The Risks of Offering Valet Parking
Valet parking offers a lucrative edge to your business, and depending on your location, it could provide an added benefit compared to other businesses or restaurants in your area. However offering valet parking does have its risks to you and your business.
When offering valet parking, there are two choices; you could either employ the staff yourself or contract a valet company. Using a valet company can defer some of the liability associated with valet parking; however, hiring your own employee will give you more direct control over the operations.
Good Hiring Practices Reduce Risk:
Valets are both the first and last point of contact. This pivotal contact is crucial if you want return business. In order to select the right valet staff, it’s imperative to look into the applicant’s history to minimize future risks. Here are some examples of reports you may want to obtain prior to their employment:
- Driving Record Check – tickets, suspended licenses, and other traffic violations
- Criminal Background Check – not hiring those with a history of theft can help you avoid customer relation problems in the future if things start disappearing from vehicles
- Drug Screen – Some insurance policies will not pay out for damage if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Probation period – new hires should do a few days or weeks of ride alongs with more experienced employees in order to ensure good driving habits and moral standing
When contracting with a valet company, you won’t get a direct say in who they hire to work at your property. If a valet service will not disclose their hiring practices, stay away from that company. It is important that you make sure the company you contract upholds the same values that you do for your employees. Even if the service is liable for damages, their employees still are representing your company. Insurance cannot cover an unhappy customer and a tarnished reputation.
Valets work in a fast paced environment and are constantly on the go. It’s only a matter of time before an accident occurs. Whether your company uses a contracted valet company or you have in-house employees, it’s important to have the proper insurance.
In-house valets require appropriate insurance coverages to avoid being stuck with a bill for damages. It is imperative that you get coverage specifically related to employees driving customer’s vehicles. Here are some important coverages you may want to consider:
- Garage Keepers Liability – this protects you in case a customer’s vehicle is damaged or stolen while in your company’s possession
- General Liability – covers bodily injury or property damage that occurs on your premises or results from the actions of your employees
- Employee Dishonesty Coverage – covers customer loss caused by fraudulent employee activities
Benefits of Contracting Service:
A benefit of using a valet company is that they would absorb liability and keep you from having to pay damages. Prior to hiring a valet company, ask for proof of insurance and review it to make sure they have the appropriate coverages. To be on the safe side, call their insurer directly to make sure they are accurately representing their coverage.