Atom Detailing: Why Andrew Reynard left a well-paying job to start his business

Here's how Sheffield entrepreneur Andrew Reynard is bringing the popular American craft of car detailing to the UK with Atom Detailing.

Self-starter Andrew Reynard has always been good with cars. After years of caring for his own cars, he decided to start a car detailing business in Sheffield, a completely new concept in the market. He’s now projecting a 165 per cent growth at the end of this year, and is planning to scale further, with support from Launchpad, a business support programme delivered throughout the Sheffield City Region.

Here’s why he sold his car and left his job as a restaurant manager to make his dream of founding Atom Detailing into a reality.

What does your business do?

Atom Detailing is a high-end car detailing company based in Sheffield. The idea behind car detailing is to go beyond simple valeting to not only make a car look better than it was, but to make it look the best it’s ever been. Whether two days or two years old, no part of the car remains overlooked in the pursuit of perfection.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Keeping my own cars to a high standard was always a hobby of mine. I’d spend countless hours on a weekend cleaning and polishing. Friends and family would always comment on how immaculate it was and would ask me to do the same to theirs. This made me realise that I could generate an income from something I loved to do.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Originally hailing from America, the term ‘car detailing’ was starting to become more popular here in the UK. With a rise in popularity for mobile valeting services, I knew that there would be a demand for providing a higher level service to those who want to ensure their car will always look its best.

How did you raise funding, and why?

I spent everything I had to launch my business, using money I had saved up from my career as a restaurant manager as well as selling my car to give me extra cash. Using my own money meant I didn’t have to borrow anything from anyone else and as car detailing was already a hobby of mine, I didn’t have to spend as much on tools as I already had a collection to be proud of!

Describe your business model in brief

Atom Detailing provides a first class service, designed to not only meet the expectations of my customers but to exceed them. Having your car professionally detailed is an investment that will increase the value and saleability of your vehicle through extensive cleaning, polishing, restoration and protection.

Your lowest point was…

Walking away from my well paid job as a restaurant manager to launch Atom Detailing, only to make £200 in my first month as an entrepreneur!

Your highest point was…

The day the sign was put up at my unit and finally seeing everything set up and ready. It showed me how far I had come from being a mobile business with just a few tools, to having my own premises and the name of my business above the door.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Everyone will say you’re mad for leaving a safe job with a regular income to launch your own business! As long as you know where you want to go and can prove you have passion and drive to making your business a success, you’ll be fine. You will have setbacks, everyone does, but every failure is a learning curve. Listen to the advice of other people and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I contacted Launchpad; a programme delivered in the Sheffield City Region which provides entrepreneurs and business owners with free advice and support; and my business advisor has helped me to get where I am today.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Franchising the business and having premises across the UK.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be…

Most likely still working in the hospitality industry! I have a degree in International Hospitality Management and I have held different positions within restaurants and hotels.

If you could go back in time, would you do anything different?

Not at all. The way I run my business now is based on what has or hasn’t worked in the past so I’m grateful to have experienced hard times to make me the businessman I am today.

What is your philosophy on business or life, in a nutshell?

You only get a few opportunities in life to be successful, but it’s up to you to decide if you take those opportunities or not, which is a decision which will shape everything else to come. The opportunities might be risky or they might be the best thing to happen to you, but you will never know unless you go for them! Don’t live your life with regrets.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.