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How Much Does a Mobile Bar Cost? A Comprehensive Guide to Pricing

August 1, 2023

Mobile bars have become a popular addition to events such as weddings, corporate events, and parties. They offer a convenient and unique way to serve drinks to guests. However, the cost of hiring a mobile bar can vary depending on various factors.

Understanding the cost of a mobile bar is essential for anyone looking to hire one. The cost factors of a mobile bar can include the type of bar, the location of the event, the duration of the hire, and the services offered. Additionally, staffing and operation, legal and insurance considerations, business aspects, and packages and pricing can also affect the cost.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of hiring a mobile bar can vary depending on various factors.
  • Understanding the cost factors of a mobile bar is essential for anyone looking to hire one.
  • The type of bar, location of the event, duration of the hire, services offered, staffing and operation, legal and insurance considerations, business aspects, and packages and pricing can all affect the cost of hiring a mobile bar.

Understanding Mobile Bars

Mobile bars are a popular addition to events such as weddings, parties, festivals, and corporate events. They offer a unique way to stand out and add to the overall theme and vision of an event.

The mobile bar industry has a range of options available, from basic cash bars to all-inclusive luxury packages. The cost of hiring a mobile bar can vary depending on the type of event and the level of service required.

When considering hiring a mobile bar, it's important to understand the different types of bars available. Some mobile bars offer a cash bar service, where guests pay for their drinks individually. Others offer a pre-paid package, where a set amount is paid per head for a certain number of drinks.

The cost of drinks at a mobile bar can also vary depending on the type of drink. Cocktails are typically more expensive than beer or wine, with prices ranging from £8-£12 per drink. Soft drinks and hot drinks are usually cheaper, with prices ranging from £2.50-£4 per item.

To give an idea of pricing, the average cost for a mixed pre-paid mobile bar on Add to Event is around £20-£25 per head. However, prices can range from £15-£30 per head depending on the type and number of drinks included.

It's important to consider the size of the event when hiring a mobile bar. A smaller event may not require a full bar setup, while a larger event may require multiple bars to ensure quick service.

Overall, mobile bars offer a unique and exciting addition to any event. By understanding the different types of bars available and the associated costs, event planners can make an informed decision when it comes to hiring a mobile bar.

Types of Mobile Bars

When it comes to mobile bars, there are various types available to suit different events and preferences. Here are some of the most common types of mobile bars:

Van Bars

Van bars are mobile bars that are set up in a van. They are ideal for outdoor events and can be customised to fit the theme of the event. Van bars are usually fully stocked with a range of drinks, including beer, wine, and spirits.

Trailer Bars

Trailer bars are mobile bars that are set up in a trailer. They are similar to van bars, but they offer more space and can accommodate more guests. Trailer bars are perfect for larger events, such as weddings and festivals.

Airstream Bars

Airstream bars are mobile bars that are set up in an Airstream trailer. They are a popular choice for events that require a stylish and unique bar. Airstream bars are usually fully stocked with a range of drinks, and they can be customised to fit the theme of the event.

Vehicle Bars

Vehicle bars are mobile bars that are set up in a vehicle, such as a bus or a truck. They are ideal for events that require a large bar and can accommodate a large number of guests. Vehicle bars are usually fully stocked with a range of drinks, and they can be customised to fit the theme of the event.

Cocktail Bars

Cocktail bars are mobile bars that specialise in serving cocktails. They are ideal for events that require a sophisticated and stylish bar. Cocktail bars are usually fully stocked with a range of spirits, mixers, and garnishes.

Fully Stocked Bars

Fully stocked bars are mobile bars that are fully stocked with a range of drinks, including beer, wine, spirits, and soft drinks. They are ideal for events that require a variety of drinks to cater to different preferences. Fully stocked bars can be customised to fit the theme of the event, and they can be set up in various types of mobile bars.

In terms of pricing, the cost of hiring a mobile bar will depend on various factors, such as the type of bar, the size of the bar, the location of the event, and the duration of the hire. As a rough guide, you can expect to pay around £300 to £500 for a basic mobile bar hire for a few hours. However, the cost can increase if you require a larger or more specialised bar. It's always best to get quotes from several mobile bar providers to compare prices and services.

Cost Factors of Mobile Bars

When it comes to hiring a mobile bar, there are several factors that can affect the cost. Here are some of the most important cost factors to consider:

Type of Bar

The type of mobile bar you choose will have a significant impact on the cost. A basic bar with limited drink options will be cheaper than a fully stocked bar with a wide range of drinks. Additionally, some mobile bars offer special features like LED lighting or custom branding, which can increase the cost.

Location

The location of your event can also affect the cost of hiring a mobile bar. If the event is in a remote location, the bar company may charge extra for travel expenses. Similarly, if the event is in a city centre or other busy area, the bar company may charge more due to higher demand.

Duration of Hire

The length of time you need the mobile bar for will also affect the cost. Most companies charge by the hour, so the longer you need the bar, the more expensive it will be. Some companies may offer discounts for longer hires, so it's worth asking about this when you make your enquiry.

