27 Feb 2020
Shane Lawrenson, owner of SJL Travel, makes sure passengers locally and further afield get from A to B safely and on time. As a female minibus driver, Shane’s business is thriving in a male dominated industry and she is continuing to grow her successful business, one journey at a time.
Shane explained: “SJL Travel do airport transfers, nights out, race days, sporting events, hen and stag do’s, children’s events and basically anything which requires travel; wherever my customers need to go I can get them there.
“I operate mainly out of St Helens, but I will travel wherever customers need me to and can pick up anywhere in the region; bringing them to and from their destinations.”
Shane was a taxi driver for a local firm from April 2019 and decided in June to buy her own minibus. After using the minibus for a few months as a taxi driver, Shane decided to set up on her own and from October 2019 set up her own business SJL Travel of St Helens.
Shane said: “It is quite challenging running a business at times, particularly in quiet periods after Christmas but I can see the bookings starting to come in now for the summer and it’s great to see the amount of bookings growing month on month.”
The minibus travel industry is largely male dominated, but Shane has found all of her industry peers to be highly supportive of her business and has now become an active member of the minibus community locally.
Shane commented: “There are a group of minibus drivers locally, who have helped me and supported me – even passing jobs on if they can’t complete them.
“As a minibus driver you have to be prepared for anything; an airport job could run late, you could have car issues… So this supportive community help each other out by passing jobs and warning each other of road closures. I know I can message them at any time for help and its great to have built that support network.”
Shane has worked closely with St Helens Chamber’s Business Start Up team to build her business and finds the support has helped her make a great start. The team have helped her put plans in place for the future of her business; such as putting on promotions at key events through the year.
Shane explained: “The Start Up team have been really helpful advising on different things, they’ve been supportive, referring me to different people to help me with different aspects of my business and are always there to answer my questions, which is great.”
Shane hopes that in future she can build on the success of SJL Travel and can gain some corporate contracts to take her business to the next level.
Stella Libertini, Business Start Up Project Co-ordinator at St Helens Chamber, commented:
“We’re really happy to see SJL Travel growing and thriving in the competitive transport industry. We will continue to offer our help and support to Shane to help her grow her business even further going forward.”
St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside. Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business, including help to:
- Understand the process of starting a business
• Research a business idea
• Build a comprehensive business plan
• Develop a marketing plan
• Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your business and potential income
• Identify sources of finance to get started
Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
If you’d like to know more about SJL Travel contact Shane on 01744 368364 or visit http://bit.ly/2Pljgsb or, to find out how we can help you start your own business call our team on 0845 340 9980