You're in college, you're broke and you're looking for a job that pays in cash. Being a cocktail waitress might be your answer. Cocktail waitresses serve alcoholic drinks to patrons at bars, casinos, restaurants and resorts. Depending on the Nevada establishment, they may also deliver food orders as well. Most of a cocktail waitress' income is in tips, meaning how much you make will depend on your personality, your looks and your customer's generosity rather than how many hours you work.
Nevada Average Salary
Cocktail waitresses in Nevada averaged $10.70 an hour in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's about $22,260 a year. Nevada is actually one of the highest-paying states for cocktail waitresses, as well as waitstaff of any kind. Waitresses in Pennsylvania, for example, averaged $9.68 an hour in 2010, while those in Alabama averaged $8.33 an hour. The District of Columbia was the highest-paid region in 2010, where the average pay was $14.30 an hour, or $29,750 a year.
In 2010, the average income for a cocktail waitress working in Las Vegas was $11.06 an hour, or $23,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cocktail waitresses in Carson City earned $8.41 an hour, or $17,490 a year, while those in the Reno/Sparks regions earned $8.80 an hour, or $18,310 a year.
In 2010, cocktail waitresses working in casino hotels in Nevada earned $10.77 an hour on average, or $22,410 a year. Those who worked in gambling establishments not connected to a hotel earned $10.19 an hour, or $21,190 a year. Waitresses who worked in bars earned $9.32 an hour, or $19,380 a year, while those who worked in hotels that cater primarily to travelers earned $11.64 an hour, or $24,200 a year.
Risks and Tips
Being a cocktail waitress has a lot to do with personality and, unfortunately, your willingness to flirt with your customers. Cocktail waitresses who have established a rapport with their customers and who have repeat clientele can earn more than the above figures. In 2010, the 90th percentile, or highest reported, salary for a cocktail waitress in Nevada was $14.40 an hour, or $29,940 a year. Applicants who are adept at their jobs may be able to walk away with cash each night, but they must also contend with late hours, unwanted attention and patrons who have often had more to drink they should have had.