Valet Parking Etiquette

October 24, 2019

You’ve just pulled up to an exclusive restaurant to discover that there’s valet parking. Do you know what you’re supposed to do when you first arrive? When they retrieve your car after your meal, how much should the valet parking tip be? Is a tip necessary? You’ve probably never given much thought to valet parking etiquette, but there are certain “unspoken rules” that exist to make the process run more smoothly and reward valet staff for a job well done. And yes, valet tipping etiquette is important. In this article, we’ll explain the proper etiquette for using valet parking services.

Valet Parking Etiquette Upon Drop-Off

A valet parking operation is often very fast-paced. The Art of Manliness offers helpful tips so you can be a smooth, savvy valet parking user. 

  • Be alert at the vehicle drop-off zone. Valets may be directing traffic, so you should follow their instructions. Drive into the area slowly and safely, and make sure you’re going the right way. 
  • Tuck away or take valuables before arriving at the valet stand. If you can’t bring them with you, stick them in the trunk, but do this out of sight of prying eyes. 
  • Take what you need for the evening. Don’t forget your wallet, phone, purse, briefcase tickets, etc. Otherwise, the valet attendant will need to go back to your vehicle to retrieve it for you, and you’ll be obliged to tip them more!
  • Leave your car running. Removing keys from the ignition may throw a wrench into the works, slowing them down. 
  • Give them the remote control fob. For cars that don’t have mechanical locks, this is a necessity. It may also help locate a vehicle in a crowded lot, by flashing the lights or beeping the horn.
  • Always wait for the valet attendant. Never leave your vehicle unattended in the drive lane or valet space.
  • Inform valet of vehicle quirks. This is only necessary if it’s something that may be an issue for them, such as a sensitive alarm system, touchy brakes or a broken door latch.
  • Keep your claim ticket safe. This is essential. If your ticket is lost, it will take additional time to resolve so that they can retrieve your vehicle.
  • Tip the valet employee who parks the car. Not everyone does this, but it may encourage better service, such as a closer spot for faster retrieval or extra care with the vehicle. If you’re wondering how much to tip valet parking attendants, the standard amount is $2-5. Like waiters, they rely on tips. 

Valet Parking Etiquette: Vehicle Pick-Up

  • Call ahead. This will save you considerable time if you’re in a hurry, especially if the valet lot is a distance away. It may take 10-20 minutes to retrieve a car at a busy hotel.
  • Wait behind the other customers. Do this even if your vehicle is “up front.” 
  • Check vehicle for any damage or stolen items. It will much harder to prove that something happened (and it was their fault) if you drive away and tell them about it later. 
  • Tip the valet, even if the service is free. Valet attendants make a good deal of their income from tips. Again, the standard amount is $2-5. If they’ve offered special services, like assistance with luggage, give them more. The full valet parking tip should be approximately 20-30% of the cost of the service. Use whichever amount is higher.

Valet parking adds sophistication to any establishment and it’s a luxurious convenience for guests and patrons. Contact FC Valet today to learn about how you can use valet services.

Please call or send a message today to find out how FC Valet can help improve your guests’ experience!

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