Nola Green Transportation, LLC is a full-time food delivery service. Erica S., owner of Nola Green Transportation, manages food delivery for restaurants that do not have the delivery volume to merit having their own drivers. By using NGT, restaurants can offer delivery service to their clients without losing the time it takes to deliver.
Originally a Texas native, Erica moved to New Orleans after high school to attend Tulane University. Unable to obtain sufficient financial aid for her studies, she went back to working full-time at a restaurant – something she had been doing since she was 14. She says she first had the idea of NGT when she began noticing the time that was lost when restaurant staff had to take off to deliver an order.
Erica has rolling two-month contracts with restaurants, meaning the contracts automatically renew unless the restaurant decides to opt out. Some current clients include Mexican, Moroccan, Middle-Eastern, Spanish and Cajun restaurants. Erica’s drivers pick up the food from the restaurants and deliver it to the customers. Right now, Erica has two drivers and will soon hire a third.
Erica is using this loan for operating capital, payment of accumulated debts, and for two months of office rent. She always needs cash on hand because her drivers are sub-contractors (they buy the food from the restaurants and then collect payment from the customers). At the end of the day, Erica reimburses her drivers for the money they pay the restaurants. When Erica’s customers pay with credit cards, Erica does not receive payment from the credit card companies for two days. This loan gives Erica the needed cushion to pay her drivers until she receives payment from the credit card companies.
Right now, Erica consistently works 13- and 14-hour days. Though these are long hours, she likes owning her own business because of the freedom it provides her. She recommends other business owners be realistic when setting goals – things take three times longer than you think they should. With the added hassle of billing through credit card companies, she also recommends dealing in cash whenever possible.
Erica opened Nola Green Transportation, LLC in September, 2010. She says NGT’s biggest success so far is that it became profitable within the first four months of opening. Her 5 year plan for the business is to expand to all of New Orleans, which will require opening an additional five offices, each with its own operational setup, throughout the city. Erica is 22 years old.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.