How much to tip valet | personal finance

In general, people don’t like to pay for parking.

That’s according to Ben Akbary, CEO of Quality Parking Service Inc. based in Woodland Hills, California.

Some people also don’t like to tip the valet who parks their cars.

Maybe it’s because there’s confusion about how much to tip valets and when to tip them. Perhaps customers simply don’t often have cash on hand. Whatever the reason, there are some misconceptions about the etiquette of tipping the parking attendant.

Gary Lewis, vice president of operations for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Park Inc., Myka Meier of New York City-based Beaumont Etiquette, and Akbary offer their insights on why, when and how much to tip customers. valet:

Why tip?

The valets work hard. Not only are they responsible for transporting vehicles safely, but they must also work quickly and efficiently, even in inclement weather such as wind, rain, heat, and snow.

Akbary, whose job used to take him to Chicago on a regular basis, remembers seeing valets park cars in winter wearing ice-covered face masks.

“Acknowledging your parking attendant/valet by tipping is not only a common courtesy, but especially if the service meets or exceeds expectations,” explains Lewis. “In the end, she is entrusting possibly one of her most valuable material possessions, including what resides in her, into the hands and care of a would-be stranger. Tips are a way of appreciating or taking care of those who take care of you.”

It’s also good to remember that most parking attendants are paid an hourly rate. Tips help top up your take home pay.

“Tips are a very important part of a parking attendant’s income,” says Akbary. “One of the main reasons I work for valet parking operators is to go home at the end of the night with cash in my pocket.”

How much should you tip the valet?

Customers should tip valets anywhere in the $2 to $5 range each time they pick up their car, according to Meier.

For exceptional service, customers should consider tipping more. For example, Akbary recommends a tip of $10.

When considering how much to tip valet, Meier also recommends considering location.

“In terms of how much to tip, keep the establishment in mind,” she says. “Is it a casual drop-off beach pavilion or a five-star luxury hotel? You should tip higher or lower to reflect that level of the establishment.”

Does the place matter?

Should I tip the valet at every type of place?

Valet services operate in all kinds of places, from hotels and restaurants to health care settings and event venues, and the etiquette is different depending on the location.

For example, if you are going to drop off your car at the emergency room, your valet may not wait or even accept a tip. The same goes for private events, like weddings. In this case, hosts could tip the valet and ask their guests not to tip for that reason. But that really depends on the host of the event, says Akbary.

However, for hotels and restaurants, tipping is fair game, even if valet parking is offered as a free service.

“If the service is good or great, let the parking attendant know that you appreciate their efforts by tipping accordingly,” says Lewis.

When should you tip valets?

“You don’t need to tip a valet when you drop off your car,” says Meier. “Think of it like ordering a drink at a bar. I would not tip when you order, only when you have received your drink.”

In other words, tip your valet when you pick up your car.

At the end of the day, tipping your valet is a way of saying “thank you.”

“It’s a sign of gratitude for good service to tip your valet,” says Meier. “If you take your car out multiple times and tip each time you pick it up, you also guarantee that your car will be very well taken care of.”

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