A dude ranch can be a great place to work for someone who enjoys working outdoors or has skills working in the hospitality industry. From bartenders to ranch hands, there are a variety of positions available for candidates with the necessary skills and experience. Learning more about the different positions available, including hourly pay and a description of primary duties, may help you determine if a job at the ranch is right for you. In this article, we discuss what dude ranch jobs are, nine dude ranch jobs, and some benefits of working for one.
What are dude ranch jobs?
There are a variety of jobs available at a dude ranch, and many of them require assisting guests in some capacity or working with animals, such as horses or cattle. A dude ranch is a vacation experience in rural locations that includes meals, lodging, and activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. There are many dude ranches in the United States that have mountains or large open spaces, such as Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho.
Many employers offer ranch employees free lodging and some meals included in their benefits package. Some positions are available for full-time year-round work such as the general manager, while others like cooking staff and ranch hands are seasonal and needed during the busier months, typically in the summer.
9 Dude ranch jobs
Below is a list of nine dude ranch jobs you may be interested in pursuing. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below.
1. Ranch hand
National average salary: $34,379 per year
Primary duties: A ranch hand is responsible for helping all other departments as needed and guiding guests on outdoor activities provided by the ranch. Some of the typical activities involve assisting guests with white water rafting, horseback riding, hikes through the mountains, fly-fishing, overnight camping, cattle drives, archery, and shooting and zip lining. They also provide care for livestock, make repairs around the property, and maintain the quality of the trails for guests. A ranch hand also cares for the horses by brushing and grooming them, storing and handling their saddles and other equipment properly, mucking their stalls, and feeding them.
2. Guest services coordinator
National average salary: $37,716 per year
Primary duties: A guest services coordinator supervises the daily operations in the office and arranges guest excursions, books reservations, and manages guest records. Some of their daily duties consist of greeting guests as they enter the lodge, checking guests in and out, managing other customer service employees, and overseeing their daily duties. Other responsibilities include conducting customer satisfaction surveys for the general manager to assess, handling customer complaints by finding resolutions, and conducting regular professional development opportunities for all employees that take part in customer service duties.
National average salary: $37,966 per year
Primary duties: A housekeeper’s main duty is to ensure they keep the ranch’s lodging clean and orderly for guests. They have an extensive list of daily duties, including taking off bed linens and replacing them with new ones, making the bed, vacuuming the room, replacing the towels, cleaning and disinfecting bathrooms, taking out the trash, and providing toiletries for guests, like shampoo and body wash. Some of their other tasks consist of taking forgotten items to the front desk of the ranch so guests can claim them, polishing furniture to help preserve the pieces, and keeping the hallways free of trash.
4. Childcare coordinator
National average salary: $37,991 per year
Primary duties: A childcare coordinator oversees the childcare program at a ranch and ensures the safety of children while their parents are doing other activities. Some of their duties include approving activities recommended by other childcare employees, ensuring the program complies with all state regulations, evaluating the performance of all childcare staff members, and helping to hire and train new employees. In addition, they also manage all administrative duties of the program, such as creating staff schedules, developing special events for guests who are present during holidays, and speaking with parents if they have questions.
National average salary: $39,303 per year
Primary duties: A server is responsible for serving guests their food and beverages. Depending on the style of the ranch they work at, they may also present food specials to guests and take their orders. Some daily tasks consist of answering questions about food and drink items, engaging with customers with a friendly demeanor, ensuring guests are enjoying their meals, and removing plates from the table as guests finish their food. Other responsibilities include helping with food preparation as needed and performing some cleaning duties, such as sanitizing tables and cleaning around the kitchen and dining area.
6. Barn manager
National average salary: $42,255 per year
Primary duties: A barn manager ensures proper care of the horses, oversees the work of employees, and handles various administrative tasks. Some of their more physical tasks include feeding horses, assisting with veterinary treatments, mucking out stalls, and assigning tasks to employees. Their administrative tasks vary and can include ordering supplies, horse feed, and equipment, scheduling routine veterinary visits, managing employee schedules, handling staff payroll, paying bills, and maintaining records.
