How to start a mobile bar business

Mobile Bar

From my experience at both indoor and outdoor events many lend themselves perfectly to having mobile bars serving at them. The expectation now, when going to an event, often is that there will be a range of food and drinks on hand to buy.

Mobile bars are perfect for ad-hoc events or venues where there are limited existing facilities to serve drinks. Mobile bars are often useful at things like beer or gin festivals, I wrote this other post on how to organize one of those  

There are a number of things you will need to start a mobile bar business. These include:

  • A solid business plan
  • A truck/stall/mobile bar 
  • Glassware
  • Cold storage
  • Licensing arrangements
  • Stock

Licencing is the key legality you need to adhere to when starting and managing your own mobile bar business. It can often feel confusing. Therefore, in this post, I will go into what licences you need and any key things to note.

*Just to flag, this post is aimed at the UK market and based on British legislation and licencing only. If you are based outside of the UK, please consult local guidance in your region.

What do I include in my mobile bar business plan?

Any business owner, irrelevant of the business type, will advise you the best place to begin when starting a mobile bar business is with your business plan. 

This will help you to really think about what your business means, does and how it will operate logistically and financially before you dive in and waste precious time and money.

A business plan also will be requested by any investors or banks who you are trying to get to input money. They want to be able to see that it is a viable business before they invest in it.

So where do you start with the business plan? There are plenty of templates out there online that you can use as a structure for ideas. To help you out, I have listed out a few headers and sub-headings for you to think about when writing your business plan. 

Do not feel you have to structure it all in the same order. Do what works for you!

Mobile Bar Business Plan Checklist

  • Business overview
  • Executive summary
    • What you are/sector/purpose
    • Aim of starting the business e.g. to make profit, follow passion/skills etc.
  • What are the products or services I plan to offer
  • Vision/mission statement 
  • Business structure
    • Roles and responsibilities
  • SWOT analysis
  • My Strengths
  • My Weaknesses
  • External Opportunities
  • External Threats
  • Market analysis
  • Market trends (backed up by research)
  • Suggested target Market
  • Competitive advantages to stand out in the current market. What makes your mobile bar different?
  • Financial Plan
  • Sources of income
  • Sales forecast
  • Sales strategy
  • Pricing strategy
  • Payment options
  • Start-up costs
  • Business forecast
  • Where do you see the business in 6, 12 months, 2, 4 years etc.
  • Expansion/reinvestment plans

How do I set up a mobile bar business?

Once you have your business plan mapped out, you are in a great position to start setting up your mobile bar business. 

So, where do you start? There isn’t really a right or wrong place to start as it depends on the individual and what skills/resources you have available. I have, however, broken down the set-up process in some bullet points to help keep you on track:

Mobile Bar Business Registration

There are a few key things to register and apply for when starting up your business:

  1. Register your Business (Partnership, limited company, or sole trader)
  2. Register with the council (as a new business you need to do this locally to where you run).
  3. Register with HMRC (Either as a limited company or a self-employed basis)
  4. Public Liability Event Insurance (cover for any claims against the business)
  5. Insurance (to cover your assets/set up if it were stolen or damaged)

Small Business Banking

It’s advisable to keep both your personal and business finances separate. The best way to ensure this is to set up separate accounts for business and personal.

  • This protects your own assets in the event of issues with the business.
  • It makes tax filing and accounting easier
  • A business credit card will help you spread expenses rather than having to pay everything all at once (especially if you have to do all your spending pre-event and may only get 50% payment until event completion).
  • Having a credit card builds your business’s credit rating, which works favourably when getting loans or investments.
  • Keep notes/receipts of all expenses as some of these can be deducted when filing tax. It also helps when cost tracking. 

For my event business, I’ve been using a Monzo business bank account for the last four years. I found it super easy to set up, and there were minimal credit checks, unlikely the major high street banks. I’ve no complaints and would highly recommend them. You can sign up here; this isn’t an affiliate link. I find the service super easy to use!

Insurance for a mobile bar

In the UK, there are generally THREE types you would want to consider for a mobile bar

  • Employers Liability, this covers any staff or volunteers who work for you and is a legal requirement in the UK.

  • Public Liability covers accidents or damages caused in the public domain (non-staff). This protects your business from claims made by members of the public.

