Valet - Roles and Responsibilities

Traditionally the male servant who serves his employer as a personal attendant was known as Valet or Varlet in Singapore, since ancient times. Normally taking care of personal belongings and clothes along with making some other arrangements of minor nature for his employer were among the responsibilities of the person working in this role. But today this term is also used for various other types of services.


History of origin of the word -valet

Before discussing more about the roles and responsibilities of valet you must have brief information about the origin of this word. As per records this word was in use in English for personal male servant since 1567. But it was used supposed to be in use since 1456 in the medieval court in the French speaking English in various forms. Earlier French people used valet for young squire man or man’s servant from where it was changed to vassus or vassallus, for some time in Medieval Latin era. It was like the word was so used for squire, young man, youth or servant. In French it was used as valet de chamber or valet of the chamber which in modern terms means the servant in the bedroom. Traditionally it was pronounced in English rhyming with pallet since 16th century whereas in French it rhymed with chalet but as per Oxford English dictionary both of these pronunciations are correct.

Different roles performed by valet today

Parking valet:

From 1960s the person that helps the guests in parking their vehicles was known as parking valet.

Hotel valet:

An employee of the hotel who provides personal services to its guests is known as hotel valet

Wrestler’s valet:

The person who accompanies professional wrestler up to the wrestling ring is known as wrestler valet.

Car valet:

An employee who professionally cleans the cars and is paid for this service is known as car valet.

Jockey's valet:

The person who maintains the wardrobe of the jockey and takes care that jockey has worn proper uniform for each horse race he participates in is known as jockey’s valet.

Domestic valet:

It is one of the roles performed by a valet as he is known as a male servant for a gentleman like a maid for ladies.

Valet Service

Responsibilities of valet

The responsibilities of this personal servant included the maintenance of the clothes of the employer, shaving his employer and running the bath of his employer. Earlier the masters of big houses used to have their personal male servants whereas in the grandest houses all the adult members used to one each. The princes and higher officials of their courts were also allowed to have their own valets. But in smaller houses the household butler used to perform double responsibility including valet’s for his employer. Minor housekeeping services were also in the list of the responsibilities of a valet in bachelor’s household.

Other responsibilities of a valet

Guarantee to always perform and display the vision, goals and values of corporate culture
Guarantee to follow the procedures of parking and retrieving the vehicles of the guests respectfully and carefully
Consistent provision of 4 or 5 star services as per the guidelines of AAA category
Responsibility to prepare, fill and complete the legally proper valet tickets for all the vehicles of the guests
Manage the areas of valet parking where vehicles are parked by their owners
Assurance to keep the garages and valet lots clean and maintained
Service of the vehicles of the guests along with removal of trashes and cleaning their windows etc
Inform about the need of maintenance within the garages and valet lots, if any
Maintenance of the equipment of the valet including battery packs, air tans as well as coolers and umbrellas.
Assure the exclusive service of the guest’s vehicle as required
Informing and suggesting the management about getting support for quality operations
Always comply with all the procedures and policies of GPI
Providing prompt and courteous support to the customers while checking in or checking out of the valet
Guarantee to clear the drop-off area of the cars quickly as soon as they are parked
Guarantee to provide high class services to satisfy the clients

Valet Service

Training of valets

The valets have to learn skills according to their roles in various manners. Some had to start learning relevant skills, being the part of their job, as footman. In this position a valet has to serve the guests of his employer, if their valets do not accompany them, as well as his sons also, until they grow up to have their own valet. Some others used to start learning skills of their job as male servants to the army officers or naval officers as soldiers or stewards.

Conventionally the responsibilities of a valet included much more than taking care of personal items of the master including his clothes. He has to take care of the bills and travelling arrangements along with handling all the money related matters of their masters as well as their household.

Earlier many valets were very powerful personalities like Alexandre Bontemps who was the most senior of the thirty-six valets owned by Louis XIV of France. Some of the poets, musicians and artists were also designated as valet de chamber for their performance for long time in their respective genres during the renaissance and late Middle ages. They were used to be trained in the court of a nobleman for a long period of time. Today valets rarely perform the duties of most perfect domestic staff and butlers but infrequently they commonly perform combined roles as a general servant.

In this way, serving his employer or his guests is among his main responsibilities of a valet in any of the roles discussed above. Though this term is used for the status of personal male servant in Singapore since many centuries but still they are known as the performers of various types of duties for their employers or masters. In fact the status of the masters has been changed during these centuries as earlier they used to be kings, princes and their high officials but today a common man can have a valet. But the responsibilities of the valet are still the same as earlier.

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