On-demand valets are getting a lot of buzz as new apps are created and existing ones service more cities. We want to make sure you are asking the right questions before partnering with one of these companies.
The apps present an alternative to urban parking. Services such as Luxe, Zirx, and Valet Anywhere let drivers request a valet to wherever they are with a tap on their smartphone. A valet will then park the car at a nearby facility, and drivers tap another button to have their car returned.
The apps remove any interaction between drivers and operators, bypassing the whole “parking” experience. In fact, the idea that “parking sucks” is central to many of the companies’ advertising strategies.
The benefits of on-demand valets are clear for customers, but how do they work for operators? It’s simple–you sell some of your inventory to the valets, and they park their customers’ cars there.
Seems straightforward. However, we want to ask the important questions to be sure you consider all outcomes before allowing on-demand valet services to park cars at your facilities.
4 Hidden Liabilities of On-Demand Valets
Inviting a third party valet to operate in your facility opens the door to liability for operators. Traditionally, the operator that provides valet parking is responsible for damage to a customer’s car, or items stolen from the vehicle.
When the valet isn’t an employee of your garage, the line becomes blurred. Consider the following situations:
1. Who is responsible for damage to a customer’s car?
If a car brought in by an on-demand valet is damaged in your facility, who is responsible: you, or the valet? What if the vehicle is damaged on the street just outside? You should know whether you are protected from this type of liability.
2. What happens if the valet damages another car in your facility?
If the on-demand valet is parking a car and damages another car in your facility, who is responsible? The valet customer’s vehicle isn’t the only potential liability you must consider.
3. Who is responsible if items are stolen from a customer’s car?
If something is stolen from a customer’s car, which staff was it taken by? Who is responsible for the theft? While these scenarios are not everyday occurrences, you must account for the potential risk.
4. Could on-demand valets violate union contracts?
Another aspect to consider is union vs. non-union valets. For example: if a non-union on-demand valet hands the keys off to a union valet, does that violate a union contract and create potential liability for you?
On-demand valet companies can provide extra revenue, but you should evaluate these liability concerns before making a partnership decision.
Weigh Your Options Before Committing to an On-Demand Valet Partnership
As the facility operator, you must ultimately make decisions that are best for your business. The last thing you want to worry about is having to pay thousands of dollars for damage that your employees didn’t even cause.
Before you decide to sell inventory to an on-demand valet app, it’s important to understand your liability if something goes wrong. Take some time to do your research and read up on each company’s insurance policy before making a commitment.