  • Equipment Insurance. Worth looking at to protect against any loss through accident or theft that could impact your business. 

Check out this full article we wrote on event insurance, but that can be mainly for organisers of events.

If you are running the mobile bar as a small business, I’ve used Hiscox Insurance in the past. You can get a free online quote on there website here.

This is an affiliate link, so if you do go ahead with purchasing the insurance with them, Eventunity receives a small referral fee that helps keep the lights on around here! It won’t mean you pay a higher amount.

What license do you need for a mobile bar business?

Your first starting point is getting yourself a Personal License. These can be obtained in the UK and require you to pass an exam by an accredited board to receive your licence. The exam is in place to ensure licence holders are aware of both the licencing law as well as the social responsibilities that go hand in hand with selling alcohol to people.

So what does this cost?

Where do I take the test?

  • The GOV.UK website shows a list of accredited training providers where you can sign up for one to suit you.

How do I obtain my Personal licence once I pass?

  • Once you pass, you will need to send a copy of your certificate as well as an up-to-date basic disclosure check (around £25) to confirm you have no criminal record.
  • You then need to send these to your local authority (where you live) along with a passport-style photo and £37
  • You will then get your licence card which you should have on you when selling/serving alcohol.

How do I apply for a temporary event notice (TEN)?

  • Once you have your licence, you can fill in an online form on the GOV.UK website to obtain your TEN (temporary event notice). 
  • You will then need to send your £21 fee and a copy of the TEN to the local licencing authority.
  • As well you need to send a copy to:
    • The local police
    • A local environmental health officer

You can find their details on your local authority’s website.

Top things to know about the TEN:

  • As a personal licence holder, you can apply for up to 50 TENs a year (at £21 per TEN)
  • There must be at least 24hrs between TENs at the same location
  • Each event notice can last up to 168hrs (7 days)
  • Each location can have 12 TENs a year
  • Any one event can have up to 500 at all times on site (including staff)

What mobile bar equipment do I need?

Aside from your main bar asset/set-up (whether that be a horsebox, airstream, gazebo and table or truck) it’s easy to forget the minor details. Below is a checklist of things that come in useful.

  • Bottle openers & corkscrews (easy to put one down or misplace so have a few)
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Stirring spoons
  • Glassware (a range of shapes and sizes)
  • Napkins
  • Cloths for cleaning spillages
  • Lights (if it’s an evening or dark a day)
  • Extension cables for power
  • Waste and recycling bins (make sure these are hidden as they are unsightly)
  • Ice, ice buckets and tongs
  • Jugs and strainer
  • Straws or garnish/drink décor
  • Trays
  • Payment system/till*
  • Pen & paper to take orders if needed
  • Notes of drinks and how to make them
  • Menus/signs
  • Fridges or buckets to chill drinks with ice

You can buy most of the equipment you need from a professional catering company like Nisbets

There are also a few extra things to consider when designing your bar set-up:

  • A place to store clean glasses
  • Area to put dirty glasses
  • Glasswasher(s)
  • General bar decoration, e.g. lights, prints etc.

*Payment Machine

You will almost certainly need the ability to take payment by contactless or card. Most people (especially since the Coronavirus pandemic) will expect this. Luckily, this has become much easier in recent years and you can invest in a system for less than £30. Systems such as Zettle and Sumup in the UK use a small Bluetooth contactless device that connects to an app on your phone or tablet, see my other post on this here. You will have to pay a small commission on money taken, but it’s likely customers will expect this service.

Marketing and promoting your mobile bar business

If you are looking to set up a serious business rather than just a hobby, having a website and presence on social media channels will really help take your business to the next level. Having an online presence gives your business legitimacy, helps people to find you and acts as a good segway to direct potential customers too.

To make a start, it would be advantageous to have the following:

  • Website for your events
    • For website hosting, I use Siteground, which has been amazing for this website but Bluehost is also recommended for ease of use.
    • With a content plan (images of work, contact details, upcoming events etc.)
  • Instagram 
  • Facebook
  • Get yourself on preferred events suppliers, e.g. event/wedding planners (networking will help with this).

A top tip is to make sure you regularly update and post content. There is nothing worse than when, as a consumer, you go on an Instagram or Facebook page giving minimal information on and where nothing has been posted in months. 

