Ultimate Guide to Valet Parking — Including How Much to Tip!

Last Updated on October 2, 2019 by Laurice W

Never used valet parking service before? If not, there are a few tips to follow to avoid showing up unprepared. We’ll share how the process will go, how to prepare, how much to tip valet, when to tip, and more. Don’t let this frighten you, it’s a simple process – we just want to make sure you’re prepared! It’s way easier than finding a parking spot yourself. 

How Valet Parking Works

Parking using valet is simple. You simply drive up, pay the fee if applicable, and let the concierge take your car away. Once you return, the valet will grab your car and you’re off. 

Valet service is offered at many hotels, events, fancy restaurants, theme parks, and many other large parking garages. It often costs anywhere from $10–$40+ and depends on where it is. For example, valet parking at Disneyland costs $35! Even some airport parking lots offer valet.

Some places and events offer complimentary valet parking. 

how much to tip valet

Before Arrival

  1. Hide valuables and clean up your car. Since you’re giving someone else access to your car, you’ll want to hide any valuables you may have left sitting in the open. This is true anytime you park. You might also want to tidy up those crumbs and trash in your car a little bit – you don’t want to look like a slob.
  1. Bring cash for the gratuity. Yes, you’re supposed to tip the valet (even if there is free valet parking). In many states, their hourly wage is less than minimum wage and they rely on tips to supplement their income. Make sure to bring small bills so you can provide a tip! We share more about how to tip a valet and tipping policy below. 

Upon Arrival

Once you arrive, you’ll simply pull up to the valet parking section and get out of your car. Valet will sometimes open the door for you for formal events and high-end establishments. Then, they will provide you with a claim ticket that you’ll use to retrieve your car.  

You might want to tip the valet who takes your car from you, in case they’re not the same valet who picks it up. Continue reading for more about tipping.

Wondering How Much to Tip Valet? 

A typical tip for valet drivers is $2–$5. 

Luckily, this is an easy range and you won’t need to pull out a tip calculator for valet service. The tip amount depends on a few factors – it can be based on the level of service you get, the parking rates, and even how generous you’re feeling. 

If you’re going in and out of a hotel multiple times per day, it’s not common to tip multiple times. You only need to tip once that day (although you might want to leave a higher tip since they’ll be parking and retrieving your car multiple times). You should also try to tip each valet you encounter.  

While you’re not required to tip more if you drive a luxury car, the valet will likely expect a higher tip. People with expensive cars have enough money to tip bigger! On a final note, you should tip slightly more if you paid a higher parking rate. 

how much to tip valet 2019

Do you tip valet before or after?

This is up to you. Most people tip the valet who brings their car back, but doesn’t the valet who parked your car deserve a tip as well? We always make sure to tip the valet who parks your car as well as the one who picks it up (if they’re different people). 

When should you tip more?

You should tip more if you receive a valet parking attendant that goes above and beyond with their service. They might help you with your bags, driving directions, or just be very friendly. You don’t always have to tip more in this situation, but it’s a great way to show your appreciation for their excellent service. 

Another circumstance of when to tip valet parking more is when you forget something in your car and ask them to bring it back for you. Also, you might want to add in a little extra if you’re going in and out of a hotel multiple times per day. 

If you want preferred service, such as a special spot if their lots are all booked up, you might try tipping more (aka a bribe). 

Do tips vary based on the establishment?

Not necessarily – how much to tip hotel valet should be the same as a fancy event. The average tip is $2–$5 regardless of the venue or hotel.  

Tips in the service industry definitely add up. You should tip the bellman, room service, waiters, taxi drivers, bartenders, table service, tour guides, housekeepers, the tip jar at coffee shops, cruise staff and most other service workers. Only use valet parking if you’re willing to pay the tip!

Displeased With Your Service?

Had bad service and wondering if you always need to tip? Providing a valet parking tip is similar to restaurants – you don’t need to tip well if your service wasn’t good. For example, you might want to tip less if they were unfriendly. However, not tipping at all is uncommon and should only happen if the service was absolutely terrible. 

In addition, you won’t need to tip if you use once of the innovative new automated valet parking services! 

Bottom Line

Overall, it’s very easy to park your car using valet and they will take care of everything for you. It will be a breeze if you follow the tips above! When wondering how much to tip valet, it all depends on your situation. The typical rate is $2–$5.

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