher salary, it will totally depend on your skill and experience and can increase with time.

The tips on the other hand totally depend on your customer treatment. The tipping system also depends on your bar as some bars may prohibit tipping entirely. If you know how to put on a show while serving drinks to entertain your audience, you’re sure to get higher tips.

Important Factors

Now, the important factors to consider when calculating the average pay of a bartender in a particular bar are:

  • Location – The location of the bar is important as it defines the drinking culture of that location. If you live in a city like Toronto, you’re bound to get more customers than a small town, and hence more pay. Also, your wage will change on the basis of the cost of living in the city.
  • Venue – The second factor to consider here is the venue of the bar – is it a complete cocktail bar, a hotel bar, a night club bar, etc.
  • Shifts – You’ll get paid on the basis of the shifts you work. More shifts mean more pay and late night shifts pay more than evening ones.
  • Skills – Your income will obviously depend on your skills as well.

On the basis of these factors, the average pay of an American bartender would be $40,000 a year.

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