One other top tip is to get some professional photos (or take some good quality ones on your phone) with your bar dressed and with a nice background. When we have nothing else to judge but an image aesthetic is everything!

So how do you promote your mobile bar?

  • As mentioned above, online presence is key! More and more use just search engines and social media to find people/businesses.
  • Networking! It’s a free and easy marketing tool. Get to know party planners and venues. It may even lead to a partnership!
  • Local print/flyers in an area to promote your business
  • Word of mouth. Doing a great job can get you far. Although it can take time this can cause a great snowball effect when word gets around.
  • Look online for Facebook groups that allow traders and organisers to connect.

Who is the target market

As a start-up business having a well-defined target market is key in order to help compete with larger and more established businesses. This is where having a niche (whether that’s brand, name, drinks etc.) will be the thing that helps you stand out here.

So where do you start?

  • Check out for competition
    • Who are their customers?
    • What do they do well and what are they missing?
  • Do an overview of your service/product
    • What are the benefits of your business to them?
    • Next identify the people who have a need for these benefits 
  • Break it down to target audience specifics:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Income
    • Occupation
    • Marital/family status
    • Ethnic background/culture
  • You can then delve deeper on the target audience psychographics e.g.
    • Values & attitudes
    • Lifestyle
    • Interests/hobbies

Once you have collated this information on your target it’s key to then ask yourself the following questions in order to help make sure you are targeting the right people:

  • Can they afford what I am offering?
  • Will they benefit from what I am offering?
  • Are they easily accessible/reachable?
  • Do I know what drives my target audience?
  • Are there enough people who fit my criteria?

Top tip: 

  • Remember you can have more than one target market, but make sure you don’t try and target all!
  • An online search, face to face research and other print/media are great ways to help you research your target audience.

Staffing your mobile bar

When you start off it is likely that you will be a jack of all trades and likely responsible for the setup, running and take down of the bar. You need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get hands on with everything. If you are new to bartending, it’s well worth going on a course to help increase your skills and therefore product.

Once your business is more established you will need to consider building a team. As a general rule of thumb, it would be advantageous to work to the following:

  • 1 bartender for every 75 guests (when only serving beer and wine)
  • 1 bartender for every 50 guests (for a full bar)
  • It’s worth considering an extra member of staff if you have a complex menu e.g. cocktails.

How much do mobile bars make?

Firstly, mobile businesses selling drinks, as opposed to food, are often on to a higher profit margin, with less waste (due to a less perishable product), little preparation time involved and your immunity to seasonality (you can sell alcohol all year around, summer, Christmas is also a bumper time). On top of that, typically if you are savvy, you are looking at 50-70% profit margin per unit.

As with most events there is no one specific answer on how much a mobile bar makes as the cost will depend on the type of setup you have and the audience you serve, more on this below.

However, on average, with good planning and some tips and tricks, you will be looking at a profit typically in the higher hundreds or low thousands. In the below I have set out some examples to help you cost up and calculate how much you could make at a festival with a mobile bar for example.

A few quick sums will help you to have a clearer picture of how much money will be going out, how much resource you might need, how much money you could make and how much you will need to break even.

It can feel like plucking figures from air at times when you are starting off, as often experience is what guides you here. Below I have broken down a simple way for working out skeleton profitability.

*please note this is an example using experience and will vary depending on the event you go to and your bar set up.

Out costsPrice (£)
Site Fee5,000
Organisers % cut (say 20%) earnings9,000
Staff cost (4 staff on 10hr shifts for 4 days)1,500
Stock costs2000
Fuel & travel500

Equally as important is working out your projected sales:

A great starting point is by compiling these details:

  • How many hours you want to serve each day?
  • How much are you charging per item?
  • How many staff do you plan to take?

So, what other factors affect profit? What other things should I consider? 

When it comes down to how much mobile bars actually make it’s totally dependent on a series of factors. Depending what you are serving (the more unique the better off), along with a few other key factors, will ultimately determine your success. Below there are some things to consider to help increase your chances of profit.

Site location:

  • Being in a busy area is always desirable, but more expensive, as you will have a high footfall passing the stand. 
  • Make sure you aren’t in a dead end or by the toilets – often people won’t walk past in volume or tend to dwell in these areas for long.

