What’s it Like to Be a Budtender? A Day in the Life…
With the growth of marijuana legalization and the cannabis industry as a whole, many marijuana enthusiasts are discovering cannabis career paths as budtenders. A budtender is someone who helps cannabis consumers (medical or recreational) find the ideal cannabis product for their needs. This may be in the form of flowers, oils, edibles or any of the dozens of other cannabis products available.
As such, the budtender has to be highly educated about marijuana and have a knack for working with others, too. If you’ve been thinking about turning your passion for marijuana into a career, make sure you understand what to expect.
Here’s a basic overview of what a budtender does every day.
- Set up Cannabis Displays and Products
At the most fundamental level, being a budtender means you’re working retail. As such, you have to take care of the store’s products and track inventory, which is usually the main priority at the beginning of the workday.
Budtenders who are scheduled for opening shifts begin by taking merchandise out of a secure backroom or safe then setting up the merchandise at the front of the house. During this time, they make sure everything matches the inventory records. If samples are allowed in their state, dispensaries may also have a budtender set aside samples for the day and log what they’ve used from the available inventory.
Some days may also include bank runs to deposit cash/make change, and the register should be counted daily as well. This isn’t usually something beginner budtenders do unless they have previous retail management experience and can be trusted handling cash.
- Greet, Educate, and Guide Clients
Once the dispensary is ready to open, budtenders have to keep up with the flow of business that comes in.
Most dispensaries have a 1:1 ratio for a budtender to work with one client at a time, many states even have laws requiring no more than one customer per one employee. They may have enough budtenders on staff to keep their customers happy and avoid a wait or they may have customers wait in a lounge area until it’s their turn.
It’s the budtender’s responsibility to provide exceptional service from the moment a person walks in the door until they leave with their cannabis product of choice. The budtender should be understanding of the customer’s needs and educate them about the best cannabis options to get the desired experience. They need to be patient with customers, able to build rapport, and have a little fun with the process, too.
This creates strong, lasting relationships with customers which turns into repeat business – a critical part of the dispensary’s long-term success.
- Meet (and Exceed) Daily Sales Goals
Like any other retail establishment, dispensary’s may have daily, monthly, and annual sales goals to meet. This is what keeps the business above water, and why it’s so important that budtenders do their best with each consultation.
This goes beyond establishing needs and giving a customer what they want. A great budtender is also able to transition from one product to another and provide customers with a full range of top-notch choices. This turns one consultation into a bigger sale, and more importantly, it provides a better value to each customer.
Such a sales mentality makes the business more money and keeps customers coming back. Budtenders need to have a balance between being sales-oriented and creating trust with customers, then exceeding their expectations.
- Shed Light on the Cannabis Industry as a Whole
Another part of educating a customer during a cannabis consultation is talking about the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about recreational and medical marijuana, and it’s up to budtenders and dispensary owners to be advocates for the truth.
This means educating consumers about what they can and cannot do with their marijuana, and maybe even where they can use it publicly around town, or if public use is allowed anywhere in the state. It’s also important for high-traffic dispensaries cannabis tourist area, like Denver and Seattle, to educate visitors about traveling with marijuana and the federal laws regarding crossing state lines with cannabis.
It’s also worth discussing the basics with customers – like the difference between sativa, indica and hybrids, the difference between THC, CBD and CBN. What cannabinoids and terpenes are. Even alternative ways of using marijuana – like patches, oils, inhalers, sprays, topicals, etc., – is valuable information for budtenders to share.
- Continue Learning About Cannabis
The final part of being a budtender is being a constant cannabis student. With so many new marijuana products and unique strains popping up, a budtender should be constantly learning about cannabis.
It’s good to discuss new trends in the industry with coworkers during downtime or take slow moments as an opportunity to do some online research about your dispensary’s cannabis products. This makes the entire business stronger and more profitable as employees make a habit of educating one another and doing their own research.
A budtender may even discuss the possibility of continuing cannabis education with their manager. This could be in a more formal setting than casual shop conversations, like getting more budtender training or attending an upcoming convention. After all, the more educated a budtender is, the better they can empower the people who come to them for their marijuana needs. Many employers will happily pay for an employee to attend an event that furthers their knowledge about the cannabis industry.
That’s How to Become a Budtender
It’s one thing to read about the main responsibilities of being a budtender and another to take the first steps toward becoming one yourself.
Every state has their own process and laws regarding cannabis employment. Before you apply to be budtender, look into taking a training course, so you really know how marijuana works and all the different forms it can take as well as your state’s regulations.