Frequently Asked Questions

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General  ×   On Demand Shifts  ×   The Job Board x Barista Training


On-Demand Shifts x The Job Board



What is the difference between Cover That Shift: On-Demand and The Job Board?

On-Demand is for specialty coffee shops, cafes, and coffee event planners who need an extra barista on a temporary basis, for one or a few shifts. When you book a barista On-Demand, we schedule you an experienced barista who wants to pick up the extra shifts.

The Job Board is for specialty coffee shops looking to permanently expand their team, and connects them with qualified, talented applicants.


Who can I contact if I need help?

If you have any questions about your Job Board post or Cover That Shift booking, please email our team at If you have an urgent inquiry, you may call or text our support line at (888) 602-1349.

On-Demand shifts

How do I know the baristas are any good?

To qualify to be part of this program, baristas are required to have at least 2 years of barista experience. Many of our baristas come to us via industry recommendation, and most have several years of experience working in third-wave coffee shops. We always call references and vet them carefully, and if ever in doubt, we have access to a training center where we can quality-check their skills in person.


I’m uncomfortable with having a stranger in my shop.

This is totally understandable, but we take recruitment seriously and screen our baristas to ensure they are trustworthy, reliable, and experienced (and cool).


When are baristas available?

Baristas are available around the clock—whenever you're open, they're ready to make coffee.


How long do I have to book a barista for?

The minimum shift length is 5 hours. If you need a barista for less time, you can book for 5 hours and email us at with the correct time of the shift. Please note shorter shifts will still be charged the 5-hour minimum.


How much is this going to cost me, and how do the baristas get paid?

All rates are determined by city:

  • NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago - $12/hr

  • Bay Area - $18/hr

  • Los Angeles - $14/hr

  • Nashville - $10/hr

You pay us the hourly rate and we’ll then pay the baristas—all wages are passed directly to the barista. We charge a booking fee of $29 per shift, or $35 per shift booked if the shift is the following day. This is to cover the admin time of hiring, vetting, and managing baristas.


What about tips?

On-Demand baristas deserve their fair share of tips, and you are responsible for tipping the barista out at the end of their shift. If you are unable to pay the barista in cash for their credit card tips, we can charge your card the amount owed to the barista and pass it on to them, but we will have to add a 3% credit card processing fee to the total.

If your shift is un-tipped, the hourly rate is increased by $4 to compensate for lack of tips.


How do you charge me?

Your credit card will be charged upon checkout.


Are the baristas your employees?

No, all Cover That Shift baristas are independent contractors.


How far in advance do I need to request a barista?

We ask you to send in requests by 4 pm EST the previous day to provide us ample time to secure a barista. Weekend shifts must be booked by 4 pm EST Friday, and special notice may be required for holiday shifts.


I want to request a shift on a specific date, but I don’t see it as an option. What do I do?

If the date is super far away, just reach out to us and we’ll be happy to book your shift manually. If it’s missing from the list, you may have missed the cut-off or there may not be baristas available that day—feel free to reach out for more info.


Is it possible to book a shift after the 4pm EST cutoff?

We can’t make any guarantees, but if you reach out to us directly at, we’ll try our best to accommodate short-notice requests. We can often fill same-day shifts by increasing the barista's hourly rate; please note you may be charged an additional fee in these special cases.


Can I have the same barista for multiple shifts?

We can’t guarantee this, but we can certainly try! We'll do our best to send the same one or two baristas for multiple shift bookings. If you request a specific barista, we will reach out to them individually before the rest of our barista network.


Am I able to book multiple shifts at once?

Yes, you can book multiple shifts at checkout. Simply select the number of shifts you need and then fill in the shift times. Note: Please select the number of shifts before you begin filling in shift details.


Do you provide baristas for private events or catered events?

Absolutely! We've provided baristas for many different kinds of events. Please book the request via the website or contact us directly if you have questions. Un-tipped event shifts cost an additional $4 per hour to ensure your barista is paid fairly.


What are your cancellation policies?

Shift dates and times are final once booked as we begin scheduling for you right away. All booking fees are nonrefundable.

If a barista has already been scheduled and it is more than 24 hours until the shift start time:

  • The barista will be paid 50% of the promised wages for their time commitment.

  • Credit will be issued for remaining 50% of barista wages.

  • The booking fee is nonrefundable.

If a barista has already been scheduled and it is less than 24 hours until the shift start time:

  • The barista will be paid for their time commitment.

  • No refund or credit will be issued for barista wages or booking fee.

If a barista has not yet been scheduled and it is less than 48 hours until the shift start time:

  • You may request to cancel in exchange for full credit back for the barista wages.

  • The booking fee is nonrefundable.


What if I send the barista home early from their shift? 

If a barista is sent home early because their assistance is no longer needed, we will still pass along the promised wages. If a barista is sent home due to unsatisfactory performance, we will pass along 50% of their promised wages for the commitment and travel to their shift. If 50% of their wages equates to less than three hours of work, we will pay them for three hours of work.


