Imagine a car owner’s dismay. They open the door of their prized vehicle only to be struck with a devastating sight — an interior covered with mold and mildew and a wretched smell to match.
Unfortunately, in hot and humid climates this scenario is all too common, and often leads to a total loss for the car owner. This is unless there is someone with the specialized skills and training to rescue the vehicle and restore its interior to its former glory. Avi Cohen of Royal Car Care Miami is one of those magic men.
The career detailer has owned and operated Royal Car Care for more than a decade and has amassed a unique skill set tailored to the challenges of operating in South Florida.
“The elements are so harsh here,” Cohen says. “For most of our clients, Miami is a second home. They usually leave in the summer and come back in the winter and leave their vehicles here. It is so hot and humid that if the car is not stored properly it can get full of mold, bacteria, and water damage. It is a very unique situation that most detailers or car washes are not going to touch. When the damage is extensive drivers end up going through their insurance company, and many times the insurance company totals their car.”
Cohen has been around detailing and car washing for his entire life. When he was a teenager in his native Israel he was intrigued with everything automotive, including detailing. He immigrated to the U.S. nearly 20 years ago and began working in the car wash industry in Pennsylvania, managing car washes, dealerships, and detailing centers while committing himself to his detailing education. While stationed in the Northeast he trained with some of the most well-known detail instructors in the nation, amassing a powerful skill set that would serve him well when he moved to Florida in 2008 and opened Royal Car Care.
The entrepreneur had saved a small fortune during his time in the Northeast and invested heavily in his new South Florida venture. He put more and $100,000 into his new detail business, purchasing the products, tools, equipment, training, and advertising to hit the ground running and attract the high-end clientele he desired. His plan worked and within a few months his mobile detailing business had a roster of high-end customers.
“I started out as a mobile detailer,” he says. “But once you get to a certain level that’s it. You can’t separate yourself into two people.
I was looking to become bigger. That is when I started my high-rise services. I got a few strong accounts in high-end buildings, got workers and managers, and really started to expand.”
Currently, Royal Car Care has arrangements with five high-end, high-rise buildings in Miami, where it has a fixed detailing center set up in the building’s parking garage, catering to its residents, guests, and employees. In addition, the detailer has relationships with a handful of other high rises, where it is welcome onsite to cater to the automotive needs of the residents but does not have a permanent setup on premises. The business is more than just car washing and detailing, Cohen describes it as an automotive conciergeservice that handles everything for its clients including taking the vehicle for repairs, running the engine when the client is out of town, and even arranging for shipping the automobile when customers go back north in the summer.
Cohen’s high-rise business operates similarly to a franchise model. He has four highly-trained managers that run the facilities and earn a percentage of the profits based on how long they have worked for Royal. Cohen’s most senior managers can earn as much as 65 percent of sales.
|Royal Car Care uses a mix of foggers, ozone, steam cleaners,
and chemicals to restore interiors to their former glory.
While his detailing business was booming, Cohen continued to train with some of the best detail minds in the industry, building his skill set with an eye toward the next chapter of his detailing life. As he grew his high-end client base he built a reputation as the go-to detailer for extremely soiled and bacteria ridden interiors.
He uses a mix of specialized foggers, steamers, ozone machines, and chemicals to resurrect these devastated interiors from the dead. His unique skill set and ability to completely deconstruct an interior down to the bare metal, when needed, and rebuild it to like-new condition sets him apart from the workaday detailer.
Cohen’s reputation as an interior miracle worker has made Royal Car Car the premier business for both mold and mildew ridden cars, as well as vehicles with lingering odor problems caused by food, pets, children, etc. Currently, around 30 percent of his business is dedicated to interior sanitizing, but he expects that percentage to skyrocket to 90 percent once his newest venture launches in a few months.
Cohen is developing a second interior sanitizing business, AutoSanitizing.com, which will cater to all things interior. The new business will be geared toward insurance companies, with the goal of becoming a national vendor for the biggest players in the industry. Insurance companies love Cohen and his interior restoration capabilities because they help prevent a heavily damaged vehicle from become a totaled vehicle, saving the insurance providers a major payout, while simultaneously becoming the car owner’s new hero.
“I found a niche to start something new,” he says. “The idea really hit me a few years ago when I worked on a Maserati that had the worst interior I had ever seen that was still fixable. Like many people here, the owner did not insure the car when he travelled. He was gone almost a year and left the Maserati closed up in a dark humid building with no air. You can only imagine what the car looked like. We were able to save it with our products, tools, and equipment. From there the idea of AutoSanitizing.com only grew.”
AutoSanitizing will be a network of highly-skilled detailers, certified by Cohen, that operate around the country. Similar to his Royal Car Care business model, each operator will earn a percentage of the revenue with the rest going to AutoSanitizing.
In addition to the interior detailing services, the new business will also sell all of the necessary products and equipment to clean and sanitize an extremely soiled automotive interior.
“We are going to bring new products to the industry,” Cohen says. “We are working with an Italian factory on a new UV vapor steamer, made specifically for sanitizing the inside of cars. We are also developing an ozone machine and sanitizing wipes. We will have the products and tools for anyone that wants to do car sanitizing. The site will also feature plenty of information on auto sanitation with a series of blogs and articles.”
Avi Cohen has dedicated his life to the detailing industry, and thanks to his commitment to ongoing education has developed unique skills that set him apart from the crowd. He has leveraged his interior sanitation prowess into a thriving detail business, and is poised to take that business to the next level.
Name: Royal Car Care Miami
Owner: Avi Cohen
Location: Miami, Florida
Year Founded: 2008
Locations: 5 Fixed, Plus Mobile Service
Specialty: Interior Sanitation
Skills Certifications: 40-Plus