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Is valet parking a good job and how much do valet drivers make?

Updated on December 29, 2012

THE GOOD

So, is valet parking a good job and how much do valet drivers make?

Having a valet job and being a parking attendant is a great way for someone who is a student, in between jobs or part-time for extra income. This is because the barrier to entry is low (it’s easy to get hired), the pay is decent, and for the most part the job pretty easy.

Almost anyone can get hired for a valet job. You need a good driving history, so no DUI’s and minimal moving violations. Minimal parking tickets are okay. You also need a clean-cut appearance so a short haircut, no facial hair, and nothing crazy like a Mohawk or black painted nails.

The pay structure is minimum wage plus tips. Tips really depend on the job situation. The restaurant or hotel that you may work at can either be very up-scale or not cost the customer very much to valet their car, making the tips high. Or the establishment can be more of a “family value” spot or the customer is paying a high amount to have their car valeted, either way, the tips will be less. But to give you an idea, tips will range from $20 to $100 a shift. Shifts are usually six or eight hours. Average tips should be somewhere around $50. Although, if you can get into a good situation, valet attendants can make $150-200 a night at high-scale places in Aspen, Colorado or Las Vegas, Nevada for example.

Your job at a valet parking company is pretty simple. It’s customer service so be helpful and smile. Park the car and stay organized by remembering to write down the parking spot number and all other procedures. The actual work isn’t too hard and there is usually a lot of down time. Also, it is nice to drive a lot of cars and see which ones you like and don’t like.

THE BAD

You cannot be use to everyone’s car the first second you drive it. You can be unfamiliar with the outside dimensions of the car, the feel of different manual transmissions and inside controls including the stereo volume, power locks, headlights etc. In addition, many cars now have push-start ignitions. For a person that is use to a key ignition, this can take some time at first. All these can be bad from stalling a Porsche in front of its owner because the clutch is light, to pulling up to a customers family, not knowing where the button to unlock all the doors is, while they grab the handles impatiently.

The valet job position has a high turnover at around 40% due to firing for damage/ theft or quitting. It’s easy to get the job and it’s easy to leave.

THE UGLY

The ultimate penalty at a valet job is damaging a car. When you drive and back into 40 car spots a night, things can happen. Fortunately, the valet company pays for damages and you just terminate you. A typical valet company will fire you if you damage a car over $500 for the first 90 days and $2000 after that.

It is very bad when a valet attendant either steals from the car or pocketing tips that your supposed to put in the tip jar to distribute amongst the valet attendants. Either way, this is looked worse upon than damages because it was no accident. There are secret shoppers to test valet attendants as well.

In the long run, the worst aspect of a valet job is that it is not much of a career choice. It is a quick and easy way to make money but don’t stay there long enough to make it your professional career.

Valet job at its finest

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    • profile image

      ValetVegas 

      2 years ago

      I think it's only a good job in Vegas on strip mainly. It ranges from 50k to 80k a year. Free healthcare, 401ks etc. It's like any other "real" job.

    • profile image

      Capt 

      3 years ago

      How much you make really depends where you work.

      I work 4 nights a week at a local high-end strip club/steak house and it's not abnormal to bring home 200-300 bucks a night.

      And that's all under the table with no hourly wage. It's all about your people skills, work ethic, willingness to connect with the customers, and understanding their needs.

      Edited: fixed spelling

    • profile image

      Capt 

      3 years ago

      Hoe much you make really depends where you work.

      I work 4 nights a week at a local high-end strip club and it's not abnormal to bring home 200-300 bucks a night.

      And that's all under the table with no hourly wage.

    • profile image

      Valetboy 

      4 years ago

      It really depends on the location and the shifts you get. I worked two different valet jobs and one was primarily a business hotel so if you got morning shifts during the week you can make anywhere from $40 to $150 in eight hours.but if you got night shifts it's more like $10 to $60. Then I worked at a hotel that had a lot of nightclubs and restaurants near by so on a busy Friday or sat night you could make $50 to $150

    • profile image

      Valetguy 

      4 years ago

      Being A valet has its ups and downs. Depends on the company. THe one i work at kinda sucks only because uper management is so unorganized and unpredictable. Last min call ins (like they call at 4 and want you at work on your one day off at 5....). You do get to drive nice cars from time to time location dependant, but its not like you get to gun it around the streets and look cool. You go 15 mph park it then run faster than you're allowed to drive back. And tips... pfff dream on your job is easy in everyones eyes. I never make more than 50$ even on the best of nights.

    working

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