Ever wondered why hotels and restaurants offer a valet service, or what kind of valet supplies are necessary to run a valet service? Read on for some of the coolest facts about valet services that you never knew.
Why Do People Valet?
Let’s get that out of the way. The average driver in New York City is wasting 107 hours out of their year just looking for parking. That translates to more than $2,200 in wasted time and gas. In Los Angeles that number is 85 hours, and in Washington D.C. you can expect to spend 65 hours a year looking for parking. The United States’ top five worst parking cities are New York, LA, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Seattle. But even the average American driver is wasting $345 worth of time and gas looking for parking, and spending 17 hours a year doing it. When you go out for a nice trip or a fine meal, the last thing you want to do is wander around looking for a parking space. Who wouldn’t rather grab a valet ticket and let someone else do it?
Tipping is Expected
The cost of valet parking goes in large part towards valet supplies, and an extra tip to the person who actually parked your car is a kind gesture that acknowledges they have a difficult job. Any service job dealing with people is always difficult, in fact. Just a short delay in valet parking ticket printing, for example, and a customer can get snippy and difficult. Drivers tip anywhere from $1 to $5 for valet service, with the average tip being $3. Stats show that men tip much better than women; however female valets get better tips.
Running a valet service is more than just laying valet supplies and designing a custom parking tags or valet tags. It’s about the people, and in 2017 it cost the average company $330 just to hire a parking specialist. Valets typically have to pass a rigorous fitness test, doing things like running around a building within a limited time period or running up and down multiple flights of stairs. Your valet also has to have the familiarity with cars to be able to drive anything he or she sits down in, and they also have to be able to drive a manual shift: something only 18% of Americans can do.
The First Valet
Who was the first person to work as a valet? It was Herb Citron, a guy who started working in Los Angeles at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in 1946. His red coat and bowtie, combined with his charming manner, were such a success that he was able to open his own highly successful valet service.
Who knew you needed so many thing to run a valet service? A valet podium can run as much as $1,700, and that’s not counting locked keyboxes, valet umbrellas, umbrella lights, valet parking tags and tickets, signs and stands, and covers to go over everything.
The next time you get valet parking, take a moment to think about the people, the valet supplies, and the effort that goes into providing the service: so you don’t have to worry about parking. Maybe tip a little? You’re valet will really appreciate it.