There are many possible reasons why you may be looking for information about club promoters. Perhaps you want a job as a club promoter. So now you are researching how promoters get paid and how to get your feet in the door.
Perhaps you’re seriously considering entering the nightlife business or want to hire club promoters for your venue. Or maybe you’re just an avid party-goer who wants to know how find a great promoter who will put you into a VIP section with free drinks!
Whichever your reason may be, you will quickly find that there is not a lot of detailed information out there to give you a clear picture of what being a club promoter entails or the characteristics of a great one. Even those popular Youtube video tutorials are all just shallow stories about high school students who turned into mega promoters overnight. They’re more promotional than they are informative, so you can take their advice with a grain of salt.
Top club promoters normally don’t pull back the curtain and want to share the real truth behind the business. So being a club promoter is not as simple as how most portray it.
This article will remedy this misconception, and misrepresentation, by explaining just about everything you could possibly want to know about club promoters, the nightlife business around them, and how to be a successful one. And in turn, you will also understand how to find a great promoter and steer clear of the bad apples!
I can offer these insights because I’ve worked in the nightlife industry as a “club promoter” for over 7 years. I promoted for popular clubs like PHD, Up & Down, Lavo, Le Souk, Avenue, and many more. My experiences helped me to build my brand and go on to launch my events marketing company, Always The VIP. All which makes me what you would call an “expert source” of information.
So sit back and enjoy the ride as we take a deep dive into the business of club promoting and debunk a few myths along the way.
The Club Promoter Job
You may have heard of a few rich and famous promoters. Or maybe have some idea in your mind about how glamorous the job is. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but your chances of becoming one of those iconic promoters are slim to nill. So don’t get your hopes up.
Yes, it has its perks. Unlimited drinks, VIP tables, and being surrounded by beautiful people. It’s all there.
However, for most people, club promoting is something that they happen across, and fall out of just as easily. After all, barrier of entry is low and the main skills that you need to start aren’t not much more than communication and a little charm.
I’ll cover other important skills that you should learn later in this article. First you should understand exactly what a club promoter is.
What Is A Club Promoter?
A club promoter is essentially an extension of the club’s marketing team. The job description includes bringing large volumes of guests, great-looking people (a target audience), and patrons (bottle clients) to parties and events. They often find these guests on-site (near and around the venue), from networking, using online promotions, and by telemarketing. A club promoter is essentially a brand ambassador.
We can break club promoters down into 3 distinct types:
- Image Promoters
- Street Promoters
- Head promoters
Image promoters have many aliases, they are also called VIP hosts, VIP concierges, and brand ambassadors. The image promoter’s goal is to bring a great-looking crowd that matches the venue’s target audience and reputation. Their target demographic are often young fashionable women, so they regularly host the ladies’ night promotions.
This type of promoter is normally among the highest-paid and gets the VIP treatment at clubs. The perks include VIP sections, complimentary bottle service, dinners, and more.
In case you haven’t realized it yet from the rest of my website, among other things, I’m an image promoter.
If you thought every promoter is there popping bottles and standing on couches, you are wrong. which leads us to our next type of promoter.
If you have ever walked past a club, and been abruptly offered to come to a party nearby, that was likely a “street promoter.” They stand out in the rain, sleet, or snow, grinding away to convince a high volume of guests to join the party.
These types of promoters aren’t at a VIP section, they often aren’t drinking, and they don’t care much about the image. They just want to hit their quotas, get paid, and go home. There is not much glamour to this job. They face a lot of rejections and it is very difficult for most to excel in.
To be a street promoter, you must have thick skin, handle rejection well, and have the ability make a very convincing 15 second sales pitch.
Head Promoters or Top Promoters
Head promoters have established brands in the nightlife industry, have a large following, and get the best compensation. They often manage promoters with smaller followings, and they rarely interact with sub-promoters. These top promoters often have connections to owners, celebrities, and high-value clientele. Promoting is their business.
Because of their strong followings and reputations, they often get paid top dollar and get all the VIP benefits. There aren’t many of these O.G.’s around. I won’t name any though because they are my competition.
