How Much Do Budtenders Make in Tips?

Budtending is an excellent way to get started in the cannabis industry. Budtender jobs typically pay more than minimum wage and provide valuable experience in a growing industry, with pay ranging from $12 to $18 per hour depending on experience and location. Budtenders can, in addition, increase their earning potential through customer tips. But not all employers allow tips and some require that you share everything that goes into the tip jar with other budtenders. In this article, we will look at how much you can make in tips through budtending and share some tips to help you get more tips!

Key Takeaways

Budtending is an excellent way to get started in the cannabis industry. Budtender jobs typically pay more than minimum wage and provide valuable experience in a growing industry, with pay ranging from $12 to $18 per hour depending on experience and location. Budtenders can, in addition, increase their earning potential through customer tips. But not all employers allow tips and some require that you share everything that goes into the tip jar with other budtenders. In this article, we will look at how much you can make in tips through budtending and share some tips to help you get more tips!

Looking to get into the Budtender industry?

Bud tending jobs are among the most popular in the retail cannabis industry. Who wouldn't want to spend the entire day talking about cannabis? Budtenders, as the business's face, are responsible for providing a first-rate dispensary experience to retail customers and/or medical patients.

Because most dispensaries see a diverse range of customers, budtenders must remain adaptable and accommodate a wide range of requests. While bud tending is fundamentally a retail customer service job, the position requires a high level of cannabis and regulatory knowledge, making it unique in the retail industry.

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Some customers are completely inexperienced and require strong direction in order to find the right product, whereas others consider themselves cannabis connoisseurs and want to speak with someone who understands the strain's terpene and cannabinoid profiles.

The secret to making tips in the budtender industry is to have the knowledge and to give excellent service… but more on that later. For the uninitiated, let’s quickly just recap what bud tending is and how much budtenders make in the US.

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How much in tips do budtenders make?

Usually as much as any waiter at a good restaurant. But let’s start at the top and let us explain what bud tending is and why it is becoming so popular.

The term "budtender" is a combination of the words "bud" (the cannabis plant's flower) and "bartender." The term came about because the role of a budtender in a dispensary is similar to that of a bartender in a bar.

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An employee who works at the cannabis dispensary's storefront and represents it is called a budtender. They are in charge of informing customers about the effects, advantages, and overall experience of cannabis products. While they are not typically medically trained, these marijuana dispensary employees serve as important guides to using cannabis products and cater to all levels of experience.

What do Budtenders actually do?

Budtenders' job descriptions typically include a variety of responsibilities in the dispensary. Typical responsibilities include:

  • Serving as the dispensary's public face and greeting customers
  • Facilitate with the sale of the products
  • Educating customers on a wide range of cannabis products, such as flower, edibles, and concentrates
  • Keeping up to date on new products, strains, legislative changes, and industry trends in order to provide the best possible service to customers.
  • Product weighing and packaging as needed
  • Providing cannabis product recommendations based on customer requests
  • Keeping accurate medical cannabis patient records and information (if at a medical dispensary)
  • advising customers on proper cannabis safety precautions to take
  • Customer identification and paperwork verification
  • Assisting with various dispensary operations, such as cash register operation and hygiene maintenance
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How much does a Budtender make?

The average salary for a Budtender is $34,310 ($14.72 per hour) in the United States. That’s $13.97 per hour. The lowest salary is $27,325 and the highest reported is $43,082 (the lower end is $11.73 per hour and the higher end is $18.49 per hour).

Some of the top Budtender employers in the United States

How much do budtenders get paid per hour? Well here are what the top employers are giving their Budtenders.

Table for hourly salaries of budtenders

Cities with the highest pay for Budtenders in the United States

Table of highest pay for Budtenders in United States

Do budtenders get tips?

A tip jar is common in dispensaries. Each location decides how to distribute the budtender tips. For some dispensaries, tips are collected and divided evenly among all employees for that shift. In some places, you are allowed to keep the tips you specifically earn. Some dispensaries refuse to accept tips at all. 

If earning extra money during your shift is important to you, look for employers and locations that accept tips when applying for bud tending jobs. The average total tip bonus a budtender makes is between $250 to $400 a month.

Budtenders report that the average individual tip they've received is between $3 and $5.

The benefits of being a budtender are numerous, and may include discounted cannabis, first access to cannabis products, and discovering a community of marijuana enthusiasts! It's a rewarding career path, and the industry is only getting started!

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Advice for making tips as a Budtender!

Here are ten ways to improve the quality of your guest interactions, which could lead to higher tips. Remember that tips are a result of exceptional service, not an expectation.

1. Understand your products and promotions

Knowing the products available in their dispensary is one of the most basic things a budtender can do to increase their gratuity. Knowing how the products can affect a guest is a non-negotiable skill in addition to knowing every type of product that you carry. 

There are numerous resources, training classes, and one-on-one intensive courses available to help you advance your cannabis knowledge. 

Make an effort to further your education. When you can answer almost any product question, you are regarded as an authority. Being an authority puts the guest at ease and reassures them about their purchase. Guests enjoy saving money, so be aware of any specials and product packages that may help them get the most bang for their buck.

