The best advice for making a safe choice when providing valet parking services to your guests is to hire an insured and reputable company. Hiring a few local college kids to help out with an event or provide location service may seem like a good idea until something unexpected comes along. You need an insured, uniformed, and established valet parking service that knows what they are doing. Before hiring your valet parking service, there are a few questions you should ask to make sure you are making the best choice for yourself and your visitors.
1. How long has your valet parking service been in business?
The same rule of thumb that applies to most industries applies here as well. The more experience a valet parking service has, the better equipped they most likely are to help with your parking needs. ParkSmart has been in business for over 10 years which we discuss in our about us section.
2. Can I have the contact info for your last 3 customers?
A reputable valet parking company should have no hesitations to provide when asked for references from previous customers. Most professional services will display several client testimonials on their website.
3. How long ago did you service these customers?
Finding out when the valet services where provided to the clients that are producing the references on behalf of the valet parking company is just as important as finding out who services have been provided for. A recent customer review of the company’s service should be expected.
4. Who are your valet parking attendants?
How a valet parking service hires their team members is probably the most important thing about running a successful valet parking operation. We have found that is is best to hire valet attendants that live local to the location they are working. This helps with employment longevity as well as avoiding delayed starts due to traffic on their commutes.
5. How much do you pay your valet attendants?
Valet parking attendants are normally paid the minimum wage rate as per state law. Supervisors and location managers usually get paid more for their extra efforts.
6. Do your valet parking attendants expect tips?
The parking attendants should be allowed to accept tips and trained not to expect tips. For some functions and events, the event host will place a sign outside that instructs visitors not to tip the parking attendants.
7. How do you screen new hires?
Your valet service provider should be checking the motor vehicle records, past employments, and criminal records before hiring any valet parking attendant. Taking the time to properly screen new employees is a critical step when building any type of company.
8. How do you train new employees?
New employees normally work in group settings for their first few shifts before being allowed to work a single shift alone. When onboarding new attendants, it is important to focus on both hospitality and safety.
9. Can I see a copy of your training manual?
Any business worth working with should have training manuals for their employees. Established companies such as ours will often have a copy of their training manual available on their website.
10. Will their be management on site to supervise valets?
Some smaller events may not require a company manager to be on site through out the entirety of the event, however, a professional valet parking company will always have their management checking on their team at least once during every shift.
11. Will the manager check that cars are safe & secure?
The manager has many responsibilities when visiting the staff on location. The manager should be checking to make sure all cars are locked and parked in a safe location.
12. How are the keys safe guarded & organized?
The driver of the vehicle is normally handed a claim check for them to retrieve their vehicle when leaving. This same identifying tag number is placed on their key ring as well as their vehicle. When the keys are stored in their cabinet, the keys are hung on a hook that corelates with the number on the tag. You can see photos of the equipment and tickets that most valet companies will be using inside of our photo gallery.
13. Do you check vehicles for damage upon receiving them?
The valet attendants will check any incoming vehicles for any damages that could possibly be blamed on the valet parking service when returning the vehicle. When damage is found the attendants are to mark on the claim ticket where such damage is located.
14. What happens if a car gets damaged in your care?
When a car gets damaged in the care of a valet parking service, that company should do everything in their power to make it right with the guest involved. Normally the valet company will pay for the repairs and provide the guest with a rental car when their vehicle is being worked on.
15. How did you handle your most recent damage claim?
Asking your new potential valet parking service provider how they handled their last damage claim is a good way to gain insight to how they respond to guest complaints. The best way to gain comprehensive insight on a company's ability to handle any guest issues is to check their client testimonials and speak with a client that the company has been servicing for a long time.
16. How often do vehicles in your care get damaged?
This question can be tricky because it is relative to the scale and size of the company you are interviewing. Avoiding damage is always the goal for everyone involved, but checking the online reviews of a service will best show you who can and can not be trusted in the valet parking industry.
17. Explain your insurance policy & who is your provider?
A reliable valet parking company will be able to provide you with a sample insurance certificate that outlines the coverage that they carry. You want to hire a valet parking service that provides garage keepers, non-owned auto, disability, and workers compensation at a minimum.
18. Are your workers covered by workers compensation?
Workers compensation is a New York state requirement to have documented employees. Make sure that the company you are hiring is in compliance with state and local laws.
19. Can I see photos of the uniforms your team wears?
With today's technologies every business on this planet has online photo galleries of the products or services that they provide. Asking for a link to a company's photo gallery is a great way to see what should be expected.
20. How do you keep the guest vehicles secure?
The valet parking attendants should be locking the doors every time a vehicle is parked or moved. Supervisors from the management team should be checking door handles to ensure their valets are locking guest vehicles.
21. Where do you plan on parking the cars?
Normally clients or facilities advise the valet parking service on where the cars are going to be parked. The valet parking company should be able to advise on the quantity of vehicles that can be parked on a property but finding the property to park the cars usually falls on the client or location.
22. How are the cars parked?
The valet team will normally back vehicles into parking spots unless there are circumstantial reasons not to. It is safest to pull a vehicle out from a parking spot when it has been backed in. This helps avoid cross traffic collisions.
23. What happens if a car does not start?
The valet team should have within their means to move a vehicle if it is blocking a parking ingress or egress. If there is a simple solution such as jumping the vehicle, the valet team should be happy to help. Anything involving mechanical issues or electronics will fall as a responsibility of the vehicle owner.
24. Will service still be provided when raining?
A real professional valet parking company will have no changes in their operations contingent on the weather. In extreme circumstances such as when a state of emergency has been declared, the valet team may become unavailable due to logistics.
25. What happens if my event runs later than expected?
If your event runs later than expected than the valet team should check with the event host to see if they want the services to run into extended hours. If you are working with a professional and experienced valet parking company, than that rate should be mentioned on your contract.
It is important to recognize that there are many unexpected circumstances that can occur through out providing valet parking service to your guests. If you want to have the best service possible and keep your visitors cars as safe as possible then having a professional, insured, and experienced company is the smart choice.