Target Audience:

  • Are you providing a product that the festival goers will want?
  • Research your audience and cater to their budget, tastes and needs.

Weather: Be reactive to this uncontrollable factor.

  • Offer something useful e.g. if it’s raining buy drinks from us and get a free branded poncho (easy to buy and store if the weather breaks!).

Up your truck look/design:

  • Colour, props and fun décor can really help you to stand out and look the part. If you are at an event with competition having something like a great design can help draw them in and give them focus over others.
  • Staff uniform is a key part of the design. Make these comfortable, clean looking but with a fun element, again to match the bar theme. You will be surprised how much we make decisions based just on looks. 

Develop your truck’s brand/reputation:

  • Smile! It is true when they say people buy people! Some small talk, happy faces and upbeat energy can go a long way bringing people back and leaving lasting positive memories – after all you never know who you are serving (someone might ask you to another event or festival).
  • Utilise your marketing opportunity. Stamp or print your logo and social media accounts on your cups etc. If you want to go one step further perhaps offer a competition or incentive if they follow your social channels. E.g. follow us and get 10% off.

A few tips to help you stand out at events where there is competition:

Don’t hide your prices away! Make them really easy and clear to read. If hidden, an instant assumption is you’re too expensive and puts people off. 

Take lots of change! If you sell anything e.g. £5.50 take lots of 50p’s! There is nothing worse than scrabbling for change during a big influx of orders.

Take card payments. So many people hate carrying cash. They are cost effective, easy and a safe way to charge people. Less cash on site also makes it safer for you! Check out this article we wrote on Bluetooth card machines.

Samples. Everyone loves a freebie! This is a great marketing technique, encouraging people to come back or try something off the menu next time they fancy a drink.

Mobile Bar Drinks Pricing

So how much can I charge?

It goes without saying, you need to price each drink/drinks package so you at least break even.

There are a couple of ways to approach costing:

  • Charge per drink like a standard bar
    • Make sure you do your research for what your competition does (you don’t want to overprice yourself nor undercut yourself too much)
  • Charge as a drinks package e.g. £30 per head for 4 drinks etc.

Mobile bar ideas

One of the advantages of having a mobile bar means that you can move to where the events are and are not fixed in one area. Another great thing is that you need less equipment to run and have everything compactly at your fingertips!

There are a range of different approaches you can take when setting up, styling and serving from your bar. Trends change quickly so one advantage of a mobile bar is that you can usually quite easily, and cost effectively, change your bar to meet demand, keep up with trends and stay ahead of the curve.

To give you some inspiration on ways to serve from your bar I have listed a few things that prove popular:

  • Beer bar (independent brewers)
  • Cocktail & Mocktails
  • Gin bar
  • Pimms bar
  • Prosecco/bubbly bar
  • Wine bar
  • Cider bar

On top of deciding what you choose to stock and sell, there are also a range of different and innovative ways you can create and repurpose everyday items into your bar. Below are some good examples of different types of mobile bars, although the world is your oyster when it comes to set up, style and bar unit.

Bar on a bike 

The Cargo Bike Company created the below cocktail bar. A simple, head turning spin on a classic.

Drinks bar bike - The Cargo Bike Company

Some advantages of this bar

  • Easy to move around (can quite literally pedal to the people)
  • Small and compact to store
  • Eye catching 
  • Small site space (so cost effective if you go to an event)

Some downfalls

  • Limited storage for ingredients
  • Can get lost in the background at some events
  • Limited area to chill drinks



Blinkers Horsebox Bar (in picture) shows a unit that has everything at your fingertips. Easy to move to events on the back of a car as well as a quirky yet attractive addition to the aesthetics of an event.

Some advantages of this bar

  • Easy to move around 
  • Compact, which cuts down set up time

Some downfalls

  • Require vehicle to tow it to events
  • Can be restrictive in space


The Bus Bar Company’s fun, unique and quintessentially British bar that has the advantage of both indoor and outdoor serving space to suit all weathers!

Some advantages of this bar

  • Easy to move around/drive
  • Compact, which cuts down set up time
  • Striking and a good decorative for the event

Some downfalls

  • Size can make it hard to park/get into some event sites
  • Site space is expensive for something this size if you go to paid for events

These can be set up and designed to suit what drinks you are serving and who you are serving. Colour, decoration and set up can easily be changed as demands dictate.

