Sometimes parents can feel like a taxi service, but Sharron Gay really is one. She is the founder of Mom’s Taxi Service.
Whether you don’t want your kids riding public transportation, the school bus, or you need someone to drive your kids from school to their sports practice, Mom’s Taxi Service does it all. Inspired by her own personal needs, Sharron has created a service that every mom can appreciate.
I recently spoke with Sharron about her business and the inspiration that launched it.
Tell us a little about Mom’s Taxi Service.
Mom’s Taxi Service is a child transportation shuttle service that provides safe, reliable transportation for children and other family members in Broward County, Florida. Our services are primarily for school children between the ages of 4 and 17. Momâ€™s Taxi is managed by three Broward County women. We understand working mothers, because weâ€™re mothers ourselves. As we like to say, weâ€™re Moms Helping Moms.
What inspired it?
I was inspired by my own personal difficulties in transporting my children. They were enrolled in after-school programs that were quite a distance from my place of employment. So it was a challenge to pick them up on time. I began to speak with other parents and realized that we all face the same struggles with child transportation. I saw an opportunity to start a business to solve the problem. I knew there was a real need to make life easier for parents and children in Broward County. I also knew that moms, who are generally responsible for child transportation, could be negatively impacted on the job. Since they might have to leave work early from time to time to pick up their children, their employers could misread the situation and decide theyâ€™re not dedicated or donâ€™t deserve promotions. Momâ€™s Taxi Service solves the problem. So moms can perform better at their jobs.
How many taxis do you currently have?
We have 15-passenger vans and currently operate two of them. So we can transport up to 30 children at a time. We intend to add more vans as we grow.
How much does your service cost and what is included?
The cost is based on the distance from the pickup location to the destination, because the distance is what primarily affects the time and car expenses required to perform the service.
We provide door-to-door transportation. And our drivers make sure all the children are safe and secure at their destination before our shuttle departs. We want to give parents the peace of mind of knowing their children are attended by us until they enter their schools or homes.
What separates you from similar services?
We offer a truly unique service. I know of no other taxi service that is based on Moms Helping Moms. In addition, we genuinely get to know each child. We consider ourselves their Moms away from home. One of our Parent Partners says it best: â€Momâ€™s is not just another taxi service, and itâ€™s different than any school bus. Sharron Gay, whoâ€™s the owner, and the other Moms who work for her get to know all the children and treat them as individuals. The kids get to know Sharron and the other Moms who drive the taxis, too. The friendliness and care are just what other Moms want â€“ and kids enjoy.â€
We also become community resources for our families. For example, when a parent is looking for a good tutor, we can recommend several in our local area. Or when a child is unhappy with an after-school or summer activity, we can refer the parent to other options that may be more suitable, based on our knowledge of each child and what else is available.
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Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish over the next year or so?
Our immediate goal is to help as many moms and dads as we can with their childrenâ€™s transportation needs. Currently, we service Northwest Broward County, but we plan to expand gradually throughout the Broward County area. Within the next five years, we also hope to expand to other counties in Southeast Florida, too.
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
Oh, Iâ€™ve learned a lot. The most wonderful thing is, I learned that if you offer a great product, at a fair price, in a market where thereâ€™s a need, customers will find out about you and sign up.
Iâ€™ve also learned that I have to put some limits on my willingness to go way above and beyond the call of duty. Sometimes a parent will make an unusual request that would require an unrealistic amount of time, energy and resources. I used to say yes all the time, even though I knew weâ€™d lose money. But I realized I had to set some limits on that. So I finally learned how to swallow hard and say, â€œIâ€™m sorry, but we just canâ€™t assist you with that request.â€
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think that loving what you do is the best road to professional and personal success.
A reporter once asked me, â€œSharron, when do you expect to get rich?â€ My reply was that I get rich every day when a parent says, â€œThank God for your service! I had no idea how I was going to get my child to school.â€
I really do enjoy relating with our Parent Partners. I feel especially blessed to be allowed to transport the most precious beings in their lives â€“ their children. Each child is a light and I feel privileged to protect that light and help it burn a little brighter. Even during the early days, when the business could be especially challenging, a word of appreciation from a parent would refresh my spirit. We often begin and end our rides with laughter. Weâ€™re joyful about what we do.
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
If you donâ€™t believe in yourself, no one else will. So follow your dreams. Once, I had an idea for a novelty gift item, but everyone I asked thought the idea was crazy. So I gave up on it. Several years later, I saw an article about a man who is selling the same novelty gift item. Last year sales for that item was in the millions. As Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, said, â€œSomething always appears impossible, until itâ€™s done.â€