Radostin Nikolov labored for a number of years as a valet in downtown Naples, the place he noticed firsthand the challenges of parking automobiles within the more and more busy Fifth Avenue South space. The Bulgarian native talked to his boss about enhancements and modifications that might be made. However the boss wasn’t .
So in 2013, Nikolov and pal and fellow valet Dimitar Bubarov went into enterprise for themselves, launching Valet Execs. “We determined to start out our personal firm and put our imaginative and prescient to work,” says Nikolov, 38.
First they needed to persuade the Fifth Avenue South Enterprise Enchancment District to present them an opportunity. A 3-days-a-week trial run from December 2013 to April 2014 has since became a multiyear, everlasting gig. “They’d different firms bidding for the account again then, however we had been the one ones that knew the realm and had been ready with an actual plan,” says Nikolov. “The opposite firms had been nationwide firms that didn’t even know in regards to the issues within the space.”
“We’re all the time one step forward. We’d reasonably be overprepared than underprepared. The worst factor that may occur to me is for somebody to return to our parking zone and we inform them we now have no house.” —Radostin Nikolov, Valet Execs
A type of ongoing issues? Discovering locations the place valets may truly park the automobiles. For years different suppliers made do with no matter they may discover, which was usually lower than perfect and generally made residents and companies within the space sad.
Nikolov and Bubarov have negotiated with property house owners of workplace buildings, banks, and different companies the place parking heaps sit empty after 5 p.m. or on weekends. They current the proposition as a win-win: The property house owners get some hire cash from Valet Execs, and Valet Execs screens the heaps to make sure they’re stored clear and protected as they use them within the evenings. The corporate presently works with 9 completely different property house owners and has greater than 500 areas it could possibly use in 13 completely different heaps.
In its first yr of enterprise, Valet Execs parked 6,000 automobiles. That was thrice what the corporate Nikolov and Bubarov had beforehand labored for would park in a yr, they usually did it working solely three days every week and at three areas.
The corporate now has six valet stations alongside Fifth Avenue South and 28 staff throughout season. From October 2021 by means of Might 2022 — season in Southwest Florida — Valet Execs parked 55,000 automobiles, a significant milestone for the enterprise. The corporate expenses prospects $7 for its valet providers and has been rising about 20% a yr. Nikolov sees extra development forward. “We hope to park 60,000 to 70,000 automobiles subsequent yr, which could be very attainable,” he says.
Conserving the enterprise working easily and efficiently requires a capability to remain on high of loads of parts. The corporate retains tabs on the Fifth Avenue scene and forges relationships with the eating places that profit from its providers. It anticipated the expansion of the west finish of the avenue and established a valet station there earlier than it acquired busy, for instance. It additionally started getting ready for a post-pandemic pickup in enterprise properly upfront.
“We’re all the time one step forward,” says Nikolov. “We’d reasonably be over-prepared than underprepared. The worst factor that may occur to me is for somebody to return to our parking zone and we inform them we now have no house.”
Valet Execs additionally has to maintain up with its allowing from the Naples Metropolis Council, offering yearly reviews and making use of for renewal each three years. And since they function in a rich space, everybody has to remain knowledgeable in regards to the newest and biggest high-end automobiles — and what it takes to drive them. It isn’t unusual for workers to park expensive rides like Bentleys and Rolls-Royces.
That additionally means hiring is a cautious course of. Not solely do staff have to have the ability to drive and park automobiles safely, additionally they have to be match sufficient to run as much as eight miles an evening. Nikolov and Bubarov practice each worker themselves and begin them off slowly till they’re absolutely up to the mark on the corporate’s procedures and customer support requirements. “Even when they don’t have expertise, in the event that they wish to be taught and are good, match guys, I do know I could make it work,” he says.
With enterprise going so properly, folks usually ask Nikolov if he’ll develop to a different market. That’s a gradual journey — by design. “I wish to have what I’ve and make it work higher and higher,” Nikolov says. “For me it’s higher to concentrate on what I’ve and make it higher than unfold it round after which nothing works properly.