Some advice for valet parking companies...

If you own or manage a valet parking service, here are some pointers for you...

The "auto" setting. Tell your workers not to touch it. People get irritated when driving down the highway at dusk and suddenly discover that their lights aren't on.

Seat position, volume level, and air conditioning. Have a pamphlet made that explains the necessity for changing these controls, and have your people leave the pamphlets in the cars. People don't understand why valets mess with this stuff.

To be clear, valets should never change the radio station. They should never listen to the radio. It needs to be turned all the way down so that they can hear if metal is crunching or if somebody is screaming in agony (and to hear if a car is approaching).

The air conditioning or heater fan should also be turned down so that the valet can hear what is going on outside.

And if necessary, the seat should be moved into a position that makes operating the car safer. 

(If at all possible, the seat should be returned to the original position, but of course, this is tough to do.) 

Moving the mirrors and adjusting the steering wheel position probably should never be done.

I read through a lot of Twitter complaints about valet services. Most of these are popular complaints, though the most common complaint probably is slow service. (This drives people crazy.)

As a manager you should do more audits in the parking garage or lot. Check every door to make sure they are locked. Make sure every window is up. Make sure no curb grinding is going on with the front air-dams hitting the parking curbs. And double-check that your workers are parking with quality in mind.

You should also verify that your workers are parking the cars and leaving them immediately, instead of hanging out and playing with a car's buttons. And you should verify that they are driving customer cars in the manner they are supposed to—which is safely, not recklessly or aggressively.

Too many managers don't take these steps. They don't seem to care. It results in a couple workers driving roughly, and then it spreads to every other worker.

Young people drive these cars. They are prone to being reckless, taking chances and having some fun. You need to clamp down on that... because it will reflect poorly on your leadership ability if this sort of behavior gets discovered.

At any time, anywhere, a television news crew could set-up a sting operation that aims to capture sensational valet parking footage. If that happens, it could mean your job. So pay attention to what is going on in your garage and use your authority to keep bad behavior from becoming a big problem.

There is also too much theft going on. It appears valets will steal anything. You've got to put your foot down and make it clear that violations of trust like this will not be tolerated and that there will be no second chances. This industry is in bad shape when it comes to pillaging customer cars. The Twitter complaints never end. Phone chargers might be the most commonly stolen item, or the spare change left in the cup-holders, or weed.

Have a social media policy. They should be posting NOTHING about anything that happens on the job. NOTHING. Write it up. Make them sign it. 

This industry has too many idiots posting whatever they feel like about their jobs and their customers.

  • I've seen photos of valets giving a camera their middle fingers while wearing their uniforms.

  • I've seen valets singing dumb foul-mouthed songs about how their job sucks, while on-site and in uniform.

  • I've seen music videos made showing valets clearly on the job singing rap-style about their work, in an unbecoming way.

  • I've seen posts bragging about abusing cars, LOLing about damage they caused to cars, bragging about getting high on the job, getting high from the weed a customer left in their car, showing up for work "high as fuck," stealing.

  • And probably worst of all, I've seen valets attempting to publicly humiliate individuals—and companies those individuals are associated with—for stiffing them on tips.

You valet managers need to clamp down on all that. There are too many clowns who don't belong in this industry. And too many laissez-faire managers who aren't managing as they should. 

People are paying for a luxury service. In return, sometimes they get crap. The standards need to be higher. You need to be more careful about who you are bringing on-board. You need to pay better to keep them. And you need to manage them daily instead of letting your operation run on auto pilot.