The coronavirus pandemic presented both a huge challenge as well as an opportunity for growth in the trucking industry. Utah-based Aora Cargo captured new business as its drivers chose to remain on the road during lockdowns, ensuring supermarkets and distribution centers were well stocked. During this time, the company switched to Melio to make sure its growing team of drivers was paid quickly and easily.
Aora Cargo is a trucking company established in 2018 by Ignacio Araya, an immigrant from Chile, along with his Ecuadorian wife Cecilia, who keeps the books and pays the bills.
Seeking to provide their four children with more opportunities, the couple established Aora Cargo in order to immigrate to the U.S. under an investor’s visa. They had family living in Utah and were drawn to the state’s pro-business climate and the development of Salt Lake City as a regional logistics hub.
Aora, from the Spanish word “ahora” -- meaning now -- has a team of 11 drivers who transport refrigerated, frozen, and processed foods as well as paper and dry goods across the U.S.
“The drivers are the unsung heroes of the trucking industry. It’s brutal what they have to go through,” Ignacio said. “They drive up to 11 hours a day and then when they get to the distribution centers, they have to wait in line, drive through bad weather and sleep in truck stops.”
Most of his drivers are also immigrants. “These are people that are trying to live the American dream, trying to make a living for their families,” he said.
Founder and CEO, Aora Cargo
“Having good drivers is key to the success of our company and being able to pay them promptly with Melio helps us to keep them happy.”
With the onset of the pandemic, demand for transportation skyrocketed as many trucking companies were forced to halt service due to a scarcity of drivers. “We continued to work so the pandemic has been good for business, but it has required the courage of the drivers who continued to work despite the difficult conditions,” Ignacio said.
Aora Cargo was using costly ACH payments to pay its drivers, or bank apps that had too many restrictions for a fast-growing company. “Once I exceed a certain amount per day or per month or per week, I can no longer transfer money so it's not practical anymore,” Ignacio said. And with ACH payments, the faster the money is needed the higher the cost, reaching up to $30 per transaction.
Aora Cargo learned about Melio through its insurance agent and now uses it to pay its drivers, owner-operators, and dispatch service. Cecilia saves three to four hours a week by being able to set up, access, transact and review accounts payable quicker in Melio. The company reduced its payment costs by about $300 a month with Melio while the drivers and dispatch services get paid twice as fast as before.
“What I like about Melio is how easy it is to make and schedule payments,” Ignacio said, noting that the platform Melio provides better visibility to track the company’s payments.
The drivers want to be paid as quickly as possible so when Cecilia receives from them the number of miles traveled she goes to Melio and creates a payment for them. “Once that is done, it's peace of mind. We know for sure that the payment will go through, we can go back and track what payments we've done, which ones are pending, and what's in the pipeline,” Ignacio said.
Michael Pyrtle, one of Aora Cargo’s drivers, said he receives his payments the next day and the transactions are seamless. “For sure I would recommend Melio to any of my colleagues and owner-operators that I encounter every day,” he said. ”I think it’s a very easy process that they can use to pay their employees.”