With the holidays upon us, the topic of tipping in New York City is back in the news. Everyone has their own customs and opinions when it comes to this often sensitive topic, but since parking is our business, we thought it might be useful to ponder the question: Should parking attendants be tipped, and if so, when and how much?
The answer is: It is completely up to you, the driver/parker. As in any service situation, you may choose to reward good service during holidays or throughout the year by tipping the person who parks or retrieves your car for you. It is always appreciated by the people who work in garages and parking lots. But it is never required.
However, the majority of people do tip (using that practiced sleight-of-hand) when a valet retrieves their car from a lot or garage. Some customers also tip when they drop off their cars because they believe the valet will take particular care when parking their vehicles. Again, at ParkFast locations, all vehicles are given the highest standard of care regardless.
As for how much to tip, most people will give anywhere from one to five dollars each time they park. Some people who exercise monthly parking at the same garage in NYC give a larger amount during the holiday season. $50 to $75 cash, for instance, is a great way to reward your attendant for providing an important service that makes your life easier. But if that’s not in your budget, you may consider a platter of baked goods or an inexpensive gift card to a nearby restaurant or coffee shop. (And a simple “Thank you” is always welcome, too.)
By the way: When visiting a foreign country, you’ll want to research the local tipping customs in advance. (Country-specific travel guides often have this information readily available.) For example, tipping is not customary in some Asian countries and many European countries, and in some places, tipping is viewed as an insulting gesture. In many countries where tipping was once thought rude, however, it is now expected exactly for things like free valet parking or in high-end hotels. Knowing appropriate tipping practices ahead of time can save you the embarrassment and anxiety about whether you should or shouldn’t. It will also make sure that the workers are properly compensated.
At the end of the day, tips are a nice way to express gratitude or appreciation around the holidays or any time of year. And they usually make both the giver and the receiver feel good.