What does a Lot Attendant do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A lot attendant is someone who manages the cars in a parking lot. Attendants can work at different kinds of lots, including at car dealerships and auto rental facilities, paid temporary parking in urban areas, impound lots at police stations, and so forth. Working in this job usually requires a driver's license and a clean driving record. It has no special educational requirements, although many have a high school degree.

A parking lot attendant oversees the lot and ensures it operates in an organized fashion.
A parking lot attendant oversees the lot and ensures it operates in an organized fashion.

At a location like a dealer or auto rental, the lot attendant checks in new cars when they arrive, making sure that the information on the manifest matches the vehicle. They also find parking spaces for the cars, enter them into inventory, and store the keys. When cars are needed, the attendant can take them out and get them ready, and when cars are rented and sold, he or she prepares them for the customer.

Attendants work at paid parking facilities, auto dealerships and impound lots.
Attendants work at paid parking facilities, auto dealerships and impound lots.

These attendants keep an eye on damage, keep the lot as organized as possible so that it is easy to navigate, and handle incoming cars that are being brought in for service. This requires good driving skills as well as a sense of spatial relations, because it is commonly necessary to handle cars in tight quarters, and to think ahead when it comes to organizing cars in the lot so that they will be easy to access. For example, a car that will only be on the lot for a few hours should not be stored in the back of the lot with other cars parked in front of it.

Parking lot jobs usually require a driver's license and a clean driving record.
Parking lot jobs usually require a driver's license and a clean driving record.

At a parking lot, the lot attendant issues claim tickets to drivers, points them to parking spaces or personally parks the cars, and collects parking fees. He or she is also expected to keep an eye on the the safety of the lot, although most parking lots specify that they will not be held legally liable for damages, theft, and losses. The attendant may also be responsible for locking gates after hours.

Lot attendants who work at car dealers find parking spaces for new cars, enter them into inventory, and store the keys.
Lot attendants who work at car dealers find parking spaces for new cars, enter them into inventory, and store the keys.

General lot maintenance can also be part of the job, including sweeping, picking up trash, noting when the lot needs to be repainted, and so forth. At a dealer or rental, the attendant also cleans cars or brings them to the service department for cleaning, and tries to keep as many cars ready for use or test drives as possible so that the customer service representatives have a full array of cars to work with.

Most parking lots are not legally liable for damages or theft.
Most parking lots are not legally liable for damages or theft.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I'm going to be a lot attendant. The only thing is I've never messed with a manual before. Plus, I'd rather clean and vacuum them out and park automatic ones.


What do you call a good record in the state of Maryland?


@The Graham: I really hope you are joking about the car washing. "Running around through sprinklers" and "Playing in the water" are not part of the job description and most likely would be viewed as unprofessional.

While it's admirable you want to work to earn money, rather than live off your parents, your idea of the job is terribly misconceived. Some car lot attendants do wash cars, but the process is usually limited to a quiet wash, basically with a rag and water, and sometimes a dry waxer, but usually it's auto-body techs that wax them. If you think it's like those high school car washes where the girls are rubbing up against the car, half-exposed or even how a kid washes them (splashing water, giggling, running through the sprinkler and hoses) I suggest you get a reality check.

Note: I am not trying to be cruel. I am trying to answer your question in the most constructive way possible. I apologize if you take offense to my bluntness. If you want a "fun" job, I suggest you take a position in a family oriented business that interacts with people on a personal level, or even a museum giving tours. Otherwise, you'll probably never find a job you like.

Fun is viewed differently and experienced differently by everyone, but a childish view of fun is viewed by prospective employers as unprofessional and not conducive to an efficiently run work environment unless that's the type of job (active, and interactive) that's being offered. I do wish you the best of luck in your career endeavors, however, despite my seemingly blunt response.


@Potterspop - Though your tale is a cautionary one, you just pointed out one reason I think a parking attendant job would be an easy one to get into: no need for any work experience whatsoever, just a license. So long as you know how to drive, you can probably get a potential employer to at least give you an interview.

Though there aren't any more skills necessary to list on your resume, it seems that there are a few skills necessary to actually do the job well, as you learned the hard way.

I would imagine that you would need to know not only how to drive a manual transmission vehicle, like the one you ended up in during the test drive, but also how to deal with vehicles that aren't in perfect running shape. I wonder if it's okay to adjust things on somebody else's car in this line of work, like the rear view mirrors?

Another thing to be expected is driving vehicles of many different sizes. With the number and variety of people that visit a business in even one day in a city, you could probably find yourself driving expensive sports cars, old clunkers, vans, those tiny electric cars that look more like golf carts, and more.

It all sounds like a lot of fun to me. If I didn't already have a steady job, I would get into it for sure.