What if I have specific demands for my baristas?

You can specify these in the Special Needs section on the order forms. We will try our best to fill any and all requests, such as dress code or familiarity with a particular machine.


What if I'd like to hire the barista who filled a shift in my coffee shop? 

If you directly hire an On-Demand barista, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, you will be charged a $200 finders' fee. This fee covers the cost of hiring and replacing the barista in the On-Demand program. If you are looking to grow your team, you may also purchase a post on The Job Board. The finder’s fee does not apply for any barista who has applied to your active post through The Job Board.


What if I have numerous specialty drinks on my menu?

Our baristas are highly adaptable and have worked in many different coffee shops. If you send us a list of your specialties, we’ll pass them along to the barista for their review prior to the shift. You may also email recipes or instructions directly to your barista once we have scheduled someone for your shift.


Can your baristas fill solo shifts?

Our baristas are certainly experienced enough to handle an espresso bar on their own, though we strongly recommend having someone available to show them around the space and make sure they know where to find all your coffee necessities. If that's not possible, you can film a quick video on your phone that shows them where things are and explains how the shop works.

Please note at time of booking if your barista will be expected to work alone. We want everyone to start their shift aware, prepared and ready to work!


What if I need them to open or close my shop?

We strongly recommend having someone from your team on-site to show them around at least at the beginning of the shift. Since every shop is different, we do not want them going in blind, and openings and closings can be particularly tricky for someone who has not worked at your shop before.

The Job Board

How long will it take for my job to be posted?

Posts do not publish immediately to the site, as our small team personally edits and refines each submission to make it more attractive to applicants. Please allow up to 48 hours for your post to go live on the Job Board. You will receive an email notification once your position has been published.


How long will my post be up on the site?

You may choose between our 14-day Basic post or 30-day Premium package, and your post and If you are still looking to hire when your post expires, contact us and we would be happy to offer an extension at a discounted rate.

How will I receive applicants?

You will receive a private link to your exclusive applicant folder, sent to the email address provided when you purchase the post. Once our team has identified qualified candidates for you, their applications are added to this folder. You may return to this folder to review your applicants at any time, up until 3 days after your post expires. No additional applicants will be added to your folder once your post expires unless you choose to renew the post.


How many applicants should I expect for my position?

The number of applicants per post will vary depending on your shop’s location, the details of your position, and the current job market. We value quality over quantity, and would much rather provide you with 2 strong applicants than a dozen who may be unqualified.

How can I maximize the number of applicants I receive?

To help your position stand out and attract potential candidates, we highly recommend including the below information in your post:

  • Transparent compensation - List a competitive hourly rate, and estimate hourly tips if possible

  • Benefits - What other perks or benefits come with this role? These could include a cash bonus incentive, employee meals, insurance benefits, or fun team events.

  • Team culture - What is it like to be a part of your store’s team?

  • Uniqueness - How does your business shine alongside other cafes and coffee shops in your area?

  • Minimum qualifications vs. Ideal qualifications - Including information on both your ideal candidate and the minimum requirements helps us identify all potential matches for your role, as well as providing a doorway for candidates who don’t fulfill your ideal but could still be well-suited for your team.


Do you interview candidates for me?

We hand-pick applicants based on your needs and only send you qualified applicants, so you can rest assured that whomever you speak with will be a valid candidate. But in the end, it’s up to you to speak with the baristas you select and decide who to hire! We are not responsible for scheduling or conducting interviews.


I am hiring for multiple positions. Can I include them all in the same post?

If you are hiring for several different roles, please purchase a separate post for each position. This ensures the qualifications for each role are clear, and that you receive applicants interested in the position that's the best fit for them.


What cities are you available in?

We are located in New York City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Chicago—and expanding quickly, so stay tuned! If you are located outside of but within 25 miles of these cities and wish to purchase a post, please keep in mind that increase in commuting distance may result in a lower applicant turnout.

Barista Training 

How are Cover That Shift barista training classes different from roaster training programs?

Our trainers have a breadth of knowledge having worked with countless roasters in varied cafe settings across the US. They are able to apply their versatile experience and tailor each class to your needs according to your cafe setup.  Oftentimes, training classes are hosted in centralized facilities with top of the touch equipment (which can be great!) but as our trainers come to you the classes are meant to equip your staff to make the best coffee they can at your shop using your beans and equipment. 


Who are your trainers?

All of our trainers have 5+ years in the coffee industry and at least 1 year in a training role.


Is the training available outside of NY?

We’re currently only able to offer training to coffee shops in the New York metro area. We’re working on expanding our training services to additional markets.


Can I book two classes at once?

Yes! All classes are two hours long, but you can book two classes at once and they can be scheduled back to back or on two different dates.


Are there prerequisites for any of the classes?

