How many tips Valets | Personal Finance

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

So says Ben Akbary, CEO of Quality Parking Service Inc., based in Woodland Hills, California.

Some people also don’t tip the parking attendants who park their cars.

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

Gary Lewis, VP of Operations at Park Inc. based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Myka Meier of Beaumont Etiquette based in New York City, and Akbary offer their insights on why, when, and how much to tip:

Why Tip Valets?

Valetists work hard. They are not only responsible for the safe transport of vehicles, they also have to work quickly and efficiently – even in bad weather, such as wind, rain, heat and snow.

Akbary, whose work regularly brought him to Chicago, recalls seeing valet parking attendants park cars in winter wearing full-face masks covered in ice.

“Recognizing your valet/attendant through tips is not just a common courtesy, but especially if the service meets or exceeds expectations,” explains Lewis. “Eventually, you may be entrusting one of your most valuable material possessions – including what is inside it – into the hands and care of a possible stranger. Gratuities are a way to appreciate or care for those who care for you.”

It’s also good to remember that most parking attendants are charged an hourly rate. Tips help pay them home.

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

How Much Should You Tip Valet?

According to Meier, customers should tip between $2 and $5 each time they pick up their car.

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

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

“Keep in mind the establishment when it comes to how much to tip,” she says. “Is it an informal beach pavilion where you deliver it or a luxury five-star hotel? You have to tip higher or lower to reflect that level of the establishment.

Is the location important?

Do you have to tip at any kind of location?

Valet services operate in all sorts of places — from hotels and restaurants to healthcare facilities and event venues — and etiquette varies by location.

For example, if you drop your car in the emergency room, your attendant may not expect or accept a tip. The same goes for private events, such as weddings. In this case, the hosts can tip the valet themselves – and ask their guests not to tip for that reason. But that really depends on the host of the event, Akbary says.

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 valet know you appreciate their efforts by tipping accordingly,” says Lewis.

When should you tip valets?

“You don’t have to tip when you return your car,” Meier says. “Think of it like ordering a drink at a bar. You do not tip when placing the 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 is one way to say “thank you.”

“It’s a sign of gratitude for good service to tip your valet,” Meier says. “Having your car out multiple times and tipping every time you pick up your car will also ensure that your car is well taken care of.”

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