Free standing bar

Some advantages of this bar

  • Can fit around space you have available
  • Can be easily transported
  • Small and compact to store

Some downfalls

  • Limited storage for ingredients
  • Can get lost in the background at some events
  • Limited area to chill drinks
  • Having lots of things next to the bar, e.g. bins, spare stock etc., can look messy

As you can see there are a range of ways you can design and set up a mobile bar. There is no right or wrong way as long as it’s safe and functional for your needs. 

I hope that this post has helped you in the initial steps of setting up a mobile bar and wish you the best of luck with your project and business!

How to organise a quiz evening in FOUR easy steps

How to organise a quiz night

Welcome to the complete guide to organising a quiz night. Organising a quiz night is a  popular event and can be a great way to engage with friends and family or to help a service business or charity. Pubs and bars host quizzes as a means of entertainment on a quiet night to boost trade. They are great at building community events and cohesion; everybody can enjoy a little bit of competitive spirit when playing a quiz.

There are four key steps to organising a quiz night: 

  1. Select the right quiz venue
  2. Promote the quiz
  3. Choose a good format and topics for a quiz
  4. Run the quiz

I have lots of experience with quizzes. I previously developed a weekly quiz that took place from 6 pm every Friday in my venue. The reason for choosing this time was because the venue was generally quiet before the evening rush. 

Still, we noticed they were an increasing number of professional offices nearby, and we saw an opportunity to attract an audience going for a drink after work. It turned out to be a huge success, so I’d like to share some of the knowledge I gained from that experience.

Quizzes are great for quiet nights in a venue or can work really well as part of charity fundraisers.

How does a quiz night work?

Before we get into the four steps, let’s start at the beginning, with some general points.

If this is to be a regular quiz, you need to be consistent. Make sure that people have a fantastic experience, that the questions aren’t too difficult or easy, and that you’ve got a real incentive for them to play and you’ll be sure to get people coming back regularly.

Organising your first quiz is not as hard as you might think and is something anyone can do. Quizzes usually involve attendees paying an entry fee then answering a series of questions. You will also want to divide your quiz into rounds so between 10 and 15 questions in each. 

This allows for breaks where players can refresh their drinks or use the toilet.

If you plan to hold quizzes regularly, then try to keep the format consistent, same day of the week and time, same entry price, team arrangements and question structure. Doing this will help to build a loyal and steady following.

A quiz night will need a host, often the same person who also writes the questions, but this isn’t essential. The key thing to maintain is a pleasant atmosphere and correctly paced questions, and the host plays a significant role in this.

FOUR steps to running a quiz night

So, let’s look at the detail of the four key steps to go through when organising a quiz evening. This post will focus on quizzes that take place in person.  

1       Selecting the right quiz venue 

Perhaps you are the owner or manager of a venue with aspirations to put on a quiz night. If this is the case, skip forward to section 2. If you are looking to find a venue and run a quiz, then consider thinking about the following qualities when looking for your venue:

  • Is the venue the right size? Consider how many people you might expect to attract to the event. Having a large space with only a few participants in will have a negative influence on the atmosphere. While a bustling and busy venue might seem to be a good thing, people still need to be able to sit down at a quiz. It is important to strike a balance.
  • Does the venue have a sound system suitable for your event? Alongside a good host, having a good sound system is vital. You need one which enables the host to be heard clearly. Try to avoid any technical issues such as feedback or distorting through the microphone as this can be quite off-putting to customers. 
  • Is there a complicated venue layout that might hinder people hearing questions?  Some older bar and pubs may have complicated layouts where people may not always be in the line of sight of the host. Unless the sound system broadcasts around the whole venue, the host may need to repeat some of the questions.
  • Is there adequate seating and tables for the amount of people you hoped to attract? No one likes to stand; you should make sure there are enough tables and chairs for people to use.
  • Can people easily access the venue on the night? For example, is there enough parking or public transport? Again, consider who your target audience is and how they will travel to and from your venue. 
  • Does the venue have the appropriate licenses? In the UK a premises licence is required for serving alcohol and hosting public entertainment, make sure you check your venue is covered, get professional advice if unsure. 
  • What equipment does the venue have? Remember that you should provide all of the equipment needed to run the quiz except any microphone and audio system that may already be in the venue. The latter is very important, and you should check that people can hear the host’s voice clearly and at a level that is appropriate for the venue. Too quiet, and people won’t be able to hear the questions but too loud, and people will feel annoyed.  More on technical equipment later.    

