Wondering how to start a valet parking service? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
There are few business startups that are as simple (or as potentially profitable) as a valet parking service. When most people think about valet parking, they immediately assume that it is limited to hotels or restaurants. But in fact, there is a range of business opportunities for independent valet parking services in almost any local community.
One of the major benefits of a valet parking service is that startup costs are virtually non-existent. You'll need to invest in uniforms and a few others essentials, but beyond that the startup requirements are limited to a smile, a safe driving record, and a good attitude.
Valet parking services are offered directly to organizers of parties, banquets, weddings, tradeshows, galas, and other one-time events. Don't bother marketing to restaurants and hotels – they employ their own valets. Instead, market your services to planners and groups that have a vested interest in creating a unique event for their guests.
Typical hourly rates for a two- or three-man crew run in the $50-$70 range with additional income from tips. Over the course of an evening, the profit potential begins to add up, especially since you're operating without overhead requirements.
It's likely that as a startup valet service owner, you will directly participate in parking activities. You will need a small stable of reliable drivers to help you and to take advantage of opportunities for handling multiple events. All hires should have clean driving records and impeccable personal credentials – you can't risk your business's reputation on a questionable valet, even if he is a friend or family member.
Although startup requirements are low, invest in third-party liability insurance is a must. Accidents happen and your clients will want assurances that your policy covers damages to their guests' vehicles.
Characteristics of a Good Valet Parking Service Business Plan
Looking for a one-size-fits-all business plan? Good luck. . . because it doesn't exist. However, the most effective business plans do address specific sound business plan elements:
- Mission Statement – A foundational statement of your company's direction and strategy.
- Goals & Objectives – Goals are broad targets; objectives are the tactics you'll use to reach your goals.
- Financial, Marketing & Action Plans – Each of these plans covers a specific aspect of your valet parking service's strategy and direction.
Review the Competition
Prior to opening a valet parking service within your community, it's essential to determine how strong the competition is. We've provided the link below to help you find competitors nearby. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of valet parking services that are close by.
Prior to opening your doors for business, be sure you fully understand the competitive landscape and where your new business will fit in.
Turning Competitors Into Collaborators
As part of your due diligence on opening a valet parking service, be sure to learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. What's in it for them?
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a valet parking service in a location that is not competitive to you may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Do you know how to find a valet parking service manager outside of your area who is willing to talk?
Here's how we would do it. Try the useful link below and key in a random city/state or zipcode.
Top Three Reasons to Buy an Established Valet Parking Service
For years, street-smart entrepreneurs have known that whenever possible, it's more advantageous to buy an existing valet parking service than it is to start one from scratch.
You'll want to conduct a comprehensive due diligence process, but here are three arguments why you should think about buying instead of a startup.
- Initial Revenue. If you're careful in your research, the valet parking service you buy will have a track record of profitability – a big plus since it may take months or even years for a startup to turn a profit.
- Operational Efficiency. When you're shopping for a valet parking service, be sure to look for ones that have all of the necessary processes and systems to ensure seamless operations from your first day of ownership.
- Capital Acquisition. Lenders, investors and other funding sources almost always prefer business purchases to startups.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
Your odds of growing your business immediately improve if you become a franchisee and leverage their successful brand and track record.
Before you get too far along in your plan to open a valet parking service, you would be wise to investigate whether purchasing a franchise might simplify your entering the business.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you currently own a valet parking service, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to valet parking services, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. Try these resources instead:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.