San Diego Mesa College is offering free valet parking to students...

Should your university offer the service?

Mesa College just announced it is offering free valet parking service for two weeks. Currently, no plan has been announced about introducing a valet parking fee. As long as it's not a complete fiasco, my guess is this pilot will turn into a regular for-pay service.

Plenty of students on Twitter complain about not having a valet parking option at their school, college or university.

  • They complain about the chore that finding a parking space involves.

  • They complain about how sometimes they are late to class because they can't quickly find a space to park.

  • They complain about dealing with the elements (cold and rain) when they could instead just pull right up to their building and walk right in, if there was a valet parking service.

  • And they complain about the long walks from the parking lot to wherever they have to be.

Information about other colleges and universities that are offering the service is sparse. Missouri State University offered it, but it was actually a cruel April Fool's Day hoax. 

For any schools, colleges, or universities that are considering an implementation of a real valet parking program, here are some suggestions:

  1. Charge a fee for the service.

  2. Make it a no-tip situation.

  3. Give the valet workers a market value wage plus a percentage of each parking fee. Divide that pot weekly among all valets based upon the number of hours they worked.

    This is how you lower valet worker turnover. Valets that stay on the job longer become more skilled and professional, and less prone to making the dumb mistakes that rookies make.

  4. Educate students on how the service works and what they need to do to make intelligent use of the service. This includes instructing them to leave no items of value in their cars.

  5. Each user of the service should have a photo ID attached to the ONE key they give the valets in order to reduce the probability of a car being given to the wrong person (like a car thief).

  6. Set the standards high. A valet parking fiasco is press for your institution that you don't want.

  7. Worker training must be serious. Not what is typical in the valet industry.

  8. Every day at the start of each shift, there should be a meeting among the valets and their managers about the business of serving your students... about how they can do better, about who did good yesterday, about issues they might have had yesterday and what the team will do differently to avoid a repeat of that occurrence. Things like that.

  9. No tolerance for amateurs here. This isn't fun and games. It's a serious venture that should be conducted professionally.


This university brought in a valet parking service for move-in day.

This university brought in a valet parking service for move-in day.