Parking attendant jobs always center around the topic of vehicular parking, but the exact nature of the work performed can vary. Among the types of parking attendant jobs are those of a valet, a person who directs others about where to park and a person who monitors parking areas for violators of regulations. All parking attendants should have a basic familiarity with motor vehicles, including knowing how to drive manual and automatic transmissions, parallel and reverse park and identify different makes and models on sight. Many attendants are required to wear a distinctive uniform as part of their job duties.
One type of parking attendant is the valet. Valet parking is offered at various destinations such as restaurants, hotels and clubs, and it can be free or might require a service charge. Upon arrival in his or her car, the visitor to the establishment is met by the valet, who waits at a booth, stand or other station until visitors arrive. The visitor gives the vehicle to the attendant, either by handing him or her the keys or by allowing the attendant to take his or her place at the wheel of the vehicle, and the attendant drives the car to a parking space, where it remains until the visitor is done with his or her business.
During the time the visitor is occupied in the establishment, the valet attendant will return to the station and assist other arriving visitors. When the guest wants to leave, the valet must retrieve the vehicle and return it to the guest. Valet parking attendants usually receive a gratuity for each vehicle they return to a visitor.
Other parking attendant jobs focus on larger venues, such as stadiums or event centers. These parking attendants deal with a larger volume of people and are not expected to park cars themselves, but instead are in charge of directing people to the proper area to park, collecting fees as necessary and taking steps to arrange for ticketing and towing of vehicles that commit parking infractions. Sometimes, these attendants are stationed inside a garage or in a booth within an outdoor lot, but if they are directing people to self-park, they also might perform their parking attendant duties on foot around the parking area.
Parking enforcement officials are said to be performing parking attendant jobs as well. They generally are employed by public or contracted agencies and focus on the spotting and ticketing of parking infractions. This type of parking attendant must have a thick skin, because it is common for an attendant to be in the act of ticketing a vehicle when the vehicle's owner returns. If this is the case, a stressful conflict can ensue wherein the driver wants his or her presence to indicate that he or she has committed no violation, but the official might well be required to issue a ticket anyway, resulting in angry words and threats from the driver.