When an on-demand valet company expands to a new city, does it damage that city's traditional valet companies?

In Philadelphia I think the answer will be yes.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Luxe Valet plans to launch their on-demand valet parking service in Philadelphia by the end of summer, maybe sooner.

The first thing I thought of was "Where are they going to get the workers?" 

Center City, Philadelphia is where I got my experience in the valet business. So I know a little bit about this particular market. It's tough to hire minimally qualified people for this work. 

Local valet parking services provider "Park-Ops" hits Craigslist hard with their help wanted ads every 2, 3 or 4 days—continuously. They are so aggressive with help wanted advertising on Craigslist that it must be very discouraging to their competitors. 

"Impark" uses Indeed.com and the "West Philadelphia Skills Initiative," an organization that partnered with them to recruit and train—if I remember correctly—economically disadvantaged residents of West Philadelphia. 

One of the other big valet companies seems to rely on college campus recruitment campaigns.

There's USA Parking with a tiny beachhead. And LAZ is well established.

Park-Ops use to advertise that their valets made $10 to $15 an hour. Their current ads say $9 to $13.

Others don't list a range, but I know it can be a nasty surprise. The cheapest properties pay valets just $2.83 an hour.

After pondering it for a moment, I think just before Luxe Valet begins their soft opening in Philadelphia there will be this giant sucking sound off in the distance. That will be Luxe Valet sucking up all the young talent that thinks they want to give valet parking a try... because Luxe will be dangling the biggest carrot.

For example, In Boston they advertise $15 to $20 an hour PLUS bonus & tips.

Boom! Fuhgeddaboudit local valet companies. Luxe Valet is going to leave you with the scraps! If you think it's tough hiring new valets now, just wait until they show up.

They've got the independent contractor model. You won't be able to compete with them for talent. And they will have the caché of being an exciting tech company in rapid growth mode. So there will be the perception of potentially real career options with Luxe. Your basic "find suckers and pay them peanuts" approach is going to be screwed. 

Luxe Valet will get a ton of free publicity here. I imagine city leaders like Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger will be welcoming them with enthusiastic open arms. Mayor Nutter will say this is just another sign of how Philadelphia is becoming a world class city. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School will be very proud. Their alumnus, Luxe Valet CEO Curtis Lee will quickly become a local sensation. All the local TV news stations will cover the story of Luxe. The Philadelphia Inquirer will write it up. Philadelphia Magazine will hit it. Local blogs will jump on it. Twitter will light-up. Luxe will instantly be cool. And anybody thinking that they want to work as a valet will go to Luxe first. 

Oh my... So who will be parking your cars, local valet companies?

If Luxe Valet takes off, you guys are in for some difficulties.

Related Articles:

Luxe Launches Drive Home Service And Four New Markets