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A love of cars inspired Ryan Thomson, from Glenrothes, to launch is own valeting business, R.T Detailing in May this year. The 21-year-old currently operates his business around his job with a local tyre wholesaler.  

What does your business do? R.T Detailing Services is a valet company offering an extensive range of packages to suit client needs. From a simple wash and dry to ‘The Works’ that provides a deep clean of the car’s interior and exterior. 

How and why did you start your business? I started R.T Detailing Services because I wanted to make a difference, quite literally, to how people’s vehicles look. Seeing their satisfaction with the end result that’s the real reward for me. I initially started with just the basic essentials and advertised through social media. Word-of-mouth is now helping me grow my business. Currently, I am based in Woodside, Glenrothes but will be offering a mobile service, where I can come to clients, from the start of September.

How did you get to where you are today? I chose valeting after my friend and I detailed my first car, an old Vauxhall Astra MKIV. I couldn’t believe how good it looked after we’d finished and I thought to myself that I’d love to make others feel the way I did too - very satisfied. The journey so far hasn’t been the easiest. Having to rely on people hearing about my service from others, and investing many hours of working late to make ends meet, has been tough, but it’s really starting to pay off. It’s still a business in its infancy, but I see it going far. 

Who has helped you along the way? I’ve had a lot of help from family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without them and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done. I’ve had a lot of help from a very kind and knowledgeable lady, Marissa Yassen, at Business Gateway Fife too. She’s given me information and helped me understand different aspects of setting up and running my own business and with finances. The Prince’s Trust has also given me a start-up grant that helped me get some of the equipment I needed to provide the service that I do.

What was your biggest mistake? Waiting so long to do something for myself, especially something that is as physically and mentally rewarding as my business. 

What is your greatest achievement to date? Getting the business up and running. I’m very proud of my business and how far it’s come in such a short period. Each time I get a new product or learn how to use a new piece of equipment it’s an achievement, as these are the things that will help me succeed and provide the best service. 

What do you hope to achieve in the future? To have multiple mobile valeting vans in and around Fife, then moving further afield towards the bigger cities. Eventually opening up my own unit so I can move to full-time detailing while my staff work away happily, giving people the best service. 

Do you want to recruit in the future? I would love to create opportunities for others, like the one I’m creating for myself just now. In the future, I want to find people who will care about the business as much as I do, and to show and deliver the expertise that is expected of it.

What is the hardest thing about running your own business? I’m a perfectionist and treat everyone’s car as if it were my own so the hardest thing is not losing track of time, which is very easy to do when you are so focused on doing the best job possible and paying such close attention to detail. In my sector that’s really what it’s all about, it’s about going over and above for the client, giving them the best service you can.

Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs? If you think you can make it work, just start. If it doesn’t work, keep going. A failure is only a lesson and a bump in the road towards success. Take positives from every negative and keep moving. Get advice from Business Gateway Fife from the start.

Find out how Business Gateway Fife can help your business by visiting their local pages or by calling 01592 858 366.

Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.

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