If you are interested in becoming an ace Budtender consider the following course:

Budtender Training: The Budtender training course combines cannabis education and sales. This training will prepare you to step into a budtender role with the necessary product knowledge and effective communication skills. With this comprehensive training, you can improve your cannabis knowledge, sales, customer loyalty, and engagement.

2. Make product education interesting

Budtenders who receive the highest tips create an experience centered on the products. Create a scenario in which the guest can understand and visualize how the products will work for them.

Tell a story about how you used the product personally or create a scenario in which you explain how the guest can benefit from the product.

Allow the guest to physically touch the packaged product while explaining it. This method can also be applied to consumption accessories such as pipes, glasses, and vaporizers.

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3. Proactivity, efficiency, and speed

Let's face it, we're all extremely busy. Customers at dispensaries are no different, and we must respect that. Ensure that you are paying attention to the wait times that your customers are experiencing with each transaction. 

Nobody enjoys having to wait for too long. Wait times can decimate a budtender's tips per hour. Allow enough time for each guest to make a choice, but you can gently nudge them along in the process to help keep the overall wait time between each guest to a minimum.

4. Understand your customers

When bud tending, live by the phrase "Treat every customer like a blank canvas." This is important not only from a hospitality standpoint but also from a safety standpoint. 

Understanding the guest and their individual tolerances, preferences, and habits goes a long way toward developing rapport and, eventually, trust. You wouldn't recommend a concentrate to a first-time buyer, would you? 

When the budtender refuses to understand the guest, bad things happen. Not understanding the guest can have a negative impact on your tips and, in the worst-case scenario, permanently lose you a customer.

5. Grooming and appearance

Grooming? Really? Yes - tipping fact: People tend to tip better when they interact with a well-groomed person. Be conscious of your grooming habits and outward appearance, as appearance does influence first impressions. 

Positive first impressions aid in establishing a trusting relationship with the visitor which simply leads to better and bigger tips.

Grooming is divided into three categories:


Employees in many hospitality establishments are required to wear a specific uniform. Cannabis businesses are no exception. Uniforms and dress codes will become more common as cannabis businesses grow and evolve.

Avoid clothing that is excessively wrinkled, unwashed, or ripped/torn. Also, keep in mind what is displayed on the clothing. Avoid using offensive designs or phrases.


If you look like you just rolled out of bed or have been avoiding the shower for a few days, avoid bud tending. Brushing your teeth, showering before work, and looking presentable all go a long way. 

Hair, nails, teeth, breath, and personal hygiene are important and simple things like too much perfume or cologne can be off-putting to guests, so keep this in mind.


A positive and welcoming attitude gets you good tips. Grooming also includes your demeanor. Make sure you bring a friendly, upbeat attitude.

6. Keep an eye on your topics of discussion

Politics, religion, and sex are three topics you should avoid like the plague when talking to customers in any hospitality or retail sales environment.

Polite societies expect you not to try to persuade people on such issues during a retail shopping experience. So you don't discuss them for the sake of civility, especially when running a business or trying to sell a product to a customer. 

As a simple rule, make sure you avoid bringing in religion, politics, sexual topics, and any offensive jokes or profanity.

7. Make repeat customers

Repeat customers always tip more generously! 

Never, ever underestimate the value of repeat business. Repeat business and referrals are what propel any company forward in the long run.

Here are some tips to make repeat customers:

  • Know your visitors' names.
  • Remember something interesting about your visitors and bring it up during the conversation. (Kids, pets, and hobbies all work well.)
  • Make them feel special by providing them with exclusive offers and deals.
  • Spend as much time as possible with the visitor.
  • Make use of loyalty and reward programs.

8. Smile

True, there is magic in your smile. There has been a lot of research into the effects of our smiles and body language on human interaction. In fact, we are a naturally smiling species, and smiling can help us in any social situation. 

Smiling is inherently contagious. How can smiling benefit your tips? We are perceived to be more courteous, likable, and competent when we smile.

9. Always appreciate but never expect tips

Here are some tipping etiquette guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Never, ever expect a guest to tip you.
  • Never directly request a tip.
  • Never assume that the money they give you is a tip.
  • Always thank the guest, regardless of the amount of the tip.
  • Creative tip jars are acceptable; however, they should not be labeled inappropriately:
  • "Just the tip," "Gently slide your tip in," and "Please tip, my boss is a cheap bastard" are some examples of inappropriate tip jar phrases.

10. Understand your dispensary or venue

Dispensaries and social consumption venues are as distinct as the people who work in them. Knowing the area around your workplace will allow you to advise visitors on where they should and should not go. 

Learn about nearby gas stations, restaurants, bars, and nightlife. You will be surprised how many times guests ask you where they should go after purchasing cannabis.

Final Word

Tips supplement earnings in what is typically a low-wage service job. The national hourly minimum wage has not changed in over a decade, and food, housing, and healthcare costs have not risen in tandem. 

While the need to raise all wages to a living wage is a debate for another time, the long and short of it is that making more money is always preferable to making less, and budtenders are no exceptions. Tips constitute an important source of additional earnings for Budtenders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do Budtenders make the most money?

How much do Budtenders make in CA hourly?

Is being a Budtender a good job?

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