Is Free Valet Parking Really Without Any Costs?

I went to the Greek Island restaurant last month in Chicago and noticed a long line at the valet service in front of the restaurant. Being someone who is impatient and does not like to wait in line, I decided to park myself. I was not terribly familiar with Greektown although it was daylight and the neighborhood appears to be quite secure so I figured I could find something soon. Besides, I was not driving a large vehicle and wasn’t in the mood to wait 5 to 10 minutes and hand over my car.

I didn’t know it was a free service but regardless, I’d park it again – especially if I felt I could figure things out and eventually find a secure resting place for my vehicle. From my perspective, it’s not a price concern but a value issue. Besides, I can always use the exercise and if the weather cooperates and it’s daylight, it’s a simple decision for me.

Just because the service is without costs doesn’t mean you don’t have to tip the young man who retrieves your car. I suspect they rely on tips to earn a reasonable wage. Just because the service is without costs doesn’t mean you won’t have to wait 5-10 minutes for your car to be retrieved.

I’m not against free or valet parking that comes with a cost. In certain situations, it’s the only play to make. If the weather is uncooperative or you’re dressed up, I’d probably opt for choosing valet and not parking myself.

This approach works for me although it may not work for others. If you’re physically able to park on your own, you might prefer to bypass the valet and take control. Others, who knows how long you’ll have to wait for your car to be retrieved? If it’s a special event or an elderly couple using the service, most would concur this service will incur a nominal cost.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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