@Hawthorne - Yikes... I was thinking about applying for a lot attendant job in the city I just moved to, Seattle, but after reading about your descriptions of stacked and underground parking, maybe I'd better not.

All of the walking wouldn't really be that scary, but imagine being in a big cave-like place like that at the end of the day, empty because all of the parked cars have checked out, and being in charge of locking the gates. I guess some people might be gutsy enough not to care, but that would creep me out so much.

Then again, if I was already used to hiking and driving around in the cave-like environment during the day, maybe I wouldn't mind so much. And I heard there are also parking sections on the roofs of some buildings, so it's not a guarantee that it would be underground...I would just really get the creeps if it turned out to be one of the underground parking lots.

Maybe I should go for the other kind of lot attendant job and work at a car lot. Sounds like more sun and less underground parking, and they both involve driving, parking, moving and keeping track of a bunch of cars that aren't your own, so the work style is comparable.

I wonder what the difference in wages is? I know that valet parking attendants get tips, while car sales lot parking attendants do not. I wonder if that means the hotel valets get less flat-rate wages by comparison?


@mutsy - I, too, have had pretty much only good experiences with having valets park my car. My only encounters with valet parking have been when I stay at upscale hotels like the Sheraton, though, so perhaps the luxury nature of the venue adds to the professional nature and manners of the valets.

I find that valet parking is a great advantage when I am staying in the city, because parking for big places like a fancy hotel tends to be stacked on top of itself several layers deep.

Navigating through those big parking areas not only requires a lot of walking, but it feels like you're inside a cave if it's one of the underground types of parking lot, and it creeps me out to walk through those big places alone.

Also, when I have my mother along with my on trips, valet parking in invaluable. Mom is has a physical disability that requires her to walk with crutches, and she just wouldn't be able to hoof it all the way through one of those huge underground parking places.

A lot of parking areas do have disabled parking right near the entrances, but if a lot of disabled people visit the place, they could all be full. Knowing that a valet attendant is around to help park the car is reassuring.


I was just wondering this the other day when watching people washing the cars at my local car lot, so I came here to look it up. I was just thinking "car lot attendant" -- somebody who tends parking lots didn't even occur to me, but I guess it is the same name for their job, too.

Anyway, my question is, who does the washing of cars in a car lot? Is the lot attendant at a car dealership responsible for washing the cars? If not, and they hire some part-time help to hose the cars down and wax them, is the lot attendant at all responsible for hiring and supervising these people?

If it's a part-time thing, I was toying with the idea of seeing how to get into that kind of job. It might be a nice way to make a little extra money, and in the nice summery weather going on here right now, it would be a pleasant way to get outside and play in the water.

I don't know about anybody else here, but I'm one of those people who never quite outgrew the fondness as a kid to run through sprinklers and spray people with hoses. And then when you add suds to the mix, it sounds like a lot of fun to wash cars. Besides that, if you get paid to do it, that's always a plus.

If the lot attendant is responsible for doing this job, though, I don't want to go ask about it and make a fool of myself. If they are responsible for hiring car washers, then I would know who to talk to, too. I need to know whether it's even a job available to part-time workers first -- anybody know?


When I was in college I heard about a plum weekend job opening coming up as a zoo parking lot attendant. I had just got my license but had no other relevant work experience.

At the interview I was fine with the logistics of organising and keeping records. Sadly things went downhill with the practical, test. The first car I had to park was a stick, and I had no clue how to drive it. I couldn't find reverse and found it really hard to appear competent as the gears screeched and nothing was moving.

The fact that they offered me a job in the soft drinks kiosk wasn't much of a consolation. These days I always tip the poor parking lot attendant, knowing that their job isn't as simple as it appears at first!


@Latte31 - I know that it is true that valet attendants do cause damage from time to time, but I have to say that on a rainy day I would rather have a valet attendant get me my car then having to get it myself and get wet.

Most of my valet experiences have been very positive. I always find the lot attendants so polite. Maybe it depends on the venue that you go to, but my experiences have always been great. I just wish that they did not have these valet lot stations in the mall because they take up the best parking spaces.


@Cupcake15 -I understand what you are saying but when the choice is to park my car myself in a lot and get an automated ticket or have a valet attendant park my car; I would rather park my car myself.

I have heard horror stories about the damage that is caused when the valet attendants park your car. They are not going to take the same care of your car that you would and I sort of feel like it is an invasion of privacy.

I don’t like other people touching my stuff. I always avoid valet lot attendants at all costs.


I have to say that I like when there is a car lot attendant when I park my car. I like that there is a lot attendant visible so that no one will break into my car. I have seen a lot of lots that are automated and have the customer prepay and get a slip to place in their car and while this is convenient it does not make me feel safe about leaving my car unattended.

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