Type of Drinks

The type of drinks you want to serve can also affect the cost of hiring a mobile bar. Cocktails and other mixed drinks are generally more expensive than beer and wine, so keep this in mind when planning your event. Some companies offer drinks packages which can be more cost-effective than paying for individual drinks.

Deposit and Pricing

When hiring a mobile bar, you may be required to pay a deposit upfront to secure your booking. This deposit can range from 10% to 50% of the total cost, depending on the company. It's important to read the terms and conditions carefully to understand the deposit requirements.

Start-Up Costs

If you're thinking of starting your own mobile bar business, it's important to consider the start-up costs involved. These can include purchasing equipment, stock, and paying for licences and insurance. Additionally, you may need to pay pitching fees to attend events, which can be expensive.

Overall, the cost of hiring a mobile bar can vary widely depending on a range of factors. By understanding these cost factors, you can make an informed decision about the type of bar to hire and ensure that you stay within your budget.

Services Offered by Mobile Bars

Mobile bars offer a wide range of services to cater to different events and occasions. They provide a variety of drinks, including cocktails, beer, wine, tea, soft drinks, ales, and spirits. Non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks are also available, depending on the preferences of the guests.

Mobile bars provide different types of hot drinks, such as coffee and hot chocolate, at an affordable cost. Soft drinks, like juices and smoothies, are also available, and they usually cost around £3-£4 per item.

Mobile bars offer a selection of garnishes to add flavour and enhance the presentation of the drinks. They also provide different types of glassware and equipment to suit the occasion. For example, they may provide a fridge to keep the drinks cold or champagne glasses for a wedding.

Mobile bars can create bespoke cocktails for guests, including mocktails, fizz, mojitos, margaritas, martinis, and bubbles. They can also provide non-alcoholic drinks for guests who prefer not to drink alcohol.

Mobile bars provide a range of services to cater to different events and occasions. They can offer a full bar service or a limited selection of drinks, depending on the requirements of the event. They can also provide a range of equipment, such as a beetle juice bar, to add a unique touch to the event.

Overall, mobile bars offer a comprehensive range of services to cater to different events and occasions. They provide a wide range of drinks, garnishes, glassware, and equipment to suit the preferences of the guests.

Staffing and Operation

When it comes to operating a mobile bar, staffing is a crucial aspect. You will need to hire bartenders who are experienced in serving drinks and handling cash. Depending on the size of your operation, you may need to hire additional staff members such as servers or barbacks to help with setting up, stocking, and cleaning up.

Setting up a mobile bar requires careful planning and attention to detail. You will need to consider factors such as electricity, space, and shelving. It is important to ensure that you have enough space to set up your bar and that you have access to electricity to power your cash register, card payment machine, and any other equipment that requires electricity. Additionally, you will need to have enough shelving to store your stock and equipment, such as corkscrews, bottle openers, chopping boards, knives, cocktail shakers, trays, and jugs.

During high demand, it is important to have enough staff on hand to ensure that your customers are served quickly and efficiently. You may also want to consider hiring additional staff members to help with stocking and cleaning up during busy periods.

When it comes to payment, mobile bars typically operate on a cash basis. However, it is becoming increasingly common for mobile bars to accept card payments as well. If you plan to accept card payments, you will need to invest in a card payment machine.

Finally, it is important to have a backup plan in case of power outages or other unforeseen events. Consider investing in a generator to ensure that your mobile bar can continue operating even if the power goes out.

Overall, staffing and operation are key considerations when it comes to running a successful mobile bar. By carefully planning and preparing for all aspects of your operation, you can ensure that your customers are satisfied and that your business is profitable.

Legal and Insurance Considerations

When setting up a mobile bar business, there are several legal and insurance considerations to keep in mind. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to penalties, legal action, and even the closure of your business. Here are some of the key considerations:

Licensing

To sell alcohol from a mobile bar, you will need to obtain a license from your local authority. The type of license you need will depend on the type of events you plan to attend and the type of alcohol you plan to sell. You may also need to obtain a tender to operate at certain events.

Insurance

It is essential to have adequate insurance coverage for your mobile bar business. This includes public liability insurance, which covers you in case of accidents or injuries caused by your business. You may also need to consider insurance for your stock, equipment, and vehicles.

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

When deciding on the types of beverages to serve, it is essential to consider the licensing requirements for each type. You will also need to consider the cost of stock and the potential demand for each type of beverage.

Suppliers

Finding reliable suppliers for your stock is crucial to the success of your mobile bar business. You may need to consider the cost, quality, and availability of stock when choosing suppliers.

Alcohol Licensing

If you plan to sell alcohol, you will need to comply with the licensing laws in your area. This includes ensuring that all staff members are trained in responsible alcohol service and that you have systems in place to prevent underage sales and over-serving.

Sole Rights

If you plan to operate at events where other mobile bars may be present, you may need to consider obtaining sole rights to operate at the event. This can help to ensure that you have a captive audience and can maximise your profits.