So now that you understand what the different types of promoters and what each job entails, I’d like to debunk our first myth. Most people do not go directly to being that bottle popping club promoter! You often have to work your way up or be lucky enough to stumble upon the right person.
Here are the 3 the most common ways to become a club promoter:
How To Be a Club Promoter
- Become a Sub-Promoter
- By Invitation from Management or a Head Promoter
- Job Search Websites
The first one is significantly important. So let’s break this down a little more so you can understand what’s happening here and the pros and cons.
If you go to a popular club, search for the table where all the ladies are. If you see a guy that stands out or is wearing all black and a fitted cap, that’s likely the promoter. If you connect with this promoter and he invites you to promote for him, then you would become his sub-promoter.
The worst-case scenario is that you are a sub-sub-promoter. This means that you are promoting under another sub-promoter. Here are the pros and cons of being a “sub”:
The Pros of Being a Sub-promoter: This is absolutely a great way to get into the door, learn the ropes, have some fun, and build up your following.
The Cons of Being a Sub-promoter: The more degrees of separation between you and the head promoter, the less likely you will get paid.
Sub-promoters often “burn out.” This means that they abruptly quit. Sometimes they get stiffed on payouts and many don’t hit their goals. Also, if the promoter that they work for doesn’t hit their goals, then no one gets paid.
Invitation From Management or Head Promoter
If you ever go to a party and your crew stands out in the room, then you may get an invite. Night managers and head promoters often survey the room. When they like what they see, they may personally offer to “take care of you” if you come again.
This hookup could be a way for you to break into promoting. The trick here is to come back a few times with your great-looking crowd to show that you can be consistent. Build rapport with the manager or head promoter each time. Then casually ask about promoting for them. Likely by then, you have earned enough cool points to get put on the payroll!
Finding Promoter Jobs On Job Search Sites
I’ll be brutally honest with you. If you do not have experience in promoting, have a big network, or a big crew of reliable alcoholics, then you have to be very careful about going this route.
It’s hard to find a promoter job online at job search websites like indeed.com or glassdoor.com that are legit. If you do find one that you are interested in, then be sure that it includes training, a ramp-up period, and a documented pay rate and commission structure.
Generally, these employers want telemarketers, which is likely not what you are looking for! That means that your job duties would mostly include cold calling prior guests, booking parties, and supporting the door at the club. Although this may not be the type of “club promoting” that you were hoping for, it is another way in the door, albeit a boring one.
So for any job that you find online, make sure that everything is in writing, and your duties are clear. Otherwise, you may end up doing a job that you hate and getting paid pennies if you can’t hit your attendee goals. On that note, let’s discuss how promoters get paid.
How Much Club Promoters Are Paid
First, let’s debunk a myth. Most club promoters are not paid a salary. Club promoters are normally paid on a commission structure where they are either paid a flat dollar amount for a set number of guests, a tiered payout (based on performance), or a set dollar amount “per head” (“per head” is synonymous with “per guest”).
Cub promoters’ potential earnings largely depend on the deals that they negotiate with management. And not every club promoter may get the same deal. They are not garunteed wages because they are not employees, they are contractors.
Of the 7 or so years that I have been promoting in NYC, I have yet to come across one club promoter who earns a “salary.” The people with the salaries are normally the marketing teams who hire the head promoters. The marketing team then has a set budget to pay promoter teams, based on performance.
A “head promoter” can generally make between 10-20% of the revenue from the bar. In the nightlife industry, we call this the “bar ring.” The percentage is often on a sliding scale. The higher the ring is, the higher the percentage is. Negotiating for a split of the covers charged at the door is also possible. The best deals would be a combination of both.
An “image promoter” can generally make between $200-$400 a night. This is called a “flat,” which is a straight payout as long as they hit their quota and bring the target audience (beautiful people). A successful image promoter who works 5 nights a week can get paid around $48,000 – $96,000 in a year.
A “street promoter” generally gets paid per head, which can range between $8-$12. The payout is normally only for people who paid to enter. The higher the cover, the higher the payout. You can’t pinpoint an average range payout for this because guest turnout varies everywhere and every night.
