Throughout February and March 2018, we ran a competition to find the UK’s favourite Detailer, accepting nominations from the public. The winner was announced on 1 April 2018. For more information about the competition click here otherwise keep reading to find out more about the winner.
Introducing the UK’s Favourite Detailer, Daryl Benfield (Offset Detailing) from Essex.
We caught up with Daryl recently and asked him a few questions.
How did you get into Detailing?
Probably started back in 1999/2000 when I bought my first air cooled Beetle, it was in good shape and already built up with a nut and bolt resto, was a 74′ Cal Looker, but I added bits to it and took real good care of it. The guy I bought it from said “please look after it” and it stuck with me. I started showing that at VW events around England. It was on show at Volksworld at Sandown two years running inside against the best in Europe, those that have been on show there or just as a punter – being in the show itself is a great accomplishment without even getting an award. I learnt a lot chatting with the owners back then and just taking it all in.
I began picking up awards and the odd best in show here and there at air cooled shows. Having to keep a concours winning car up to par you begin the ‘rabbit hole’ thing, searching out new products, techniques, trying new methods, tricks of the trade etc. Once the air cooled beetle was sold it was onto the next Beetle, a ‘newbie’ I bought new. That was again a slippery slope with modifying, big supsension slams, mad wheels, smoothed bodywork, lots of interior leather. We had a bit of a Beetle gang that would all do the shows together and was a great era, some good mates came out of that. It wasn’t as serious as it is now and a lot more imagination was present back then I think.
We’d all convoy to the shows, detail our cars and then hit the bar. I began showing way back in 2005 with the new Beetle with Meguiars being on their stands right up until 2011/2012 with the Beetle progressing the whole time as well as my technique and detailing started getting more popular I think too. Sharing knowledge, products, tips etc seemed to go hand in hand with people building show cars etc. It was great I thought. During that period a genuine RSI wide body kit was sourced from Germany, air ride went on, custom made wheels built, House of Kolor paint which was applied and the final guise built by K at Xquisite Automotive. Again winning awards while being into detailing helped keep the sliver ware coming in. If I remember correctly that car made cover a few times and was featured in magazines about 6 or 7 times. By that time I was detailing cars on the side of my full time job, then the Beetle was sold on and I was detailing part time and stopped doing the whole show scene thing. I still peek in from time to time, old habits.
When did Offset Detailing begin?
I suppose it was really born when I was looking after my own cars and then eventually people wanted theirs done having seen my cars at shows or out and about, or referrals, recommendations from various people etc for a bit of extra money. All the while building up a portfolio and building things up behind the scenes. It wasn’t an overnight thing. But it eventually boiled down to the fact it was either stay in a full time job where the company I worked for up town was getting bought out left right and centre, and keep detailing as a side line, or take the jump and start Offset Detailing full time. ‘Offset’ referring to the mental wheel specs we used to run on our show cars, getting that offset ‘just right’ was crucial to how the car sat and looked. Getting your cars paintwork and overall appearance ‘just right’ through detailing in my opinion is the same thing.
Anyway, It was fate really as about six months after I’d left my full time job all the people I worked with where made redundant or moved on as it was a bit of a sinking ship and when I heard the news from a mate I had a Ferrari F430 coupe sitting in front of me that had been bought off of Eric Clapton who was it’s first owner and the new owner had it booked in for a full inside and out detail. That was surreal. I remember thinking “I’ve done the right thing”. I ain’t gonna lie it was a scary jump to take. I remember speaking to a friend who went out on his own and he said it was the scariest thing he ever did apart from getting married but didn’t regret anything and the best thing he’d done. The marriage though I can’t comment on haha.
How many cars have you detailed?
I’ve no idea, lots!
Offset Detailing is an award-winning car detailing service in Essex run by Daryl Benfield. Specialist services include paint correction and new car detailing. other services include protection details, concours and show car detailing, wheel, brake caliper, and leather care.
Has there been 1 car that’s stood out for you?
There’s been a good amount. I love it when it’s something a bit lairy. You hear it humming up the lane then it rolls into the yard where the unit is and you think “cool”. You wash it down etc, get it inside get your head around the condition and think damn I’d love to own one of these. I suppose the one that really stood out was a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP 570-4 in pearl yellow and a truck load of carbon fibre. It was just stunning, I had Lambo’s on my bedroom wall as did thousands of other kids when I was young so the Lambo’s the dream man. When the owner arrived we went through the car and the detail we’d already agreed on, general chit chat, a really nice down to earth guy.
As he gave me the keys to his Lambo he said “you know I love this car more than my own children”. I laughed, looked at him in the eyes and he wasn’t joking at all. He meant it. Save the car, forget the offspring haha! I remember not sleeping a lot that week while that was in. But, it came out awesome and he was really pleased with it. Plenty of wine after that one roared off into the night. A lot of hours of went into that detail. I remember feeling very humble that he picked me to work on his pride and joy. Hey, he could have used anyone, someone more well known but he picked me having seen my work.
It’s also great having people come in with their brand new cars that have six miles on the clock, all the factory wraps on, cost nearly as much as your home and then they come back the following year having traded in for something more mental, more expensive and they trust you. That’s really humbling and builds your confidence.
What’s your biggest challenge as a detailer?
I always find the brand new ones interesting, how dealerships can really mess up a brand new car and their complete lack of care and attention. That’s a pretty straight forward fix though. Also cars that have been to different paint shops throughout their lives and not being finished properly, or recently out of the paint shop and left with real bad wet sand marks, holograms by rotary polishing etc, or even a previous detailer cutting corners and not doing their job correctly. I think “damn his is gonna take a while”.
What advice would you offer to anyone looking to become a detailer?
Practice man, don’t expect to go in there and perform miracles on a car straight away. Patience too is a massive thing to have when you’re detailing. Get settled in and be prepared for some long hours, and plan ahead, organise yourself, time management and quadruple check everything every time.. Good music too, no generic radio friendly pop shit. Keep it heavy.
Quote from Daryl
I’d say stay away from negativity and the guys that spew it out. People are so quick to bash someone, a new product line, your own success even, it’s ridiculous. Having haters isn’t a bad thing, they’re hating on you because you’re doing something productive and positive, so keep at it.
“The best revenge is success” yes, but staying humble and not trying to be ‘the be all and end all’ be it detailing, any sort of hobby/business, the car scene, or any other scene it’s easy to get caught up in it all and it never ends well for you and others. Stay motivated even if it’s not going how you want it to, things iron out and things happen for a reason, go with your own gut feelings not what someone else is saying. Don’t get suckered into all the glitzy setups you see online, or all the flash motors sitting about. Sometimes what you imagine it to be isn’t what it is at all. Do your own thing and carve your own path. When that customer returns again and again and new customers come in it’s extremely rewarding. Most importantly enjoy what your doing. If you’re doing that then you’re on the right path already.