TOP TIP: Work through the above list when visiting venues to narrow down to a shortlist. If you already have a venue, consider each of the points and if you need to improve anything.

2. Promoting the quiz  

As with any event, you need to plan a marketing campaign that is focused on an established target market. Doing it this way means you can spend the least amount of money but reach the most amount of people who will be interested in your event. 

Who is the target audience for your quiz?

You need to consider who your target audience is. In the example I gave earlier, my quiz was very clearly aimed at professionals working in the nearby offices. 

The offer was tied into the usual post-Friday work drinks habit; we also knew that they would require food halfway through the quiz, so the quiz structured around this. Knowing your target audience like this can really help to structure their experience.

Figuring out your target audience in this way is technically known as segmentation and uses demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioural data.

These elements are structured into customer personas that represent all of the features of your ideal target audience. There is further information on the different elements of segmentation in the video below. 

TOP TIP: Write down the persona of a person from your ideal target audience. It’s ok to have more than one by the way. For a quiz, I’d maybe limit this to three to avoid overcomplicating the advertising.

Choose the right advertising channels.

Choosing the right advertising channels for your marketing plan is about understanding the above target audience and then using the advertising channels that reach them the best. As with any event having a good website and social media presence can help boost your attendance.

The most popular social network is still Facebook but give some thought to who your target audience is and if any other social media networks may be appropriate. 

For example, if you have identified your target audience is between the age of 25 and 34  you might want to consider using Instagram to advertise your quiz as according to Statista this is the largest group using the platform.

Try to promote any Facebook groups or pages that you have for your quiz during the quiz itself. Think about including a QR code on your quiz sheet that people can scan that encourages people to like and share your quiz page on Facebook.   

Ask other local pubs with quizzes to promote your event and offer to do the same in return (as long as they don’t fall on the same day). 

Below is some example of online and offline advertising channels with some example of how they might be used to promote a quiz. Clearly, you need to do some more in-depth research about your target audience before using any of these to ensure they will be effective. 

These will hopefully give you some inspiration! 

NOTE: A general tip for social media, you should work to engage your users with fun content rather than just repeated posts about when the quiz will take place.

Online Advertising ChannelsOffline Advertising Channels
Create a Facebook group for your quiz, then post engaging questions during the week before the quiz to get people interested. Place Flyers in the venue during the weeks before the quiz. With permission, you could also put some in other bars, cafes and venue in the local area (always ask first!)
Instagram account to post interesting picture questions like Dingbats to encourage engagement.Posters with a QR code link to a mini-quiz. Encourage engagement with your posters by placing a scannable code to a mini quiz they can do on their phones. Offer a prize that can only be used AT your quiz like a round of drinks.
Build an email list. Like now! (see below) you won’t regret it.Make sure that posters are displayed in advance, and they are updated regularly to include information such as price pots and themes so that regulars see them and are attracted to attend. 
Website, a useful resource to direct people to from any offline channels through QR codes. Make sure you have some nice mobile-friendly pages for them to land on. Collect email addresses via your quiz sheets, then add them to your email list. 
Facebook ads. If you have some budget for advertising, you might get a better return from these than the cost of printing flyers.Reach out to local sports teams or workplaces to encourage them to enter a team. A little friendly competition is always good!
Use Facebook events, make sure you personalise the quiz each week. Press releases. These can work if your quiz is a one-off, for charity or If you have some amazing prizes. 

TOP TIP: For each of the target audiences you created above, write down THREE of the top online channels you can reach them on. 

TOP TIP: Consider THREE of the top offline channels where you can reach them.

Build an email list

Building an email list of your regular quiz attendees is possibly the most important thing you can do. While social networks have a part in advertising your event, you are still at the mercy of how companies like Facebook operate. 

In recent years they have moved their algorithm (the programming that decides who sees what) to favour paid adverts over organic traffic. Bottom line: not everyone in your Facebook group sees the posts you put on.

The great thing about having an email list is that YOU own it. It’s never going to be subject to another business changing the rules about how they operate. 