Every promoter can get paid a percentage for any bottle client’s purchases. That is usually 10%-15% max.
While these are standard deals, many variables could affect how venues pay promoters. Some clubs may hire fewer promoters, so their payouts and nightly quotas are higher. Some venues don’t charge covers or have low maximum occupancies, so their profit margins are smaller. On the other hand, popular venues may not offer high payouts unless you can significantly boost attendance or sales.
Additionally, if there is a celebrity appearance planned, venues often won’t even pay promoters. It makes business sense to pay promoters only when they are needed.
Lastly and possibly most importantly, promoters do not get paid for guests who don’t check in on their guest list! So forgetting to say your promoter’s name at the door is a sin in the nightlife.
So enough about that, now let’s talk about how you can make venues “need you” and so you can get paid the big bucks.
How to Be A Successful Club Promoter
From my many experiences with different promoters and guest feedback, the key to being successful is having a great reputation. Here are 5 main factors that will help you to be a successful club promoter.
- Be Available and Reliable
- Network, Constantly
- Know Your Audience
- Choose Your Venue Wisely
- Be Fun and Professional
Be Visible, Available, and Reliable
Life as a club promoter means that you have to be accessible. Unless you are already an influencer, you’ll need to be visible. Tell your friends to tell their friends about you, and open up your social media not only to promote yourself and your parties but also to have another contact point.
Social media also helps you to create social proof and reviews showing great your parties are. It also provides opportunities for user-generated content by sharing posts created by your guests.
With all of these social channels open, you’ll be more available to contact. So you can expect random messages at any time of the night, asking if you are promoting tonight. If you aren’t out then let them know when you will be. Always respond.
Being available goes beyond keeping the lines of communication open. It extends to being reliable. In the nightlife industry, your word is your bond. There are few written agreements. If you promise free bottles, free entry, or skip the line entry, you have to deliver. Your guests need to feel that they can rely on you to deliver on what you promise, even if they don’t.
For example, a guest can be as late as they want to be. But you can’t. If you tell your guests to get to a party at 11 pm, but you show up at midnight, two things that are likely to happen.
- Another promoter will poach your guests
- Your guests will not come for you again
The only way that you can get away with this is if your guests have a strong loyalty for you or are your close friends. Otherwise, your will be out of luck and a guest.
And never forget, the people who hired you are watching. They notice when you arrive, what you do, and when you leave. Do you think they will pay someone who came for 2 hours, got drunk, didn’t hit their numbers, and left? Not at all.
You need to network constantly to expand your promotional reach. Generally, if you contact 100 people, you would be fortunate if 20 people attend your party or event. So this means you have to keep in touch with your core audience, who you can trust to attend most parties.
Always branch outward and upward. So not only should you be looking to make as many connections as possible, but you also want to gravitate towards groups of working professionals, celebrities, musicians, and people with high-value networks. You would kill it if you made friends with a bunch of bankers or celebs. They blow money like there is no tomorrow. Bottle clients will get you a ton of respect and money in the nightlife industry.
Here’s my expert tip that many promoters never learn, you should always network with the people who work at the venue. This includes the doormen, the bartenders, the security guards, the waitresses, and even the barbacks. You’d be surprised at how that may help you to get a few special drinks, cutting past lines, and even getting better bottle service.
Everyone at the venue should know your name, they are your colleagues. Building relationships is key to growth in this business.
Know Your Audience
Many promoters go wrong, by not drilling down and focusing on specific audiences. For example, if you intend to be an image promoter, you should religiously be connecting with groups of fashion-forward guests, within the 21-35 age range, and similar circles. If you cast your net too widely and have a phone full of random people, you will always get unexpected turnouts.
You should always segment your lists. Have your solid lists of great looking ladies, good-looking males, your big spenders, and those people who come out en masse anytime and anywhere.
Your best bet is to create groups in your phone’s contact lists, or better yet, maintain a database. Whatever you do, always attempt to match the right parties to the right people. Your guests will appreciate it and turn up more often.
