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Meet Shawn James of Opulence Transportation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shawn James.

Hi Shawn, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I have been in the ground transportation industry since 2002. During that time, I worked on the limousine side (first introduced to the industry) and later worked on the business’s motor coach side (buses). I was a very active musician performing a lot, and I enjoyed driving. The freedom and flexibility in this field are unmatched (especially at that time of my life). That part was also attractive to me.

In the later years, I traveled extensively with the motor coaches touring all over the continental United States and Canada. I was tired of living out of my suitcase and looking for another way to advance. The company I was employed by did not have any room for advancement. During this period, I kept hearing people say I should start my own company. After hearing that about 3 or more times, I decided to give it a shot!

I initially wanted to get into the motor coaches first, but it takes a lot of startup capital (which I did not have). So I went back to my roots, which was the limousine world. I was not involved with the limousine side for several years. At this time, all of my connections were in the motor coach industry. As I was trying to find my footing, the TNCs (transportation network companies, Uber/Lyft) were new, turning the industry upside down. This was difficult and scary for someone trying to start a new business. Also, hearing side comments made me question whether this was a good idea.

However, I kept pressing on. I tried various things in the beginning. I went to the limousine conventions, signed up for Groupon (no financial benefit but helped with internet presence), and various other internet marketing platforms. The first couple of years were rough. I was still working my job (semi-full time), driving motor coaches, and supporting the business. I worked hard to get out of the “so-called startup phase” (0-3 years is when startup businesses fail).

It was a struggle, and then we went into a global pandemic just as the business was starting to get better every year. That hurt us just like the entire global economy. At the same time, it also helped us tremendously. Opulence has seen such an increase in business. We are hitting record numbers and growing our customer base daily. So we are in another phase of “solidifying the business/financially stable/consistency.” This part is just as difficult, but the goals are slowly being achieved daily.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No, it has not been smooth. LOL, nothing about having a small business is smooth. Some rough roads, sometimes bumpy, and some potholes to avoid getting to the smoother parts of the road; the biggest challenge was getting customers initially the new kid on the block. No one has ever heard of the company. You have to build trust! And you do that by sometimes lowering the price point to get reviews. Reviews helped out over time. That helps with getting new business. Building a solid customer base is the goal at the moment. Not having certain equipment, financing/business credit poses challenges as well as staff.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Opulence Transportation?
Opulence Transportation is an executive car service company serving the eastern and central Virginia areas and beyond. We are a woman-owned business specializing in professional ground transportation (airport/rail/medical appointments/city to city/weddings/tours).

What sets us apart is being a female-driven company and being professional in demeanor and presence. A lot of customers speak about our professionalism as well as our responsiveness. I am proud that the company is still maintaining its core values (customer service driven, classy/professional, being consistent). It’s hard to live up to these things, but we strive to do it daily (and it’s paying off).

Opulence Transportation takes pride in making sure we provide a great experience for all. We provide a high level of ground transportation service that you will not get from a TNC/Taxi. We show that we care in every aspect of the business.

What matters most to you? Why?
Customer Service. If you can provide the customer with a good experience, they will return; if you do not, they have other options. I feel like customer service is sometimes becoming a lost art. I like good customer service when I patronize a business. So I use that same rule of thought with business. I believe that is very important (and necessary thing) to be a successful business.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
I took all photos. Shawn James

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