Ireland West Taxis : Smallbusiness interview West of Ireland

Howdy reader,

If this is the first time you have landed on my blog, welcome! My name is Katleen,  I live in the West of Ireland, and I have been blogging on this blog since 2009! My new year’s resolution was to focus on small business in the West of Ireland, and give them a chance to do their story and let them shine. So far I have interviewed 9 businesses!( see links below this blogpost). As I go along, I get more and more excited to read the stories and feel the passion they all have for their business. Certainly this interview really got my interested in Joe’s business, and hope to have the pleasure to travel in his taxi on day, I can only but imagine the stories Joe has to tell:)

Please share the love and share this interview with your friends and family, as that’s the way these small businesses will get that little bit more of exposure and will help them grow!

If you are a small business( or know a small business) in the West of Ireland and would like to get featured, please drop me an email katleen@workinglivingtravellinginireland.com and I’ll be in touch with next steps.

Tell us a bit about yourself & where you are located in the West of Ireland.

I’m a father of 8 grown up children,2 daughters & 6 sons. I live right in the center of Connaught in a beautiful town called Ballyhaunis Co.Mayo.

Can you provide me with a description of your business?

I am the boss of my own business,  Ireland West Taxis. I provided a taxi service & personalized tours of Ireland.

Joe's Taxi, parked up at Ireland West Airport
Joe’s Taxi, parked up at Ireland West Airport

How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses?

I ‘retired’ 11 years ago from Mid West Radio,  where I was accounts manager for 15 years. Previous to that I owned & ran my own small family Hotel business in Ballyhaunis & also my own pub/restaurant .

How did you get started in this business?

When I ‘retired’ from Mid West Radio 11 years ago, I just wanted to keep active & occupied in doing something that I always loved doing , meeting people & enjoying the outdoors & travelling around this beautiful country of ours.

Is this your full time job, a hobby or a bit of both?

It started out as a pastime, but quickly turned into a full time occupation.  I soon realized that in this business you must give it your full attention & effort in order to make it a success.

How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?

I literally was born into the Hospitality business, I came into this world in a bedroom of my then parents Hotel, The Central Hotel, Ballyhaunis.  So you could say it was always in my blood.

I spent 2 years as a trainee Hotel Manager in Fitzpatrick’s Killiney Castle Hotel, before I qualified with a degree in Hotel Management.

I held the Hotel Manager position at Jury’s Hotel.Westport (now Westport Woods Hotel) before returning to Ballyhaunis to take over my parents Hotel.

I sold the Hotel, restaurant & pub in the early 90’s before joining Mid West Radio.

So basically dealing face to face with people has always been part of my life.

Do you know who your competitors are?

Yes, I would personally know a lot of people who are operating in the same line of business,  be it be in the general taxi business or tour business,  I have learned a lot from the help & advice they have provided me with & in return I share my experience & knowledge with them. We are all providing a service & its to the benefit of the business & the services we provide that we share our knowledge, experience to ensure it continues to grow & improve.

How/where do you market your business? How are people aware of your business? Where can people find you?

Website : http://www.irelandwesttaxis.com

Facebook:  joe freeley ( joe maxi taxi )

Twitter: @joemaxitaxi

Telephone :+ 353 (0)87-9.931.931

 

 

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?

When I started in the Taxi business 11 years ago,  there was enough business for me &  the other 14 taxis to make a decent living locally,  but in the last 5 years circumstances have taken a dramatic change.  We now only have 5 taxis,  2 full time,  3 part time. So 5 years ago I began to look for business outside the town speed limits.  Ireland West Airport is literally on my doorstep, I started to use social media to promote my tour business, and it’s just amazing how much extra business I have managed to generate through twitter in particular.

There is a demand for private personalized tours 1-8 persons & I have managed to tap into that market very successfully.

People love to tour in areas off the beaten track, where 54 seater tour buses can not access,  and the time spent at the different locations is not tired to a time schedule.

I suggest the route, the customer decides on the time spent at each location.

How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?

I would not be in business today without the use of social media

What do you love about the area you live in/do business in?

I live & work in Paradise,  the West Coast of Ireland has so much to offer,  every day is a mystery.  Its not work when you look forward to driving around the West of Ireland & showing your customers the stunning beauty of our country.

Whom do you seek advice from for your business/ do you meet up with other business owners?

I meet up with other similar business through twitter,  we have a tweet-up every so often, go for a meal & discuss our experience etc, its a great way of keeping up to date on what is happening in the business.

Can you describe your customers?

Locally,  my customers are the general public looking for transport.

But now  my customers are mainly American/British / French customers looking to experience the ‘real’ non commercialized Ireland that I provide on a very personal basis.

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

I believe I offer a service that is competitively priced, reliable, knowledgeable, relaxed & a fun day touring. The fact that I personally provide the service makes it more genuine & enjoyable.

What keeps you going, when the chips are down?

Every day is a mystery, every customer is different,  when you love what you do for a living, then its not ‘work’.

Do you support local charities? If so which is your favourite charity and why?

Every year on the night of the leaving Cert results, I provide a free taxi service for the students, and in lieu of the taxi fare, I ask the students to make a voluntary contribution to Pieta House,  I think this is a great opportunity to make people aware of the fantastic work this voluntary organisation provides.

Any special things planned for 2016?

If my business continues to grow as it has over the past few years, I have to seriously consider expanding my transport fleet

Any tips for someone who is thinking of starting their own business?

Do something that you really love doing.

What did you learn from this interview?

Writing this piece for you has brought me back over my life and career,  and has reminded me of how much I have achieved in my life. The ups & downs that I faced in each chapter of my life. I have learned the importance of marketing my service & using social media as a tool to get the message out there.  By interaction with customers and competitors to continue to improve my product. I recently joined up on TripAdvisor & have had a very positive response from past customers & hopefully these reviews will drive future, further business in my direction.

Please share the love and share this interview with your friends and family, as that’s the way these small businesses will get that little bit more of exposure and will help them grow!

Hope you enjoyed this very inspiring interview! I’m  taking a break , and back in two weeks with a new interview! If you are a small business( or know a small business) in the West of Ireland and would like to get featured, please drop me an email katleen@workinglivingtravellinginireland.com and I’ll be in touch with next steps.

Katleen

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