Do we tip valet parkers at a private home? ---20-40-60 Etiquette
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YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
By Callie Athey, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: Several times lately I have been invited to a party in a private home where they have valet parking right in their driveway. Am I required to give a tip for this service? Usually, when I am not expecting this service, I don’t have dollar bills handy. What should I do? And if I am supposed to tip them, how much is appropriate?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: It is so hard to keep cash on hand now that debit cards/credit cards are so easy. Try to get in the habit of keeping an “emergency” cash on hand in your car. This helps a lot when random expenses come like this. I would give $3.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Yes, typically you’re supposed to tip them. If I don’t have cash, which happens often because I don’t carry it that much, I’ll park the car myself down the street and walk to the home. It’s a great service and one worth tipping for if you have the change – $2 to $5 given when they bring your car back.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Valet parking is a wonderful service for any event, whether it is at an event center, country club or in a private home. The companies are well organized and are very thoughtful about helping you and your friends with the car doors and making sure the car lights are on at night.
Most invitations list “valet parking” so that you will know that you don’t have to hike up the street to the party. Usually $3 to $5 is appropriate, and definitely $5 if it is raining outside. Keep a few dollar bills in your car in case you are caught unaware.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Jane Jayroe, former Miss America and television news anchor: Valet parking at a home isn’t uncommon these days if it’s a large party. I can empathize with the person asking this question: For women who change purses, it’s easy to not have the correct change to pay a tip. I try to keep dollar bills in my car as well as always keeping cash with me.
But I have been caught without money before and unable to borrow from a friend nearby so I just sincerely apologized to the driver who brought me my car. It was not my favorite moment.
In answer to the primary question: Yes, tipping is expected. According to sources online, $2-5 is customary for valet parking. Usually, the amount of a tip is a nice response to good service – the better the service, the higher the tip. But this service is so quick that it’s just a good idea to give them at least $2 or $3; more if it’s a big effort to get your car.
There is one exception. If you attend a party at Mo Anderson’s house in Edmond, the people that park her cars will politely tell you that no tip is accepted because Mo takes very good care of them. That’s a thoughtful little touch that is greatly appreciated by every woman who digs through her little luncheon purse and can’t come up with those dollar bills.
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for... Read more ›
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman Read more ›
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a... Read more ›