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What is Valet Parking?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
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Valet parking is a service designed to eliminate the need for customers or guests to park their own vehicles. Visitors drive to a designated area and the driver receives a ticket identifying his or her vehicle. A responsible driver employed or contracted by the venue will then drive the car to a monitored parking area. When the guests are ready to leave the event, a valet coordinator will retrieve the matching car keys and a driver returns the vehicle.

There are times when an individual parking his or her own vehicle at an event can prove problematic. Inclement weather can turn the walk from the car to the venue into a messy affair, ruining expensive clothing and shoes. There may not be enough available parking near the restaurant or concert hall, meaning a long walk through city streets at night. A driver may be able to drop his or her passengers off at the entrance to an event, but he or she will still have to make a less glamorous trek from the parking lot afterwards. Because of these concerns, many upscale restaurants and venues offer valet parking.

Many upscale restaurants and clubs offer valet parking as a regular option, since it generates an air of distinction and positive customer service. Other venues may contract these services for special occasions where parking space may be at a premium or guests require VIP treatment. Valet employees may be required to wear uniforms and demonstrate a respectful attitude towards their clients, and the parking companies may also assume some responsibilities for accidents or damages to vehicles left in their care.

Valet parking is not always seen as a helpful service. Owners of expensive sports cars or luxury automobiles may not feel comfortable handing over their keys to a young driver, even one in uniform. The service has been portrayed in movies and television shows as an opportunity for employees to take unauthorized joy rides in customers' vehicles or to take unnecessary risks while parking in questionable spaces. In reality, most valet employees are fully insured, with years of driving experience.

If the venue offers valet parking as a regular service for customers, then tipping the driver or the coordinator may be expected. There is no hard and fast rule, but a valet driver generally receives the same tip amount as a coat checker or bellhop — not as much as the wait staff, but at least a few dollars for prompt and courteous service.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to WikiMotors, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By backdraft — On Dec 05, 2012

I can't drive a manual transmission. Could I still find work as a valet?

By ZsaZsa56 — On Dec 04, 2012

There is a restaurant that my wife and I go to all the time that offers free valet parking. It is such a great service and it is one of the reasons that we keep going back.

The restaurant is in a very popular part of the city and there is not much convenient parking. There is a parking lot, but it is about three blocks away. The restaurant knows that parking is a problem for their customers so they offer a simple solution. I think that's pretty savvy business.

By summing — On Dec 03, 2012

How much is it polite to tip a valet parking attendant? I usually give two or three bucks, but I have gotten dirty looks from a few valets. What is the etiquette here?

By anon281270 — On Jul 23, 2012

How much we can earn from this field?

By anon103703 — On Aug 13, 2010

no, it's not the valet company's responsibility if it is stolen. check the back of the valet tickets. it will have that disclaimer. well at least that's how it works if you are with a dallas valet company.

By tornado — On Dec 13, 2008

What is the valet company's responsibility if a car was stolen from them?

By kevnike24 — On Nov 02, 2007

I would suggest checking a valet parking directory as they have local listings =)

By anon1255 — On May 22, 2007

How one would find a valet parking service for their weddings?

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick


As a frequent contributor to WikiMotors, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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