Nope. All classes are designed to be taken as stand-alone sessions. Our trainers can adjust the material so that it is as accessible or as challenging as needed for your staff to get the most out of the class.


Will my staff be able to pour latte art after taking the milk class?

This depends on each and every barista. Latte art takes time to perfect and the purpose of the class is to give students the pointers and feedback they need to constantly be perfecting their art. 


What’s your cancellation policy?

Classes cancelled within 24 hours of the class date will not be refunded. For all other class cancellations, we’ll return 50% of the cost to you in the form of Cover That Shift credit.


How many students can take a class?

A maximum of 4 students can take a class.


How long are the classes?

All classes are 2 hours long.


When are your classes available?

Classes take place in the evenings seven days a week at 5pm, 6pm, or 7pm. If evening training times are not convenient for you, then you may request a different time slot, but please give us one business day to confirm your requested date/time.


Do your trainers bring any training materials or equipment with them?

Our Barista trainers will bring in the curriculum and training guides for students which they may keep for reference after the class has finished. No equipment will be brought in as the trainer will use what is available at your cafe. 


My cafe isn't open yet but  I would like to book a training for my staff. Can the training be hosted elsewhere? 

If you have access to a suitable location equipped with the appropriate machines for your class then the class can be hosted wherever you wish. If you don't have a cafe setting then we can help secure a training location for you at an additional cost. Please inquire. 


ON-DEMAND shifts

Do I qualify as a Cover That Shift barista?

We require all baristas in our On-Demand community to have at least 2 years experience in specialty coffee—that means 3rd-wave, independent coffee shops. Latte art skills are strongly preferred.

How do I sign up?

Head to the For Baristas section of our website and click “I’m Looking for an Occasional Shift,” then simply fill out the form to apply to pick up On-Demand shifts. Include as much detail as possible to expedite processing.

I applied to be an On-Demand barista. What are the next steps?

If your application is approved, you will be added to your city’s SMS shift alert line and receive a welcome email with further details. Keep an eye out!

How do I get paid for the shifts I work?

We make payments via direct deposit into your account on Tuesdays for any shifts filled the previous week (Monday through Sunday.) You will be notified via email when the payment has been made. Hourly rates vary by city.


Do I need to fill out any forms?

The only thing we need to collect from you is your application, your W9, and your bank routing and account number for direct deposit.


Am I an employee of Cover That Shift?

No, you are an independent contractor and will be sent a 1099 at the end of the year, dependent on how many shifts you fill in that given year.

Is there a dress code?

No, unless specifically requested by the coffee shop's owner. Wear what you feel comfortable in, but also keep in mind it is something you would wear to any barista gig.

What will I be expected to do on-shift?

Shifts are generally coffee-forward and will involve brewing coffee and espresso drinks, alongside side work typical of any standard barista gig. You may be asked to prepare a cafe’s specialty drinks by following a recipe, to serve pastries and possibly do light food prep. We will communicate any additional special requirements per the coffee shop’s booking request.


I claimed an On-Demand shift but realized I can’t make it. Can I cancel?

Once you have been confirmed for a shift, you are expected to follow through on your commitment. Please only pick up a shift if you are certain you can work it.

That being said, we know unforeseen circumstances pop up, so we operate with a 3-strike policy. Strikes are given out for cancellations, callouts, late arrivals, early departures, and other circumstances at your account manager’s discretion. If you accumulate 3 strikes, you will be removed from the program and will not be allowed to pick up shifts in the future.

Please note that we have a zero-tolerance no-show policy. Failure to show up for a shift without proper notice will result in immediate, permanent removal from the program. If you must call out of a shift, please notify us by 4pm EST the day before. Calling out of a scheduled shift after this time may qualify as a no-show.

How much does each shift pay?

Shift payment varies by shift length, city and whether or not tips are disbursed.

  • NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago - $12/hr

  • Bay Area - $18/hr

  • Los Angeles - $14/hr

  • Nashville - $10/hr

Un-tipped shifts pay an additional $4 per hour to compensate for lack of tips. Rates are subject to change on a shift-by-shift basis; you will be notified of any difference from the norm before you are confirmed for a shift.



Does it cost me anything to apply for a position on The Job Board?

Nope! Of course not. We’re trying to get you hired.

I want to apply to several openings in my city. Do I have to submit an individual application for them all?

If you are interested in multiple positions, you may select the Apply All option in the form. Apply All applicants are matched up with current openings in their city for up to 2 weeks. Keep in mind you may still want to apply individually if there are specific details that make you a good fit for a particular cafe.

I submitted my application—now what?

If you seem like a good fit for the position, the hiring manager who will reach out directly to schedule an interview. Look out for a reach out from the manager, and get back to them ASAP so you don’t miss out on the opportunity!

I applied to multiple jobs but haven’t heard back.

Sometimes cafe managers take their time with deciding which candidates they would like to interview. Additionally, if you do not hear back for some time, you can assume they have decided to not move forward with your application.