How much do event helpers cost?

Average cost in 20149: $25 /hr See National

$20/hr

low cost

$25/hr

avg cost

$35/hr

high cost

The average cost for an event staff professional is $25/hr. You are likely to spend between $20 and $35 per hour. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated March 1st, 2017

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Event help and wait staff provide extra hands at parties and events, serving food and drinks, clearing away used dishes and glassware, and often cleaning up afterward. A full-service catering company will provide the necessary staff according to an event’s needs and the service contract in place with the customer. For smaller events or if you prepare the food yourself, you may opt to hire a few event helpers to assist with food service or to tend bar. Many catering companies, event planners and bartending services can provide wait staff or bartenders for $20–$30 an hour, depending on a variety of factors.

Type of event

Different types of events require helpers to have different experience and skill sets. The type of event can also dictate their attire. Weddings are generally more formal, for example, and so are some cocktail parties, especially those held in the evening. Some catering companies and staffing services may charge a bit more for formally attired (black-tie) wait staff.

Theme parties may require event staff to dress in a certain way to help bring the party theme to life. Event planners such Edward Sylvia and Salam Woldekidan of CraftyMomDC can help you plan and throw any kind of theme party or special event. Sylvia has a degree in a theater arts and can provide event design and decor services as well as staffing services. Woldekidan can provide wait staff for $30 per staffer per hour, and her day-of wedding coordination packages start at $300.

Event size

The more guests you expect, the more wait staff or bartenders you will need. A standard rule is one waiter per table of eight to 12 people for seated dining and two staffers per buffet station. It’s recommended that you have at least one bartender for every 50 to 70 guests—or more if you are serving blender drinks or specialty cocktails with more than three ingredients.

Event length

The length of an event also affects cost. A continuous party is straightforward, but some events, such as wedding receptions, may be paced so that wait staff greet guests with glasses of champagne and pass appetizers before guests sit down for the meal. Such details will likely add to your final bill.

Catering

Catering services add to your overall cost, and pricing depends on the menu, number of guests, whether you’ll have seated or buffet dining, and other variables. Domestic Affairs Bar and Waitstaff Service charges hourly for event help and wait staff and has a two-person, four-hour minimum. Aiming to work within customers’ budgets, Once Upon an Event of Tampa Bay can create custom packages for catering services, full or partial day-of event coordination, and complete event-planning services.

Services needed

Generally, the more services a company provides—both catering and decor, for example—the higher the overall costs. Doris Reid-Worthington, owner of Now That Was a Great Party, helps clients plan and orchestrate events for 20 percent of the total event cost and offers day-of event coordination services starting at $100 an hour. Chef Tim offers event catering with full staffing starting at $350 plus food costs. Bartenders Unlimited of Ohio provides bartenders and wait staff for almost any size event and the hourly rate per staff member goes down once a certain number of hours rae reached.

Party hosts can provide the food and beverages themselves and then hire wait staff services a la carte. Hiring the helpers this way costs less than if the service provider also prepares all the food and drinks. Extra Hands Catering specializes in helping clients who like to cook and entertain but would rather pay someone else to handle the the setup, food service and cleanup. KT’s Hospitality is primarily a bartending service, but owner Katie Martinson can provide wait staff for events for $25 an hour per staff member.

Certification and licensing

Many states require bartending services and caterers to have liquor licenses to prepare and serve alcoholic beverages. Texas requires bartenders to have Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certification, as all of the bartenders employed by Domestic Affairs Bar and Waitstaff Service do. Catering employees may also need safe food-handling certification. Now That Was a Great Party’s Reid-Worthington has ServSafe Manager certification. (The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe program provides food safety training, exams and educational materials to food-service managers.)

Cost-saving strategies

The best way to save money when wait staff is to provide as many details as possible about your event to the service provider upfront. Giving this information also helps ensure that they don't send too many or too few staffers to your event.

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Recent reviews

The Neighborhood Grind Diner

Everything went off without a hitch. Mary was super good with communication, even with some pretty late planning on my end. Her workers were professional, kind, and worked hard all evening - they left at exactly the right time, with everything taken care of (I'm sure they would have gladly stayed if we needed them to). In addition, they worked flawlessly with our cook for the night. As if that wasn't enough, Tina brought on an extra worker last minute, without asking for more money. A caring group of generous helpers. Thanks to them all!

Event Planners of OC

Wow, we couldn't be more happy with Irene and her staff. They were very attentive and hard working. Our day ran smoothly because of all their hard work and sense of urgency. I would hire Irene and her staff all over in a heartbeat!

Premier Residential Staff

Our family was extremely pleased with Premier. I am glad to have found a fully insured service that includes liqour liability, workman's compensation insurance and general liability insurances. I read a review that said to make sure the service you hire has this due to liability reasons to the homeowner. Our bartender andserver were great. All our guests really enjoyed themselves and a few of them inquired about this service for their next party. Thank you for such a great party, your service truely made it that much better. We will be in touch for all our friends and family parties that we have.