National average salary: $41,602 per year
Primary duties: A bartender’s main duties are to create beverages for guests by mixing well-known drinks and making custom-made drinks upon request. Some of their daily duties consist of welcoming guests when they arrive, taking drink orders from guests and servers, making recommendations based on guests’ preferences, informing them of drink specials, planning drink menus for special occasions, and mixing and garnishing beverages for guests. Other responsibilities include checking guests’ identification to make sure they’re of legal drinking age, handling drink transactions, taking inventory, ordering supplies, and keeping their work area organized and sanitized.
8. Sous chef
National average salary: $50,497 per year
Primary duties: A sous chef works under the supervision of the head chef to plan and manage all food preparation in the lodge’s kitchen. Some responsibilities include developing new menus based on the time of year, making sure kitchen operations run smoothly, monitoring food inventory, ordering supplies as needed, and assisting in the arrangement of meal designs. In addition, they also manage the kitchen if the chef is absent, create kitchen staff schedules, train new kitchen employees, and offer support to junior employees by assisting in food preparation, plating dishes, and cooking food.
9. General manager
National average salary: $54,759 per year
Primary duties: A general manager oversees all aspects of ranch management. Some of their primary duties consist of ensuring all staff members understand and follow the guidelines and rules of the ranch, monitoring the performance of the ranch by frequently interacting with guests and analyzing guest satisfaction surveys, developing short- and long-term financial goals for the company and preparing financial reports for management that assess the overall effectiveness of how the ranch is being run. They also have to keep current with knowledge related to government regulations so that the ranch is complying with all applicable laws and planning employees’ schedules.
National average salary: $63,092 per year
Primary duties: A handyman works on a variety of projects on the ranch by maintaining the property and fixing electrical, plumbing, and other general issues. They have some landscaping duties, such as trimming trees, mowing the property, and maintaining equipment like chainsaws and tractors. They may also be responsible for water management, including maintaining a variety of water systems like wells, cisterns, sprinklers, and water storage tanks. A handyman can also assist management or property owners in tasks such as housekeeping, laundry, kitchen duties, and participation in various guest activities.
Benefits of working for a dude ranch
There are many perks of working for a dude ranch, including:
Meeting new people
If you enjoy working with people, then a dude ranch job might be ideal for you. There is a constant influx of guests coming and going. As an employee at the ranch, you often speak with guests and participate in their daily activities, which allows you to get to know them during their stay. In addition, since you are working in a rural environment with the same staff members for months at a time, you really get the opportunity to bond and create friendships with your coworkers.
Many guests who vacation at dude ranches are working professionals in various industries. If you’re working at a dude ranch part-time with another job back home, you may find it a good place to network. For example, if a guest tells you they’re the manager at a consulting firm and you happen to have experience consulting, they might be willing to take your contact information if they know you’re interested in a position in the future.
Oftentimes, employers offer to provide free room and board and free meals as an additional benefit for employees. Some lodging includes shared rooms with other employees in a hostel-type bunk bed setting, while others offer cabin-style rooms. The number of meals provided depends on the ranch, but most offer two to three meals per day.
While working at a dude ranch, you don’t have to pay for things such as rent or food. Because you’re in a rural location, you don’t usually go out to eat or shop much, which can help you save a lot of your earnings. Getting to work is usually a brisk walk each morning and the only items you may want to purchase ahead of time are toiletries and whatever clothes you plan to wear while working. Employers provide bed linens, washing machines, and most other common items you may need.
Tips from guests
In addition to your salary, guests may choose to tip you for your services during their stay at the ranch. All ranches handle guest tips differently. Some have no hard rules and allow guests to tip whoever they’d like. Others require guests to tip one amount which gets split amongst all employees equally. Some ranches don’t allow tipping, while others automatically add gratuity to the guests’ last bill which is split between all employees.
I hope you find this article helpful.