A parking attendant is in charge of parking and retrieving cars and supervising car lots. Any business or commercial complex that has parking facilities may have a parking attendant to manage this important resource. In addition to a valid driver's license and insurance, a parking attendant usually needs to possess excellent customer service and organizational skills.
The duties of a parking lot attendant will often depend on the size and services offered by the lot. In a small self-parking lot, attendants may be required to simply keep an eye on parked cars to prevent vandalism or theft, and collect fees from motorists. In timed lots, attendants may need to make periodic rounds to check for expired meters or permits. Attendants may also be required to keep a record of how many cars enter and exit the lot each day.
Many parking garages and lots offer valet service. This means that, for a fee, an attendant will park and retrieve the car for a customer. This position requires a great deal of trust in attendants, as any damage or misuse of vehicles can result in lawsuits and a poor reputation for the business. Valet attendants must be able to drive legally and carefully, to minimize the risk of damage.
Some lots offer additional services for a fee, such as cleaning the exterior of the car or even providing gas. Parking attendants will usually perform these services while the customer attends to his or her business. Proper car washing techniques should be used, as streaks and scratched paint are likely to bring complaints and possibly demands for worker termination. If an attendant job requires car washing, ask for a tutorial on proper techniques before beginning the job.
Organizational skills are very important in some parking attendant jobs, particularly those dealing with large structures or lots. Cars in big lots, such as stadium or amusement parking areas, need to be parked efficiently and carefully monitored. Large structures may have whole fleets of attendants that direct traffic and indicate where each car should park for maximum efficiency. Understanding how best to fill a lot may be an important part of the job.
In some jobs, a parking attendant may deal mostly with monetary transactions for parking. This may include using a cash register and credit card machine, checking validation for discounted parking, and issuing fees for extended use of the facilities. Safety is an important consideration in this position, as parking lot kiosks generally offer low security and can be seen as easy robbery targets. Ask potential employers for a briefing on security systems, safety procedure, and local crime rates that may affect safety. Employers who are reticent to supply this information may be concealing past robberies and may be willing to put an employee's life at stake instead of providing adequate safety training.