Do you want to start a valet parking service business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a valet parking business with NO money and no experience plus a sample valet parking business plan template. As long as people still drive cars and other vehicles, valet parking services will continue to be in demand. Valet parking business is indeed a profitable business because there are public facilities in the United States of America and Canada where it is difficult to find parking spaces except with the aid of a valet.
Basically, valet parking is a parking service offered in public and private business facilities such as airports, stadiums, shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, stores, and other business facilities. In divergence to ‘self-parking’ where customers find a parking space on their own, customers’ cars are parked for them by a person called a valet.
If you are looking for a business to start as an entrepreneur and you know you have an interest in the services industry, then you should consider starting your own valet parking services business. If you are considering starting a valet parking services company, then you would be required to get the needed licenses from the organization regulating the industry in your country before you are permitted to start your own valet parking services company.
It is important to note that the valet parking services business is one business that can’t go out of fashion because of the role it plays in the auto industry. Depending on the scale you want to start, the startup capital for this type of business can be considered as moderate. As a matter of fact, you can start your own valet parking services business with a handful of employees and then grow it big within a short period of time by reinvesting your profits back to the business.
So, if you want to start your own valet parking services business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped. You can start your valet parking services business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand.
18 Steps to Starting a Valet Parking Services Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The valet parking services business falls under the Parking Lots and Garages industry and the industry is comprised of operators that provide parking and valet service on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. The Parking Lots and Garages industry mainly operates via management contracts, lease agreements or property ownership. Companies that are engaged in the storage of vehicles for an extended period of time are not part of the Parking Lots and Garages industry.
If you are a close watcher of the Parking Lots and Garages industry, you will notice that the industry has followed a similar narrative to that of the US economy. Apart from a small blip in 2012, overall increase in parking rates over the five years to 2016 and improvements in employment figures contributed to the industry’s turnaround.
Going forward, employment, domestic trips and vehicle registrations will rise, increasing the need for parking services at airports, entertainment venues and central business districts. However, the industry faces saturation as more operators compete for slow-growing revenue. The Parking Lots and Garages Industry is indeed a growing industry and pretty much active in all countries of the world including Canada and the united states of America.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 20,709 registered and licensed large and small scale Parking Lots and Garages (valet parking services companies inclusive) scattered all across the United States responsible for directly employing about 159,428 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $10 billion annually. The industry is projected to grow at a 4.1 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that ABM Industries, SP Plus and Vinci have the lion share of the available market in the industry.
A recent report released by IBIS World shows that the Parking Lots and Garages industry is in the mature phase of its life cycle. The report revealed that the industry value added (IVA) which measures the industry’s contribution to the economy, is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent from 2011 to 2021. In comparison, GDP is expected to grow at 2.0 percent per year on average over the 10-year period.
The report further stated that while IVA growth will outpace GDP growth slightly over the period, the number of companies in the industry is expected to increase at the low annualized rate of 2.2 percent over this period. During this time, merger and acquisition activity is expected to remain high, which is a key indicator of a mature industry. All three major players have grown their operations considerably through acquisitions over the five years to 2016.
The valet parking services business will continue to blossom because it is becoming a lifestyle in the United States for car owners to make use of valet parking services when they visit some public facilities and business facilities.
People are encouraged and motivated to venture into the valet parking services business because the business is easy to set up and it is indeed a thriving and profitable business venture that an entrepreneur with little business skill and training can comfortably start.
Lastly, starting a valet parking services business in the United States requires that you get the necessary permit and license to be able to operate in any city of your choice, and you are expected to go into business agreement with owners of business facilities and managers of public facilities.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize valet parking services cut across all genders; male and female above 18 years with the financial means and who own automobiles hence the demographic composition for a valet parking services business is all encompassing. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those who own automobiles.
So, if you are thinking of launching your own valet parking services company, then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include all automobile owners in and outside the neighborhood where your valet parking services company will be located.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the valet parking services business, valet parking services is a niche area in the parking lots and garages industry. Every player in this line of business directly engages in offering parking service for car owners in public and business facilities such as airports, stadiums, shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, stores, et al particularly in North America.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competition that exists in the valet parking services business goes beyond competition with valet parking services companies; you will be expected to compete with facilities that also offer valet parking services. So, it will be right to say the competition in the valet parking services line of business is tough.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your valets are well – trained, your services are affordable, your customer care services are top notch and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several valet parking services companies scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own valet parking services company in the United States, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst auto valet parking services companies who are looking towards managing the parking services in both private and public facilities within your location.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than the others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading valet parking services companies/parking lots and garages operator companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- ABM Industries
- SP Plus
- USA Parking System Inc.
- 1417 Stout Parking Lot Services
- Vally Park USA Corporation
- Park Go Fly USA
- Auto Storage USA
- Luxe Valet
- Valet-It Parking Services
- W Hotel – Hollywood Valet Parking Services
- United Valet Parking, Inc.
- Westpark Express Valet
- 60 East Randolph Street Garage
- Mandalay Bay Parking Garage
- 717 Parking Enterprises
- SPS State Parking Services
- Canopy Airport Parking
- Hilgard Garage Westwood
- Sunset Parking Services LLC
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Valet parking services business is no longer a Green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several valet parking services companies when you drive through town or search both online and offline directories. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to secure business license, build software apps and also the cost to successfully run the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a valet parking services company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost required to secure business license, building software apps and also the running cost, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base (owners of private facilities and managers of public facilities), you are sure going to maximize profit in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting a valet parking services company, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a valet parking services company to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides starting a valet parking services company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other related small – scale businesses that usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a valet parking Services Company, you should just try as much as possible to hire professional drivers and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal to market your valet parking services company.
