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Guide to a Valet Career

A Valet career is an excellent choice for individuals who possess exceptional driving skills and love interacting with people. If you’re planning to transition to a Valet role in the near future, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to succeed in this career.

What Is a Valet?

A Valet (sometimes also known as a Parking Attendant) is a professional who provides car parking and retrieval services for guests at restaurants, hotels, event venues and other establishments.

Valets need to possess excellent driving skills and a strong knowledge of traffic laws and parking regulations specific to their work location. Most importantly, they need to have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.

What Does a Valet Do?

A Valet’s day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Greeting guests who arrive by car and opening car doors for them
  • Helping guests with their luggage
  • Conducting vehicle inspections and documenting any existing damage
  • Parking vehicles efficiently and safely in designated areas
  • Ensuring the safety and security of the parked vehicles
  • Retrieving vehicles promptly upon guest request
  • Returning vehicles to guests

valet responsibilities

Read more about Valets’ duties and responsibilities on our Valet Job Description page.

Top Skills and Qualities of Successful Valets

Successful Valets boast the following skills and qualities:

  • Exceptional driving skills with the ability to effortlessly park vehicles in tight spaces
  • Friendly and professional demeanor
  • Clear and courteous communication with guests and colleagues
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills to ensure parking operations are as efficient as possible
  • Strong attention to detail to accurately record vehicle information and possible damages
  • Ability to effectively juggle multiple tasks at the same
  • Strong problem-solving skills to efficiently address guest concerns or parking-related issues
  • Physical stamina as the role requires standing, running and lifting heavy luggage
  • Adaptability and flexibility to handle different scenarios, such as unexpected changes in traffic or weather conditions

skills & qualities for Valets

Educational Requirements & Training for Valets

If you want to work as a Valet, you won’t need formal education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. However, a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record are a must! Here are some certifications that could help you stand out to employers among other Valet applicants:

Certification Description
National Parking Association (NPA) Certified Parking Professional (CPP) This certification guarantees your expertise and proficiency in all aspects of parking management.
National Safety Council (NSC) Defensive Driving Course Possessing this certification shows your commitment to safe driving practices.
First Aid and CPR Certification A certification in first aid CPR means you’re able to handle medical emergencies that may happen on duty.
Customer Service Excellence Certification This certification highlights your dedication to providing exceptional customer service, which is a critical aspect of the Valet role.

Valet Wage and Earning Potential

On average, Valets in the United States earn an hourly wage of $15.72 base plus tips, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This translates into an annual base Valet salary of $32,700.

Valets who consistently provide excellent service can earn significant tips and increase their overall earnings. However, at the end of the day, this also depends on their employer’s company policies regarding receiving tips from customers.

Valet Career Progression

Experienced Valets may progress into higher-paying roles with more responsibility, such as Lead Valet, Valet Parking Supervisor or Parking Manager.

Valet
Lead Valet
Avg Salary $ 40,000
Valet Captain
Avg Salary $ 51,000
Parking Manager
Avg Salary $ 65,000
Parking Operations Director
Avg Salary $ 80,000
Senior Valet
Avg Salary $ 38,000
Parking Supervisor
Avg Salary $ 56,000
Guest Services Manager
Avg Salary $ 70,000
Hospitality Manager
Avg Salary $ 90,000

Where Do Valets Work?

Valets usually work in the following establishments:

  • High-end restaurants
  • Luxury hotels
  • Event venues and convention centers
  • Nightclubs and bars
  • Private clubs and membership lounges
  • Airports and car dealerships

establishments that employ Valets

The duties and responsibilities of a Valet can slightly differ based on the type of establishment they work in. However, their main focus — regardless of the establishment — is to provide exceptional service while ensuring vehicle safety.

What Is the Workplace of a Valet Like?

The Valet workplace is often hectic and fast-paced, especially during peak hours when establishments experience high traffic volumes. So, to be able to handle the flow of incoming and outgoing vehicles effectively, Valets must be organized and efficient.

They also spend a lot of time outdoors waiting on incoming guests, which means they are exposed to different weather conditions throughout their shifts. Besides that, Valets might often switch between the outdoors and air-conditioned cars or lobbies, which entails adjusting to changing temperatures.

Working as a Valet also requires stamina because they need to stand for extended periods, lift heavy luggage and run short distances to provide prompt service.

