Quality Comes As Standard
As holiday season nears, I met with SL Elite Travel co-owner Chris Shadbolt, to discover more about the ethos behind an ever-growing private hire business right on our doorstep.
Tell me a bit of background to the business?
Matt and I founded the business in May 2017, but with any business of this nature, it took a few months to find the right vehicles and get the licensing sorted, so we took our first customer in October 2017. We started with 3 customers and thought “this is fantastic!” and this month we’re up to 25!
Where did the desire to start a private hire business come from?
I studied Transport & Business at Loughborough University, and upon leaving wondered “what do I do from here?” So naturally, I went into retail! Then along came kids, so I started driving part-time for a bit of extra cash and really enjoyed it, and thought actually, I’d like to have a go at this! It allowed me to utilise what I studied at Uni, and the customer service skills I gained from retail, in my own business and everyday life.
What is your unique selling point as a business?
I think we provide a great product at a very reasonable price; it’s important for a customer to be able to look at our price structure and think ‘I can travel in a nice car, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money’.
Tell me about one of your most eventful journeys so far…
When all the snow happened at the beginning of March, I was taking an elderly couple home from the airport at 11:30pm and got stuck down their farm driveway! The gentleman kindly helped shovel snow out from under my wheels and I escaped, but it took about an hour and when I eventually got home to my own road, I managed to get stuck again!
What sets you apart from your competitors?
We take it from day one: whether it’s the way we answer the phone, or the way we deal with emails, you’ve only got that one chance to make a first impression. I like to pick up on things customers say and tailor their experience to them, to make it more personal. A customer told me she has always wanted someone to pick her up from the airport with a bunch of flowers. Guess what I’ll be doing when I pick her up?! Word-of-mouth recommendation is so important; we want to offer a really good service so people will come back and use us again.