Top 10 Tips to Being a Better Door Supervisor

Nov 13 • Door Supervisor, Featured • 7726 Views • No Comments on Top 10 Tips to Being a Better Door Supervisor

We recently did an article on top 10 tips to being a better security guard. This has proven very popular so in response we felt, it was time we did the same for those working as door supervisors.

And lets face it, when you read stories such as this… where you have people carrying machetes to a nightclub because of a dispute with rival gangs, door supervisors need to be on their guard at all times. So, for our top 10 list specific to doormen, read on below.


How to be a better Door Supervisor – Top 10 tips

1. Know Your Surroundings

A good door supervisor is completely aware of their surroundings. If you are new to a job and therefore establishment, take time to learn where all the exits are – including those that are generally off limits to patrons.

While working, you should always know where you are on the floor in relation to these exits. If trouble starts, you cannot be looking around trying to get your bearings when a drunken troublemaker is attempting to shove a glass in your face.

You should also know how busy the place is out front. The nearest exit might not always be the best if it is too full of patrons entering the premises, or is being used as access to a busy outside smoking area. Knowing your surroundings is vital if you want to do your job well.

2. Know the choke-points of the premises

Close to the point above, a good door supervisor must know the choke points in the premises they work.

Through out the establishment there will be areas that have high volumes of patrons, or the building design itself will compress the flow of patrons into a smaller, more compact area.

You need to know just how busy these choke-points are, and how they could potentially affect your ability to remove some one from the bar, or get to another area of the bar to help a fellow bouncer.

back door exit - door supervisors

Removing trouble via the back door if you can

3. The Back exit is Your Friend

Where possible and when appropriate, the back exit is often the best to use.

Not only is it less crowded to take the patron out via the back exit, it also stops other customers from seeing the problems taking place and potentially put off those waiting in line from entering.

4. Know the numbers – how busy is the bar?

A good door supervisor will be able to look around the bar and be able to judge approximately how close to full capacity it actually is. Furthermore, in large clubs the establishment should be recording just how many patrons are actually inside.

Knowing how full the bar is, will have an impact on the decisions you make. It can also impede your ability to do your job. For instance a busy bar will make it more difficult to remove any trouble from the premises.

It will also be more difficult to keep your colleagues in direct line of site. Although all door supervisors should be able to communicate via radio.

know what type of crowd - being a bouncer

A good bouncer knows what type of crowd is in the premises

5. Know the Type of Crowd

You should be well aware of the type of crowd you are dealing with, and the differences in crowd on a nightly basis. More generally, has there been an influx of a certain type of group – say drunken lads watching the football, or a stag party. A hen night can be equally as boisterous at times.

Be careful not to prejudice unfairly, however you need to be aware of how the crowd is behaving. Preventing any issues before they occur is always the best policy.

6. How drunk are the patrons?

And this one is an extension of knowing the crowd. Not only do you need to know the type of crowd, you should be aware of how drunk they are too.

How long have certain parties been drinking? This involves knowing how long they have been in the bar, and at what stage they are at with their drunkenness.

A good door supervisor must police those that are drunk. By walking around and paying attention to those that may have drunk too much you are prepared should a situation occur.

7. Understand the type of situation that is occurring

A doorman or bouncer will very often have only a few seconds to weigh up a situation before they need to react in some way. Reacting in the correct way is obviously fundamental to being a good door supervisor – in order to do that, you need to be able to understand the type of situation that is occurring.

A good way to do this is to have a mental gauge of the various degrees of trouble you are confronted with. For example:

Level 1 Threat


Level 1 threat – nothing to worry about

A level 1 situation could be a low threat incident where the patron is asked to leave and reacts calmly and obligingly. The rest of the party understands why the patron is being asked to leave and no issue is made of it.

Level 2 Threat

dark green

Level 2 threat – Some dialogue but little else

Here the patron is calm enough, however they are more vocal. They demand to know why they are being removed from the premises, and try to argue their point. The patron’s friends may also attempt to intervene. However, this threat is unlikely to be physical and can be dealt with quickly without further issues occurring.

Level 3 Threat


Level 3 threat – Dialogue is more aggressive, potential trouble

Here the patron may be acting verbally aggressive. They are frustrated at being removed from the premises and are making that well known.

The patron’s voice is raised and stress indicators are visible. This situation has an increased potential for turning into a physical altercation. The patron may be drunk and could act impulsively.

Level 4 Threat


Level 4 threat – aggressive body language, violence is close

The patron in this situation is verbally aggressive while showing signs that a negative physical response to the door supervisor’s request is likely.

In this instance the patron may physically attempt to provoke the doormen, i.e demonstrate aggressive body language in an attempt to start a fight. [see our article on ‘how to predict aggression’ for more on this.]

Level 5 Threat


Level 5 threat – physical violence all ready taking place

In this situation the patron may already be fighting with another customer or door supervisor. Physical violence has already been reached. This is clearly the most dangerous of scenarios and a fast response is required. The patron will need to be ejected from the premises with appropriate force, and it is important to ensure that innocent bystanders are not hurt in the process.

8. Good Communication with your colleagues

This involves staying in touch via radio and where possible, maintaining line of site. You should know where your colleagues are at any given moment and be able to assist them if trouble occurs and likewise vice-versa should you find yourself faced with an incident.

9. Do not eject a patron solo

If you can help it, never attempt to remove a person from the premises alone. The patron may fancy their chances and trouble can escalate. By working as a part of a team the ejection process should be that much easier.

10. Make use of your equipment

door supervisor equipmentRadios are vitally important for keeping in contact with other bouncers. A good door supervisor team will have codes for areas of the floor so that colleagues immediately know where to be.

Flash lights should also be used. These help locate misdemeanors in darkened areas of the bar or club and can also be used to signal to other door supervisors.

Bright coloured clothing or florescent strips can also be used so the team is more visible to each other.

And there you have it – our top 10 list of ways to be a better door supervisor. If you have any other important tips you would like to share with us, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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