Despite their workplace often being hectic, Valets can also have downtime during slower periods when there are fewer guests. While some may use it to catch up on paperwork, others may just sit down and relax.

Pros and Cons of Being a Valet

Being a Valet comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Let’s see what these are.

Pros

  • Constant interaction with different people: Valets interact on the daily basis with people who come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and have different personalities and preferences. This constant interaction allows Valets to hone their communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Entry-level role: The Valet role is accessible to individuals with zero or minimal work experience.
  • Opportunity to earn additional income through tips: Apart from their base pay, Valets may receive significant tips from satisfied guests.
  • Flexible schedules: Valets often work flexible shifts, which allow for a better work-life balance.

Valet career pros & cons

Cons

  • Outdoor work: Valets often need to work outdoors under varying weather conditions, which can be challenging.
  • Physical demands: The role requires standing, walking and lifting heavy luggage which can be physically demanding.
  • Late-night and weekend shifts: Some positions may require working evenings or weekends.
  • Dealing with impatient guests: Occasionally, Valets need to deal with impatient or frustrated guests, which requires them to be patient and have excellent conflict-resolution skills.

Quiz: Is Valet the Right Role for You?

Results

Congratulations! 

Based on your quiz results, you would be an ideal candidate for a Valet position. Your skills and preferences align well with the job’s demands.

Embrace this opportunity and consider gaining hands-on experience by applying for Valet jobs

Cheers to a promising future in the restaurant and hospitality industry!

There’s great potential!

While your results indicate that you may need to develop more skills to be an effective Valet, there’s great potential for you to excel with dedication and effort.

You can start by visiting our Valet Job Description page to learn more about what this role entails.

#1. When faced with a challenging situation, such as a sudden influx of cars or a misplaced set of keys, you:

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#2. Are you comfortable interacting with a diverse range of people and providing exceptional customer service?

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#3. How do you feel about working in a fast-paced environment where multitasking and quick thinking are essential?

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#4. Are you able to maintain a friendly and professional demeanor, even during busy or stressful situations?

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#5. How do you approach managing parking assignments and ensuring cars are parked efficiently during peak times?

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#6. Are you willing to continuously learn and adapt to changes in parking procedures and guest preferences?

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#7. How important is attention to detail in ensuring the safety and security of guests’ vehicles?

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#8. Are you comfortable working evening, weekend and holiday shifts as part of your role as a Valet?

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#9. How do you feel about collaborating with other staff to ensure seamless service for guests?

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#10. Are you passionate about creating a welcoming atmosphere for guests and ensuring they have a positive experience?

Finish

Common Misconceptions About Working as a Valet

Many people have preconceived notions about Valet jobs. Here are some common misconceptions we’ll clear up:

  • Working as a Valet is easy – it’s just about parking cars: A Valet’s job is not easy. You need to be a great driver with excellent problem-solving, organization and people skills. Also, it’s also about creating a positive experience for guests, ensuring a smooth arrival and departure.
  • It’s not a well-paid job: Even though the base pay is not that high, tips can significantly increase your earnings. The more clients are satisfied with your service, the higher the amount of tips you’ll receive.
  • This job is only for young people: This isn’t true. Valet jobs are open to individuals of all ages looking for a dynamic career in the hospitality industry.

Valet Career FAQs

Yes, you can apply for a Valet job despite having no previous work experience. Valet positions are often entry-level roles and make excellent first jobs. Moreover, many employers are willing to train the right candidate.

When it comes to Valet jobs, a strong work ethic, a clean driving record and a positive attitude are often more important than experience.

Valets working in high-end establishments often wear a professional uniform that may consist of slacks, a collared shirt, a vest and a name tag. More casual establishments may require Valets to wear a simpler uniform. For example, a polo shirt paired with trousers or shorts.

Valet work hours can vary depending on the establishment’s operating hours. However, many Valet positions offer flexible scheduling options.

In restaurants, for example, the work hours align with peak dining times. Those include evenings and weekends.

For hotels, schedules may involve split shifts, evenings, weekends and potentially holidays. Meanwhile, night hours and weekends are typical for Valets working in nightclubs and bars.

A strict minimum age requirement for Valets doesn’t exist. Even though the legal driving age in the U.S. is 16, most employers will require Valet candidates to be at least 18 years old.

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