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Behind the Scenes, Carriers, Industry InsightsPublished on September 18, 2020

Isaac Wilke, owner and dispatch driver for Starlight Transportation LLC, sits down with Macey Knecht, Convoy’s Carrier Advocacy Specialist, to discuss his experience hauling freight with Convoy. 

Macey: One of my favorite questions to ask carriers is how did you find Convoy?

Isaac: I actually found Convoy on another load board. We were looking for something local to do that day and we found this shipment with Convoy as the broker. So I gave Convoy a call, and right then and there, I got sent to the new carrier setup page and I was just amazed because it only took about three to five minutes.

Getting set up with other brokers requires so much back and forth and paperwork. It was just a hassle, but I was just super surprised by Convoy’s process. Three to five minutes, I was in and out of there, and I had the load tendered to me. It was amazing.

From that point on we started using the Convoy app to find loads because now we could see everything Convoy had to offer. And then we realized that there is a big Power Only market out of Green Bay with Convoy, and we wanted to explore more into that because typically we used our own trailers for shipments.

Macey: Tell me a little bit about running in that local market. You mentioned that you recently just got into your interstate authority? 

Isaac: Originally, I did want to dominate the local market, but that is a very hard thing to do as a new carrier. I was thankful that we found Convoy in the process of trying to accomplish that, but that is more of a long term goal now. 

Recently we decided to try the next step up by hauling regional freight typically a day out and a day back. And we found great success with Convoy’s Power Only because a lot of their Power Only freight is a 600-mile journey one way, and then 600 miles back to our starting location. The Power Only program has been life-changing for us. 

Isaac Wilke with his father, Mark Wilke, haul freight in the Green Bay, Wisconsin region.

Macey: One of the things that really amazes me is the fact that you built a debt-free company at the age of twenty-two which, in the trucking and transportation industry, is not an easy thing to do. How did you get to that point where you weren’t accruing debt as you were building out your authority and hiring drivers to work under your authority?

Isaac: Cash flow is very important in business. If you work with Convoy, you can really take advantage of their free QuickPay and that perk really, really helps with our cash flow. When we started using Convoy, we set up our bank information and had the first shipment payment in our account just a couple of days later. 

Not to mention, submitting the documents on the app saves you so much time in the office. I don’t have to sit there printing and scanning because I’m able to have my drivers do it out on the road. Because I don’t have to physically run the company in the office, it opens up a great opportunity for me to be a dispatcher and a driver. 

Macey: How was the learning curve for your drivers uploading photos in the app? Do they feel like they save time invoicing now? 

Isaac: With everything new, there’s always going to be a learning curve. Looking at some of their first uploads you notice cropped photos or big blotch spots but eventually, they got the hang of it and we were able to submit a nice, clear document using the Convoy app.

Macey: I joke with carriers when they finally send that perfect image that they could be a professional photographer now. Talk to me a little bit more about the invoicing process. How do you guys feel about earning detention or getting reimbursed for lumper fees from Convoy?

Isaac: I had taken a Convoy load and needed a lumper code at three in the morning and was a little worried because this would be my first time requesting a lumper. When I went to pay the lumper for unloading my truck, I pulled up the Convoy app, tapped on “Support”, and tapped on “Lumper”. I selected the “Stop” and asked the facility worker for the lumper company’s name and the amount for the lumper. I hit “Next” and the EFS code just popped up right there. The gentleman just looked at me with amazement and he goes, “You have the EFS code already? It takes most drivers a couple hours, especially overnight, to call their dispatcher or broker for the approved code.” I said, “Yeah, I guess I do.” So, that’s pretty amazing first experience.

I’ve never had to fight Convoy on a layover, lumpers, invoicing, or detention because they have always been there to back us up. Being able to just request detention in the app and avoid the phone calls makes the driver’s life so much easier and enables me to sleep through the night. 

Macey: You’ve been an entrepreneur your entire life. What finally pushed you to start your own authority and business?   

Isaac: I’ve loved business my entire life – I love the accounting, the responsibility, and the decision making that comes with it. Since I was about eight years old, I’ve been running my own small businesses and actually had my own LLC lawn service in high school. For the longest time I didn’t realize that I wanted to drive a truck even though my aunt, uncle, and dad all drive. So one day I decided that I was going to pull the trigger and get my CDL. 

“I’ve loved business my entire life – I love the accounting, the responsibility, and the decision making that comes with it” – Isaac Wilke

I worked for a couple of different companies over the years as a company driver to gain some knowledge about the industry. Eventually I bought a truck, and then in October of 2018 I leased it on with one of the carriers that I was working with. It was a slow transition for me because I preferred to take small steps instead of one big jump with no personal experience in the industry.

I will say drivers learn more in one week of actually driving then any 10 week CDL training course. I think that’s just so important. I didn’t go to a four year college, I didn’t major in accounting or operations. I went out there and I taught myself. I know a lot of people say that failing is a bad thing, but I really don’t think so. If you’re going to make mistakes and you have to learn from them somehow.

In April of 2019, I established my own in-state authority. Then October of 2019 we had gotten our out-of-state authority shortly after partnering with Convoy. Of course, then once we had that out-of-state authority and we saw those loads that were on the Convoy app and knew this was the right move to make.

Macey: Thank you, Isaac, your company continues to amaze our leadership team here at Convoy. We are very much so, looking forward to partnering with you in the future!


Macey Knecht

Macey works at Convoy as the team's Carrier Marketing Specialist. Before her transition to the marketing team, she helped lead the support operations and app engagement teams at Convoy. When she isn't speaking with carriers, she enjoys watersports, backpacking, and "sending it" on the ski mountain.
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