In summary, when setting up a mobile bar business, it is essential to comply with all legal and insurance requirements. This includes obtaining the necessary licenses, having adequate insurance coverage, and ensuring that you comply with all alcohol licensing laws. It is also important to consider the cost and demand for different types of beverages, find reliable suppliers, and consider obtaining sole rights to operate at events.

Business Aspects of Mobile Bars

Starting a mobile bar business can be an exciting and profitable venture. However, it is important to consider the various business aspects before diving in. Below are some key points to keep in mind:

Business Plan

A well-thought-out business plan is essential for any business, including a mobile bar. It should include details such as start-up costs, target market, marketing strategies, and projected profits. A solid business plan will help you stay on track and make informed decisions.

Start-up Costs

Start-up costs for a mobile bar business can vary depending on the size and type of operation. Smaller bars for private hire at weddings and parties can be set up reasonably cost-effectively. However, larger operations will require significant investment. You will need to purchase equipment, stock, and consider pitching fees, which can be as high as £2,000 per day, depending on the type of event you attend.

Profit Margins

Profit margins for mobile bars can be significant, with some bars earning up to £500 per event. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are also expenses to consider, such as equipment maintenance, stock replenishment, and staffing costs.

Buying Power

Having good buying power can help you keep costs down and increase profits. Consider partnering with suppliers to negotiate better deals on equipment and stock.

Opportunities

Mobile bars can be used for a variety of events, including weddings, corporate events, and festivals. This provides plenty of opportunities to market your business and increase profits.

Image

Your mobile bar's image is crucial to attracting customers and standing out from the competition. Make sure your bar is visually appealing and consider branding your bar with a unique logo and colour scheme.

In summary, starting a mobile bar business can be a profitable venture with careful planning and consideration of the various business aspects. A solid business plan, good buying power, and a strong brand image can help increase profits and make your mobile bar a success.

Packages and Pricing

When it comes to hiring a mobile bar, there are various packages available, all of which can be customised to suit your event and budget. The most popular option is a cash bar, where the client pays the hire fee and guests pay as they go. However, there are also other options available, such as pre-paid packages.

The cost of a mobile bar can vary depending on the package and the type of drinks you want to serve. Here are some general pricing guidelines:

  • The average cost for a mixed pre-paid mobile bar is around ¬£20-25 per head.
  • For luxury all-inclusive offerings, you can expect to pay around ¬£30-50+ per head.
  • Cocktails are more likely to fall around the ¬£8-¬£12 per drink mark.
  • Drinks packages can range from ¬£15-30 per person, depending on the type and number of drinks.
  • Hot drinks, like coffee and hot chocolate, cost approximately ¬£2.50-¬£3 per item, and soft drinks, like juices and smoothies, cost roughly ¬£3-¬£4.

When choosing a mobile bar, it's important to consider the stock and quality of drinks on offer. A good mobile bar company will offer a wide range of drinks, including beers, wines, and prosecco, as well as non-alcoholic options.

Some mobile bar companies also offer bespoke packages, where you can choose the type of drinks and the level of service you require. This can be a great option if you have specific requirements or want to create a unique experience for your guests.

Overall, the cost of hiring a mobile bar will depend on a range of factors, including the type of package you choose, the number of guests, and the level of service you require. However, with a little research and planning, you can find a mobile bar that fits your budget and provides a great experience for your guests.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of hiring a mobile bar in the UK?

The cost of hiring a mobile bar in the UK varies depending on several factors such as the type of bar, the number of guests, and the location of the event. On average, you can expect to pay around £20-25 per head for a standard mixed bar, and £30-50+ per head for luxury all-inclusive offerings.

How much does it cost to buy a mobile bar in the UK?

The cost of buying a mobile bar in the UK depends on the type of bar, its features, and the materials used to build it. A basic mobile bar can cost around £1,000, while a more advanced one with additional features can cost up to £10,000 or more.

What licenses are required to operate a mobile bar in the UK?

To operate a mobile bar in the UK, you will need to obtain a personal license and a premises license from your local council. You may also need to obtain a temporary events notice if you plan to operate the bar at events.

Can owning a mobile bar be a profitable business?

Yes, owning a mobile bar can be a profitable business if you manage it well and operate it in the right locations. The profit margins can be high, as mobile bars have low overhead costs and can be operated at various events and locations.

What are the benefits of operating a mobile bar?

Operating a mobile bar offers several benefits such as flexibility in terms of location and event types, low overhead costs, and the potential for high-profit margins. Mobile bars can also be customized to suit different themes and occasions, making them a popular choice for events.

Are there any hidden costs when hiring a mobile bar?

When hiring a mobile bar, there may be additional costs such as travel expenses, set-up and breakdown fees, and charges for additional services such as glassware and staff. It's important to discuss these costs with the mobile bar provider before hiring to avoid any surprises.

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About the Author: 

Antoine Melon

With an impressive 25 years of experience in opening and running restaurants and hotels all over the world, HOMETAINMENT co-founder Antoine Melon is an expert in the art of hosting, or as he would say "L'Art de recevoir‚ÄĚ.

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