Working at bars, nightclubs, events, and other entertainment venues, bouncers are tasked with maintaining the safety of all individuals at these establishments. This generally includes monitoring all entrances and exits, watching the crowd for altercations, quickly quelling disputes, controlling who enters the premises, and monitoring all areas where cash is held or changes hands. Since they are often the first and last people that visitors see when attending these locales, bouncers must always remain friendly, professional, calm, and in control of every potential situation.Though schedules may vary, most bouncers work late nights and early mornings. They may work as independent contractors, as direct employees of a security firm, or for the entertainment venue itself.
Bouncer Duties and Responsibilities
According to our search of dozens of job listings, these are the specific duties normally assigned to bouncers:
Control the Crowd
This begins with controlling the flow of foot traffic into a bar or club and includes removing patrons who get too rowdy, using problem-solving skills to settle disputes in a respectful manner,and contacting the authorities when a situation gets beyond the bouncer’s control.
Since bouncers are most often employed in places that serve alcohol, they must check guest IDs at the door to make sure each person in the building is at least 21 years old. Bouncers are also challenged with spotting fake IDs.
People at clubs and bars are usually drinking heavily, which can create an unsafe atmosphere. It’s up to the bouncer to make sure that everyone is protected. This may include frisking patrons to ensure they do not have any weapons, drugs, or other illegal contraband.
Bouncers need to be personable and friendly to guests who enter and leave the facility, as interactions with bouncers are part of the entertainment experience.
Monitor Guest Lists and Dress Codes
Some events are invite only, and it’s up to the bouncer to make sure that people who are not on the guest list are not permitted to enter the event. Bouncers must also ensure that customers adhere to the establishment’s specific dress code.
Collecting Cover Charges
Many nightclubs and bars require a cover charge for entry. It is most often the bouncer’s job to collect and handle this money.
Bouncer Skills and Qualifications
Bouncers must effectively walk the line between maintaining an authoritative demeanor while also being respectful of guests and their privacy. In addition, bouncers must be physically and mentally able to handle a nearly endless number of potential situations. Employers interested in hiring bouncers prefer candidates with the following skills:
- Physical fitness – bouncers need to be physically up to the task of forcibly removing individuals from the premises or breaking up altercations between guests. Bar and club owners often prefer bouncers who are tall, large, and intimidating
- Security experience – bouncers are tasked with making split-second decisions, so prior security experience helps prevent overreactions, the escalation of bad situations, and poor decision-making
- Familiarity with safety protocols – bouncers must know how to keep a large group of people safe, when to remove a person from the premises, and when it’s time to call the police
- Situational awareness – patrolling a dark club with dozens or even hundreds of guests requires a bouncer to have excellent vision and to be extremely observant and aware of their surroundings
- Professionalism – it’s critical for bouncers to not show any favoritism to certain guests and to always carry themselves in a professional manner in often chaotic environments
- Problem-solving skills – problems arise when you mix lots of alcohol and a large amount of people in a small space, and bouncers must resolve these problems quickly and effectively
Bouncer Education and Training
Bouncers don’t need any education other than a high school diploma in most cases. Candidates who have training in martial arts, self defense, conflict resolution, and crowd control will likely be more sought after. Individuals with military or law enforcement experience are ideal candidates to become bouncers.