The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2009 129,990 parking lot attendants (including valet parking employees) worked in the U.S. earning a mean annual wage of $20,600 or about $9.90 per hour. Driving and parking other people’s cars may not sound like overly challenging work, but prospective valet parking employees must meet specific requirements before being hired.
Specific required duties for valet parking employees may vary from job site to job site. In many locations, valet parkers exchange car keys for tickets or numbered tags from individuals wanting their car parked. Employees park the car, and retrieve the vehicle when the driver returns with their identifying tag. Other responsibilities include keeping parking areas clean and safe, parking cars for maximum space efficiency, or using hand signals and flashlights to direct drivers to appropriate parking spots. Valet parking employees may be required to complete additional tasks including patrolling parking areas to deter theft or other crimes, calculating and collecting parking charges or positioning barricades to block off particular parking spots.
As with any job, hiring requirements for a valet parking employee include presentation of a valid ID and proof of ability to work in the U.S., whether it’s a Social Security card, work permit or other document. Valet parkers need a current driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. Because valet parkers handle customer’s cars and money transactions, potential employers may decide to initiate a background check for employees. This may include checking your driver’s record for speeding tickets, accidents or other mishaps. You may be fingerprinted to check if you have a criminal history; few employers will hire a valet parking employee who has previously stolen cars or received a ticket for driving under the influence of alcohol. Customers may leave valuables in cars, such as jewelry, stereo systems or cell phones, and employers don’t want to risk hiring valet parking employees who may be tempted to steal. For insurance reasons, valet parking employees may be required to submit to drug tests.
Valet parking employees must have adequate driving ability skills. This includes being able to drive both standard- and manual-transmission vehicles, parallel park, and park in confined spaces. Since a valet driver may occasionally park expensive or rare cars, being a safe, careful driver is also a requirement. Being able to quickly locate headlights, gear shifts, seat belts and seat adjusters for safe driving can increase parking speed.
Customer service skills comprise another requirement for valet parking employees. Valet drivers must be able to communicate effectively and professionally with customers; this usually requires conversational-level English language skills. You’ll also be expected to resolve conflicts (for example, misplaced car keys or long lines for retrieving cars) so that customers are satisfied with their parking experience.
- cars parking in parking area image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com