March 3, 2024
Learn how to tip valet properly and show appreciation for their service. Discover the standard tipping percentage rule, and the different factors to consider when tipping valets such as the location of the valet's service, level of service provided, good timing, cultural differences, and different modes of appreciation.

The Ultimate Guide: How Much Should You Tip Valet?

When it comes to valet parking services, one of the most common questions is, “how much should I tip the valet?” It can be challenging to determine the right amount, especially if you’re unsure about the etiquette behind tipping valets. However, tipping valets is an essential part of expressing gratitude for their valuable service. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips and guidelines that can help you feel more confident about your tipping practices.

The Standard Percentage Rule

The average percentage recommended for tipping valets is between 10-20% of the total cost of the service provided. For instance, if you spent a total of $100 for the valet service, tipping between $10 to $20 would be appropriate.

It’s also important to understand that this percentage can vary based on different factors such as location, level of service provided, and cultural differences, which we will explore in more detail.

Consider The Location of The Valet Service

The location of the valet service can also play a role in how much you should tip. If you live in a metropolitan city where parking is scarce, and valet services are the norm, a 20% tip would be appropriate. However, if you live in a suburb or a rural area where valet services are rare, tipping between 10-15% would be acceptable.

Also, consider the type of venue where the valet operates. For example, if the parking is free of charge, consider tipping more to compensate for the complimentary service. If the valet is located in a high-end establishment, such as a fancy hotel or a luxurious restaurant, tipping on the higher end of the standard percentage rule would be apt.

Consider The Level of Service Provided

The level of service provided might impact how much you should tip the valet. If the valet went above and beyond in their service, it’s appropriate to tip them more than the standard percentage rule. Conversely, if the valet did the minimum required, tipping less than the standard percentage rule would suffice.

For instance, if the valet promptly provides your car upon request, takes extra care with your vehicle, and delivers exceptional customer service, it’s highly recommended to tip them more generously. On the other hand, if the valet provided average service, tipped accordingly.

The Importance of Good Timing

Timing is essential when it comes to tipping valets. Generally, it’s customary to tip the valet after the service has been provided when they’re returning your vehicle. It’s also advisable to tip when you receive the car back in good condition and check that everything is in order before handing over the tip.

However, there’s no harm in tipping in advance, such as handing some cash to the valet when you first exit your vehicle. This gesture implies that you appreciate the care and attention given to your vehicle and is an excellent way to express gratitude to the valet.

The Importance of Cash

While tipping with a credit card is possible, cash is the most practical option when it comes to tipping valets. Some valets are not allowed to receive credit card tips or may face difficulties accessing the tips. Therefore, they prefer cash tips over credit card tips.

Moreover, handing a cash tip to the valet is a personal and more direct way of showing appreciation. It’s also beneficial to have cash readily available in your pocket or wallet to make the process of tipping easier for you and the valet.

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences can also influence how much you should tip the valet. In some cultures, tipping is not commonplace and is considered an insult to the server or service provider. On the other hand, in some cultures, tipping is mandatory, and going above and beyond is seen as a show of generosity.

For instance, in the United States of America, tipping between 10-20% is standard across all industries, including valet services. In contrast, in Japan, tipping may be considered inappropriate and may be approached as a polite refusal of the tip.

Other Ways to Show Appreciation

If your budget is tight, or you’re unable to tip the valet, there are other ways to show appreciation. For example, leaving positive feedback or reviews for the valet’s service to the management is an excellent way to show appreciation. This feedback will encourage them to continue providing excellent service to other customers.

Additionally, saying a genuine thank you to the valet for their hard work and excellent service can go a long way. A warm smile, handshake, or even a fist bump will make a lasting impression on the valet.


Tipping valets can be a daunting task for many people, but it’s an essential part of expressing gratitude for their hard work and exceptional service. As discussed in this article, there are various factors to consider when it comes to tipping valets, such as standard percentage rules, the location of the valet, the level of service provided, the importance of good timing, cultural differences, and different modes of appreciation.

We hope that this guide has given you the confidence and knowledge to tip valets appropriately and show your appreciation for their valuable service.

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