There are email marketing providers that help to design simple but effective emails that you can send out and even automate in some cases. Most are very easy to use and include drop and drag design. 

We have several recommendations for email marketing providers on our resources page, many of them offer a free tier for lists below 2,000 people. Using a reputable email service also helps you adhere to data protection laws such as GDPR in the European Union

A great way to start building your email is to create a mini-quiz on your website, then link to it via a QR code on your poster, include a leader board to encourage competition. You could use something as simple as Google Forms for this, which is completely free. 

Another excellent method to build your email list is via the quiz sheets where you can ask for email addresses to join our mailing list. 

Starting an email list for any event is one of the best things that you can do, and it reaches directly into someone’s mailbox rather than having to rely on social media algorithms which have become increasingly difficult.

TOP TIP: Set up a free account for an email marketing provider, see our resources page for the current recommendations

TOP TIP: Collect email address at each event, making sure you adhere to the relevant data protection rules in your locations (GDPR in the UK). Quiz answer sheets with disclaimers are an excellent way to do this. 

3       Choosing a good format and topics for a quiz?

What format for a quiz?

Again, it pays to be consistent in this area. You should try to have the same number of rounds and questions each week to ensure that regulars become familiar with the format of the evening. This could include certain themes or different types of rounds, such as picture rounds.

If you write the quiz yourself, be sure to do your research, the last thing that you want is to ask a question and give the wrong answer, chances are someone in the audience will call you out, and this will devalue the entire evening!

TOP TIP: There are plenty of options online to purchase ready-made quiz packs. We’ve included some of the best on our resources page.

Most quizzes are team-based with up to 8 in a team, although you may want to stipulate a maximum number in your rules.

A quiz can take two forms, self-paced or paced. Self-paced is where you supply a quiz sheet with all of the questions printed on it already, players then fill out the answers in a time you stipulate. While this is easier to run, it doesn’t encourage as much competition and entertainment between teams.

Paced quizzes are most common and require a quiz master to host and read all of the questions out. These types of quizzes are best at getting some friendly competition going between teams. Sometimes you can include self-paced questions within rounds of paced quiz, particularly during a break. 

TOP TIP: If your event is a one-off, then you should consider themes and a format that is easy to follow as everyone will be doing it for the first time.

How many rounds in the quiz?

The number of rounds and questions will depend on how long you have to do the quiz. A standard weekly quiz might be anything from 20 to 60 questions. Any more than this and it may take too long, and people will lose interest. 

TOP TIP: Try to avoid making quiz rounds too long, a good rule of thumb is around ten questions. This structure allows you to have short breaks in-between and for people to buy food or drink and have any comfort breaks they need.

With any quiz, try to vary the subject of the rounds so there is some variety and people with different interests stay engaged with the questions. Popular quiz rounds include music, general knowledge, food, sport or history.

One way to make the questions interesting is to connect them to the target audience. Perhaps some questions on the history of the place they live, for example?

If writing the questions seems like a challenge, there are plenty of books and kits available on Amazon which have ready-made questions or is possible to buy and download quiz question packs from the internet. Both will help to remove the pressure of thinking up questions, particularly if you’re doing it every week. We’ve listed a few of our favourites on our resources pages.  

Special Rounds

In addition to regular rounds, you may want to consider including special rounds. This introduces some variety to the quiz and allows for a longer break in reading out the regular questions rounds. Some common examples of special rounds are:

Picture round Teams are given a handout with pictures and questions (about them). They self-complete the handout. Example: Name the actor/actress
Dingbats roundTeams have to identify common phrases from visual clues.
Name the song roundTeams are given some lyrics from a song and must guess the song. 
Anagram roundTeam must work out the correct word or phrase from an anagram. This can be done using a handout, as it will reduce teams asking for the spelling of the anagram.
Name the album coverHandouts with just artwork on. Be sure to hide or mask any text on the image!

4       Running the quiz event

Setting up the venue

Make sure that you arrive at the venue in good time so that you don’t feel rushed trying to set the event up. It can often make the difference if you circulate the venue reminding people there is a quiz on or you could distribute information leaflets to the tables informing people what the quiz will involve.

What equipment will I need?

