How one business owner found their road to success with the help of alternative funding and strategic business advice. This is the success story of Serna’s Trucking
In 2003, Claudia Serna decided to open a trucking business in San Marcos, Texas. Originally from Mexico, Claudia first thought of starting Serna’s Trucking after she went through a divorce. With the support of her mother, the savvy entrepreneur was able to purchase her first truck. Over the course of two decades, Claudia began expanding the company and soon became an important part of the local economy.
As the San Marcos region has grown and developed, the area has experienced an infrastructure boom, along with the need for transport of construction materials. Ready to meet this demand, Serna’s Trucking has been able to capitalize on the need for construction transport.
A Financial challenge — and a helping hand
Like many business owners, Claudia had struggled with delays between receiving payments from her customers and paying her subcontractors. Previously, she had needed to wait several weeks to receive the funds for her outstanding invoices.
When her business advisor and contacts at the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce suggested that she seek out financing options to grow her business, Claudia decided to look into it further. She was eager to find a better solution that would help her pay her subcontractors faster.
However, Claudia had never used financing before. Instead, she always paid in cash or used informal loans from friends and family. Empowered with potential access to the working capital she needed to grow her business, Claudia decided it was time to take her business to the next level.
Liquidity at the right time
Claudia’s business advisor suggested she seek assistance from the Liquid Capital Principal in Austin, who also happened to be an active member of many Hispanic community organizations in Central Texas. Bringing over 20 years of expertise in alternative business finance, this partnership with Liquid Capital was the perfect fit for Serna’s Trucking. Her Principal quickly got to know Claudia’s business needs and challenges and recommended that she make use of invoice factoring.
“By having the money fast, we can pay the subcontractors fast. They don’t have to wait until we get paid. Now, we can pay them the same week.” — Claudia Serna, Owner of Serna’s Trucking
With invoice factoring, Claudia was able to significantly improve her cash flow. After invoicing her customers every week, Claudia could now send the invoices directly to Liquid Capital with a request for funding. Liquid Capital then sends her an advance on the funds due and she is able to pay her subcontractors immediately. Next, Liquid Capital collects the payment from Claudia’s customers and sends her the rest of the money, minus a small fee.
“The partnership has been really positive and Liquid Capital helped position us to grow the company. Last year, we grew around 20% and we expect to grow another 20% next year. With this funding strategy, we’re set up to keep expanding.” — Claudia Serna, Owner of Serna’s Trucking
The liquidity offered by invoice factoring has made a big difference for Serna’s Trucking. Since partnering with Liquid Capital, the company has seen consistent year- over-year growth.
Driving business strategy
But access to cash isn’t the only way Liquid Capital has helped Serna’s Trucking. The partnership has had many other benefits as well.
For starters, the weekly invoicing process has provided a useful way for Claudia to organize and manage her invoices. In addition, Claudia and her dedicated Principal have developed a strong working relationship and she often turns to him for business advice. For example, when Claudia was recently considering working with a new company, her Principal was able to help her by running a credit check and evaluating the risk.
“Sometimes I call my Liquid Capital Principal when I have questions and he is there to lend a hand. When we wanted to start working with a new company, he was able to advise me about the possible benefits and risks. It’s a really good relationship.” — Claudia Serna, Owner of Serna’s Trucking
Building up the community by giving back
As the company has focused on its own business and forging through the ups and downs, they have never forgotten their local community.
In fact, one of the most remarkable things about Serna’s Trucking is Claudia herself. She uses her success to make donations and give back to the community, including assisting teen sports programs at local schools. Her extraordinary efforts have earned her recognition from organizations in San Marcos and neighboring cities.
Claudia was the recipient of TAMACC’s 2019 Businesswoman of the Year Award, and the 2018 Minority Construction Services Firm Award from Minority Enterprise Development Week, San Antonio. She was also nominated for the 2019 RHCA Luna Awards.
Avoiding potholes and full speed ahead
While the global pandemic has presented some significant hurdles for the business, progress has fortunately remained consistent for Serna’s Trucking. In fact, Claudia is now thinking of expanding even further. In the near future, she hopes to purchase more equipment, such as GPS, as well as adding more trucks to her fleet.
Over time, Claudia’s company has grown to become more than just a business. She refers to it as “like a family.” And with continuing growth expected in the years ahead, the Serna’s Trucking family is looking forward to the open road ahead.