Please note that most of the big and successful valet parking services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own valet parking services company today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established valet parking services companies within your business location who are also jostling for partnership to manage parking for both public and private facilities. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, businesses such as valet parking services companies and the likes usually struggle to get their customers to pay valets because they would prefer to source for parking spaces themselves. So also, unfavorable government policies can hamper the growth of your valet parking services company. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
You have the option of choosing a general partnership or limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC for a valet parking services business. Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale valet parking Services Company especially if you are just starting out with moderate capital in a small neighborhood.
But if your intention is to grow the business and go into partnership with loads of private and public facilities in major cities all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then a Limited Liability Company, LLC is what you need.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your valet parking services company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities available for your valet parking services company with the ability to sell franchise and partner with owners of private properties and managers of public facilities all across major cities in the United States of America, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own valet parking services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Park Field® Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
- Safe Hands® Valet Parking Services Company, LLC
- One More Lot™ Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
- Green Space® Valet Parking Services Company, LLC
- Anthony Barnes® Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
- Tennessee Parkers® Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
- Thomas Yale™ Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
- Gab Hunters® Valet Parking Services Company, LLC
- Moses Gibbs and Family® Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
- Gold Links® Valet Parking Services Company, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your valet parking services company.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own valet parking services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own valet parking services business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from safety and affordability of your valet parking services company, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some valet parking services companies stand out. If you want to make an impact in the valet parking line of business, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization. You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own valet parking bus services company;
- Bus Driver Certification (Bus Certification Training – ESC-20)
- IMG Certification (International Motor Group Certification)
- Commercial Driver’s License
Please note that you can successfully start a valet parking services business in the United States of America without necessarily getting any form of certification as long as you can be trusted by owners of private facilities and managers of public facilities.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long arm of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own valet parking services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
- Business Plan
- Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
- Fire certificate
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a valet parking services company can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by partnering with less than a handful of private and public facilities. The amount needed to acquire the required business license, purchasing customized software apps, tags and paying your workers are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital.
But if you choose to start the business on a large scale by partnering with loads of public and private facilities all across the United States of America, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large – scale valet parking services company with loads of full – time employees.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your valet parking services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
A valet parking services business requires that you position the business within the parking lots of public and private facilities, hence it must be located in a good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that is at the epicenter of a business district if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients and maximize profits from the business.
The fact that you can operate your valet parking services company from any part of the world does not mean that location has little influence on the success of a pay valet parking services company. If you have taken your time to study valet parking services companies, you will realize that valet parking services and related businesses are willing to partner with public and private facilities in a busy business district; a place where business activities and social/entertainment activities are at its peak.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your valet parking services company is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to partner with public and private facilities in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses who own automobiles and with the required purchasing power and lifestyle.
So, if you are looking for a location for your valet parking services company, ensure that it is a place that is located in a commercial center and social hub in your city, a place that is visible and easily accessible. Of course, you would not want to locate this type of business in the outskirts of town.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
If you are considering starting a valet parking services company, then you should look towards hiring ICT experts to help you develop your own unique software application, secured internet platform and online payment system (that will facilitate easy payment of parking fee based on time spent).
These are some of the technical stuffs that you must be ready to sort out before successfully launching your valet parking services company. So also, you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard valet parking services company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk, Valets and Customer Service Executives. You may need a minimum of 10 full-time staff to start a valet parking services company.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Basically, a valet parking services company enters into partnership with managers of public and owners of private business facilities such as airports, stadiums, shopping malls, theaters, restaurants, stores, and other business facilities to help them manage their car park.
Once the deal is sealed, the valet parking services company deploys their equipment and valets to the car park, and they work in collaboration with the security personnel in the company. Once a car comes in, they capture the time of entry, agree with the owner of the car, and then take over the steering and park the car for their clients. When the owner of the car is about leaving, the valet drives the car to the gate, gets the time of checking out from the cashier at the gate and the owner of the car makes payment, gets his/her receipt and drives off.
It is important to state that a valet parking services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated valet parking services company business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a valet parking services company, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands determining the market direction for the parking lot and garages industry.
Auto owners will hire your services if they know that their car is safe under your care and your prices are affordable.
Your marketing strategy should center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers hire your services, they will get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet, which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort should be directed to internet users; your website should become your number one marketing tool.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your valet parking services company;
- Introduce your valet parking services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to owners of private facilities and managers of public facilities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your valet parking services company is located so as to partner with them to manage their car park
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across, so that those on the social media or those who read blogs can know who to call when they need a valet parking services company to manage their car park within your location
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your products
- Engage in road shows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your valet parking services company
- Join local valet parking services company associations for industry trends and tips
- Provide discount days for your customers
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your valet parking services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your working capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you or high interest rate.
Another strategy that will help you offer your valet parking services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost of paying sales and marketing executives.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a valet parking services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by managing car parks for private and public facilities all across the United States, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your valet parking services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and auto magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your valet parking services company
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around highways and major roads in your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your valet parking services company
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact owners of private and public facilities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your valet parking services company is located informing them about your business and the services you offer
- List your valet parking services company in local directories
- Advertise your valet parking services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your valet parking services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and vans are well branded with your company logo et al.