If you are looking for a good part-time job or business to start, you should definitely consider the valet parking industry.
You’ve no doubt seen valets at nice restaurants and hotels. But did you know there are third-party valet service companies geared towards the private party (e.g. weddings) industry?
When people throw a big wedding or party, one of the things they don’t want their nicely-dressed guests dealing with is finding a place to park and then walking a long distance. A third-party valet service is a nice way to impress your guest and show them you appreciate their attendance. It’s also a good way to ensure your party doesn’t cause a riff with city parking ordinances.
My Valet Parking Job
I worked for a valet parking service company in college and it was one of my favorite part-time job experiences. It offered flexible hours and I could make a good amount of money (tips only) with little work.
The company I worked for did mostly private parties, so I worked a lot of weekend nights where I easily brought home over $50 for two hours of work. Each person would tip around two bucks.
It was good, quick money (in cash) and it fit my already busy schedule which had me at classes during the week and waiting tables most nights.
If you are interested in finding a valet parking job, I suggest you start with the phone book and/or craigslist. Find the local companies in your area and solicit your services.
If you aren’t having luck with making direct calls to companies, I suggest you pound the pavement (of the nice neighborhoods) on Friday and Saturday nights to meet the companies where they are at. Other places to inquire are local country clubs and nice restaurants.
Get to know the other valets and they can tell you about any opportunities.
Along with a smile and friendly disposition, you’ll need to be at least 18, have a drivers license, and you’ll most likely be subject to a drug and background check. You’ll also need to be able to drive a standard transmission.
Starting a Valet Parking Company
I could see how owning a valet parking company would be very appealing to many entrepreneurs looking for a lean operation to run. I reached out to Tulsa Valet Parking business owner, Joel Reyes for the inside scoop on starting your on valet parking company.
Mr. Reyes started his parking business back in 2005 while balancing a full-time career in marketing. He decided to start the business after discovering the poor service from other valet parking businesses in town.
I asked Mr. Reyes what his three biggest concerns would be in staring a valet parking business.
- Insurance – As I suspected, insurance was most important. Insurance companies view the parking industry as very high risk and rates are as high at $20,000 in your first year. Your first step in establishing this business will need to be to reach out to an insurance agency and find the rates in your area. Along with insurance, be sure to inquire with your local and state governments about any permits or licenses required to operate.
- Quality Staff – Finding quality valets is critical to your success. Start with people you know and trust and then hire only based on referrals from current staff members. At the valet company I used to work at, only one or two trusted valets were allowed to recruit others. Always check driving records and get a copy of their current license. Mr. Reyes says he pays his valets minimum wage and ensures the staff do a “tip share” at each event.
- Client Contacts – As with most things in life, it’s all about who you know. Reach out to your connections to build your initial client base. Then expand your business with cold calls and professional face-to-face networking. This is a high-end client business, and your customers expect (and will respond to) a very professional approach to marketing material, website, phone calls and face time.
Have you ever worked as a valet or considered owning your own valet business?
Image by Damian Morys Foto