Finding the dream job is a task that few people in life actually achieve, but if you’re looking to make a change and want a position that offers a ton of perks, then budtending might be as close as you can possibly come. As the marijuana industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the Pacific Northwest, openings for budtenders have flooded online job boards.
But how exactly do you become a budtender and what’s required of you? How does it differ from other customer-facing positions, and most importantly, do you make good money? Today we’re going to explore everything related to budtending and why it’s an awesome career.
The Landscape Of Budtending
The numbers vary all the time, but it’s safe to say that the opportunities to budtend in Washington are growing nearly every day. At last count, there were over 100 recreational marijuana dispensaries in the area with far more medical establishments adding to the overall number. When you estimate that each location probably has at least a handful of staff members, you see there’s a lot of potential to break into this industry.
To the untrained eye, working in a dispensary might seem like just another retail job where you’re selling weed instead of shoes, but that assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. The marijuana industry is highly regulated, and budtenders need to know compliance rules like the backs of their hands. Those who work in a medical dispensary even have to take a 20 hour class to learn what they can and cannot say to patients.
While you certainly need to have an upbeat personality and exceptional customer service skills, there isn’t a long list of qualifications to become a budtender. In the State of Washington, you must be at least 21 years old to work in a dispensary and at the current time, no permit is required.
What exactly makes being a budtender so great? The reasons people love working in the industry are varied, but overall it’s a stable position that allows for growth and is truly enjoyable. It seems as if some people believe that working in a dispensary means you can be high on the job, but that misconception couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being a budtender means being held to high employment standards just like any other career.
Depending on the shop you work at, you might find that you get paid an hourly wage plus part of the tips that are collected each day. Other shops tend to pay a higher wage and omit the option for customers to tip, but either way you’re going to be seeing some good money coming in. How much exactly? It depends on where you work.
Some data shows that budtenders who are new to the industry make around $12 per hour, while more experienced employees can easily earn $15 per hour or more. After you’ve been in the industry for a while, and if you show some promising leadership skills, you could move into a store manager position which earns anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 per year.
Just like other companies in various industries, you may or may not have the option of health insurance or paid time off. If these items are important to you, be sure to talk with your potential new employer about all of the benefits you’ll receive before you’re hired.
What’s It Really Like?
There still seems to be some mystery surrounding dispensaries, in that people outside of the industry feel as if it’s a magical position that only a few lucky people can land. Because it’s such a highly regulated industry, there are certainly specific qualities that you have to bring to the interview table in order to get hired.
If you’re new to the marijuana industry, do your homework and learn about the nuances of being a budtender. Since you can’t promise certain results with a specific strain or product, practice some phrases you might say to customers in case you’re asked to do some role-playing during your interview.
Once you’ve been hired, expect to learn a lot in a short amount of time. Unlike other retail settings where you can just let customers pick out the shirt they like the best and ring them up at the end, budtending requires a consultant type of approach. You need to know about every flower, what its effects are, and how it might taste or smell. When a customer comes into your shop who has never smoked weed before, you’ll be their guide and it’s expected that you know how to point them in the right direction.
Don’t worry, as your comfort level with all of this new information will grow the more shifts you work. Once you feel confident in your knowledge base, the fun really starts as you become an individual who is truly helping others to manage certain symptoms or to impart more joy and relaxation into their lives. You’ll start to have customers who see you regularly and you’ll get to develop relationships with these individuals.
Most dispensaries aim to have a welcoming and fun atmosphere, so there’s a good chance that you’ll get to listen to music all day long and many places will even let you dress how you like, within reason of course. Much like other jobs you’ve had in the past, you’ll create friendships with your co-workers and before long, you’ll wonder why anyone would ever want a job other than being a budtender!
Interested in breaking into this industry but not sure where to start? Stop by The Bakeréé and talk with our helpful budtenders. They’ll give you the lowdown on how they got started and can share some tips for how you might prepare for an interview. While you’re there, be sure to check out the full selection of premium flower, pre-rolls, edibles, and more. The Bakeréé offers upscale products in a down to earth environment, so stop in and say hello the next time you’re in the area!