A lot of the equipment you need will depend on the venue size and shape. Venues like bars tend to have their own equipment installed, which is great if you can use that. If not, then you might want to consider a portable speaker system.

You will also need a microphone of some kind. You can either go for a wireless microphone that will allow you a little more freedom to roam around the venue or a wired microphone. 

You can buy a budget wireless microphone, but generally they are more expensive than a wired microphone.

Finally, you should consider a music source. It’s probably best to have some background music for the start and in-between rounds. Something like a phone with a Spotify playlist will do the trick. Depending on your location, you may need to check if the venue has the correct license in place to play recorded music. In the UK check  The Music License website for more information.

TOP TIP: Check out our resources page for our key recommendations on equipment needed.

How to host a quiz?

One of the key elements of running a quiz night will be the host. The host becomes the face of your quiz; they control the pace of the evening and the all-important atmosphere. If you are confident using a microphone, then you can fulfil this role yourself. If not, you should consider someone else who is good at public speaking and who can respond and interact with the audience.

Here are tips for hosting a quiz evening

Be clear about the rules of the quiz. You will not want to leave any ambiguity in the rules, and the host’s decision should be final. Make sure you phrase questions with a source, for example, “According to Google, what is the tallest building in the UK”.

Avoid conflict at all times; be fair to every team. It is JUST a quiz after all.

When it comes to starting the quiz, make sure that you give your audience plenty of time before the first question. Take your time reading the questions and read them twice, possibly offer the audience a chance to repeat once more if they didn’t hear.

How long should a quiz be?

One of the things that you’ll need to establish with your target audience is the most suitable time to start your event. Bear in mind some audiences such as parents may be time-constrained, so bear this in mind with your start and finish time. 

You should also consider how fast a pace you need for the quiz. The pace should relate to the number of rounds and questions that you have. The last thing that you want is for the event to start feeling like it is dragging, and people are clockwatching wondering when the questions will end. 

Vice versa to this too short, and people will feel that they haven’t got value for money. 

Top TIp: A rough suggestion would be no longer than two hours that includes breaks as you go along and includes the time required to go through the answers and award any prizes. 

Pens, Pens and more Pens

You can never have enough Pens for a quiz…FACT! The tricky bit is remembering to collect them all at the end!

Entry Fees

Again, the price you charge will come down to the target audience and how much value you think you are providing. In my experience, a quiz-goer has a very low expectation of price. You’re probably talking £1 or £2 maximum to enter. 

If you are running the quiz as part of a fundraiser, you could make it clear to the audience and ask for a higher entry fee. The other way around this is to look at how you can add extra van.

Dealing with cheats

At the end of the day, a quiz is just a quiz. They’re intended as a bit of fun or entertainment. You may find that you get participants who become overly competitive or do decide some under the table phone checking for any answers that they don’t know. 

Really it comes down to how strict you want to be in policing this; you may find the rest of the audience self-polices themselves.

Top Tip: If you want to have a rule about no one using their phones, then make this clear at the start of the quiz in a light-hearted but firm way.

As mentioned earlier, avoid conflicts at all times as this never ends well for either party. 

Marking the answers

When the time comes to mark the quiz, you really have two options (if using traditional pen and paper)

Mark the answers yourself. This method is probably the least favourable option, it’s incredibly time-consuming, and you could open yourself up to a possible mistake. Not good if someone wins by one point! 

Teams mark each other’s answers. This method involves teams marking each other’s answers. Best bet here is to provide quiz answer sheets with two columns, so everyone writes the answer twice, they then tear the answer sheet in half down the middle. One is retained while the other one passes on to be marked. 

Other top quiz tips

Consider using fun technology to make the experience more engaging, like Kahoot. 

Consider offering a bottle (or two) of wine on tables as part of a VIP package. This allows you to charge a premium price for those willing to pay.

Raffle off chances to win donated items or services.

Hold a silent auction using several tables with staggered closing times.

Raise funds with a craft beer tasting or wine tasting between rounds.

Have some fun contests like scavenger hunts for odd items in purses or wallets.

Conduct trivia night prize drawings between rounds.

Offer bake sale goodies for teams or individuals to buy.

Use numbered corks to hold a wine pull raffle of donated bottles.

Do games of chance such as guessing the number of marbles in a jar.

So there you have it, four steps to organising your quiz night!