Choose Your Venues Wisely
Working at every hot party in the city every night might sound cool. It can be, but what do you think will happen if you text everyone in your phonebook for a party every night? Spamming your guests with parties that they aren’t interested in is the fastest way to getting blocked.
You’re best bet is to choose up to 3 venues, on their most popular nights. Then target the people who fit best to those scenes. Maybe you have a party that does all house music. Match them up to your audience of house music lovers, and so on!
Also, choose the venues where you get the best treatment. That means the venues where they will let you cut your guests past the line, or give you more bottles, or especially if they pay you more! When you choose the right venues and match them to the right audiences, everyone wins.
Be Fun & Professional
Be ready to be the entertainer, the hype man for the party, and have a great time with your guests like you would with your friends. This will build a valuable rapport with your guests and earn their loyalty. Even better, they may become your actual friends in the real world!
On that note, you should also be professional.
The Signs of a Bad Promoter
The characteristics of a bad promoter can be summed up by a derogatory term, often uttered from the lips of disgruntled guests, “the douchebag promoter.”
A “douchebag promoter” is someone who looks at people as nothing more than bodies and ticks on a guest list. He is often self-centered, cocky, and well-groomed in his all-black club promoter uniform.
A douchebag promoter treats women like they are a dime a dozen, often flirting and attempting to sleep with as many as possible. On the other hand, he looks at men like they are ATMs who shouldn’t come around unless they are spending money. Don’t become that guy.
Sleeping With Guests
This leads us to a big mistake that many promoters make, which is getting too “friendly” with their guests. If you are promoting just to get laid, then it should be fairly easy. You will be partying with very intoxicated people, so it happens naturally. Many promoters actually take on the job just for the opportunity to take someone new home every night.
However, I recommend that you consider the old saying, “don’t defecate where you eat.” If you want to make it big in promoting, you will quickly burn bridges if you “hook up” with every desirable guest that you entertain. It will eventually become problematic to invite certain groups to the same parties so you can avoid drama from your flings crossing paths. This makes your job harder.
Promoters And Drugs
Another huge mistake that bad promoters make is allowing drugs into their circle. Yes, there will always be guests who want the “plug.” Let them find it on their own. It’s best to keep your “nose clean” and your guests in nothing worst than a drunken stupor. Having to explain why your guest overdosed on something that you gave them never works out well.
Being a douchebag, hooking up with guests, and drugs can easily hurt your business and, more importantly, put you on a slippery slope to becoming a creep.
The Signs of a Great Promoter
Great promoters make the night more enjoyable for their guests. They are personable, they make conversation, and they dance and share laughs with attendees. They build bonds while pouring shots down throats. You can spot these promoters easily because they may be with the only large group of girls at a VIP section who are visibly having a great time.
Don’t Get Too Wasted
Great promoters also set boundaries. They never get more wasted than their guests. Remember, you are a host, from beginning to end. You should always have your wits about you so that you can protect your guests from bad situations.
Also, keep in mind that this is a job and the club is your workplace. Your reputation spreads on the lips of both your guests and your colleagues (the managers, the waitresses, etc).
Build Long-Lasting Connections
Lastly great promoters build lasting connections. That means sending a text to people just to say hello. Letting your guests know that they are more than just a number on your guest list goes a long way. Build real connections.
You will be surprised at the type of people who love to party. They are doctors, they are politicians, they could be someone that you can start a business with. The possibilities are endless if you go into promoting with the right mindset.
By this point, you know just about everything there is to know about being a club promoter. It would easily take you at least 1-2 years, a ton of mistakes, and wasted effort in the business to learn all of this on your own. The rest will vary according to your personality and situations.
If you are looking for a club promoter, now you know where to look for them (online), then to check their parties and reviews, and then validate if they are the right one for you.
So I leave you with this final recommendation:
When you find a good promoter, stick with him/her. There are many “douche bag” promoters out there who will ruin your night in different ways. Be loyal to your chosen promoter and you will reap the benefits!
Thank you for reading. If you found this article informative please share it, and connect with me on IG @Nezalpha and my brand @alwaysthevip on Instagram and Facebook!