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How to Become a Car Valet

If pay close attention to detail and can work methodically, both on your own and as part of a team, and you have a real passion for cars, then a career as a car valet may be right for you. As a car valet, you will be responsible for cleaning vehicles on both the inside and outside. This is more than just washing cars, and the job often involves carefully following manufacturers’ instructions to achieve optimal results.

What Does a Car Valet Do?

A car valet thoroughly cleans vehicles on the inside and outside. As a car valet, you will be using various cleaning machines and substances to:

  • Wash the vehicle exterior with a high-pressure hose
  • Polish and wax the vehicle exterior
  • Apply gels and finishes to bumpers and trims
  • Clean the windows, mirrors, handles and wheels
  • Steam clean the engine, wheel arches, and frame
  • Clean the interior, including vacuuming and shampooing any upholstery and carpets

Depending on where you work, you may also be asked to pick up and deliver vehicles. You may also need to deal with customers.

Entry Requirements and Qualifications

You don’t need any formal qualifications to become a car valet, but experience in the motor industry, industrial cleaning or dry cleaning can be beneficial. A full driving license will usually be a requirement.

In terms of personal qualities, prospective employers will be looking for the following:

-attention to detail

-good customer service skills

-a methodical approach

-ability to understand manufacturers’ instructions

-able to work both independently and as part of a small team

Hours and Income

You can work on a full- or part-time basis, with overtime being available sometimes. Working in shifts, including the weekend, will often be required. Depending on the firm you work for, you may be working inside or outside, such as at a garage or dealership. If you work as a mobile valet, you will generally travel from place to place for each job.

Car valets typically earn basic salaries between £12,000 and £15,000 per year, but this can be considerably increased through payments for overtime and unsociable hours. There is also the opportunity for self-employment once you have gained enough experience, and this may provide a better income depending on your business success, especially if you manage to grow your business.

Opportunities and Career Growth

Once in a starting position, you will be provided training while you work, although you may also be sent on day courses. If you want to work as a mobile valet, you will usually accompany an experienced valet for three to six months before working on your own. Those working in a garage may also want to work toward an NVQ Level 2 in Vehicle Maintenance and Repair, specifically the vehicle valeting option, or an NVQ Level 2 in Cleaning and Support Services, which has an optional Passenger Transport unit.

In terms of career progression, you may in time be promoted to a supervisor or even an area manager if you work within a larger organization. You may also opt to become self-employed later on, and then you can seek contracts with commercial customers, such as garages and dealerships, and/or provide services to private customers.


National Careers Service


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