How to start a small car valet business

Updated April 17, 2017

A car valet business securely parks cars for guests at events. It may also include add-on services, such as interior and exterior cleaning. The initial resources needed to start a car valet parking business may be as simple as a driving licence and proper vehicle insurance. This business can be marketed directly to charity groups, professional associations, event and wedding planners, and trade show organisers. Convention centres and hotels are great sources for securing business.

Register the car valet business with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. You may also need certain types of insurance, such as third-party and liability insurance and, in some cases, a specialised licence for professional drivers.

Know the competition and their demographics. This provides a heads-up on under served areas of the local market. Don't be afraid to contact a local car valet company owner. Depending on your approach and his disposition, he may be willing to offer some valuable advice.

Buy a car valet service franchise. This will provide immediate business resources and support, as well as marketing and advertising advantages. But be cautious. It is best to take legal advice before entering into a car valet service franchise agreement to ensure that you understand all the potential risks under the contract.

Set up an independent business by securing professional uniforms, road signs, valet tickets, business cards, and brochures. The reputation of the car valet service business will be derived from a client's perception of the level of professionalism of the business. This will determine if a new client will become a repeat client, and whether future referrals will be made.

Get a reliable computer set-up to organise the business and employee contacts, process correspondence and marketing material, and maintain the business calendar. Internet access will also be important as a professional website presence and email are essential for most businesses operating in the marketplace today.

Be prepared to handle all forms of payments. This will depend on whether an assignment is a private or public project. In addition to cash, consider investing in mobile debit and credit card machines.

Create a letter of agreement or contract between the valet parking service company and the business to be served that outlines the terms of the agreement. Have a solicitor create a standard agreement form for the business that can be customised for each client.

Hire drivers who are reliable and have a proper driving licence. Keep a database list of trustworthy valets. Provide valets with training on proper procedure and communication with customers. Also, conduct routine background checks to ensure that the driving licence is not suspended or that there are not other criminal convictions -- such as drunk driving or theft -- that would increase potential business liability.

Join local business associations. Online forums are also great ways to network and obtain advice from other valet parking entrepreneurs.


Get the business entered on as many valet parking listing services as possible.


When in doubt, consult a solicitor for legal advice before starting the business.

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About the Author

Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications such as the "Chicago Tribune" and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.