Skip to main content

A decade of steady company, industry growth

Premier Logistics, a small-scale freight shipping company, saw 100% growth this past year

share arrow printer bookmark flag

December 2, 2022

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay area has no shortage of trucking companies – so standing out above the crowd is key to staking claim in the industry.

For Premier Logistics, which is celebrating its 10th year in the freight business, that niche is same-day shipping.

“I’ve dealt with and worked for companies where we’d pick something up in Green Bay, and it only had to be shipped a few blocks away within the city,” Premier Logistics owner Bill Hawley said. “Instead of picking it up and transporting it right to the next spot, the freight had to be brought to Neenah first and entered into the system. Because of this, the freight wasn’t delivered until the next morning. I didn’t think that was logical, especially when it was such a short distance to transport.”

Hawley said instances like this gave him the motivation to start Premier Logistics – located at 1666 Morrow St. in Green Bay – in September 2012.

“My background has always been in the LTL (less than a truckload) industry,” he said. “I started in Rock Island, Illinois, and have been transferred north several times over the years.”

Hawley said most of the time, LTL companies guarantee pick-up in the afternoon and delivery the next morning.

“I said to myself, ‘You know what, I can find a niche here as long as I keep it precise (in size) – I could pick it up and deliver it the same day and not charge expedited fees,’” he said.

Hawley said that was the nature of the business years ago, but he still sees it today in some instances.
Finding a niche
Hawley said to set Premier Logistics apart from the many shipping companies in the area, it needed to find its place in the industry – and that was same-day shipping.

“Our niche is providing a same-day service for (a) LTL price,” he said. “The customer wants the rate of $50 as compared to maybe paying $150 for expediting.”

Hawley said Premier Logistics uses a route map to determine service.

“For example, we can basically guarantee same-day service from Shawano to Milwaukee,” he said. “We can do it almost 100% of the time, unless maybe a customer doesn’t give us enough lead time. If they tell us on a Monday they need something picked up in Milwaukee on a Tuesday and delivered to Shawano the same day, that might be an issue – it’s just making sure there’s good communication.”

Hawley said Premier Logistics is mainly business to business – meaning it doesn’t typically work in the private, individual sector to help somebody move a piece of furniture across town.

// Premier Logistics uses mainly sprinter vans (left) and straight trucks to ship freight across town or within its service area. Submitted Photo

“We’re big with machine shops moving parts to other fabricators,” he said. “We’re big into printing companies, whether it’s labels, paper or food-grade packaging. We’re involved in the automotive and agriculture industry as well – basically, anything that needs to go.”

Hawley said Premier deals with companies of all sizes.

“Some may ship a couple of times a year and others have multiple locations across the United States,” he said. “Our services are not just within the United States, but all over.”

Hawley said in order to accomplish this, he also has drivers spread all over.

“We also have a mix of freight,” he said. “We have customers who need something moved, but it’s not on a tight schedule. We also have expedited service where somebody absolutely needs something picked up at 6 a.m. and ran down to Milwaukee ASAP. We’re intermingling different freight.”
A different look
When Hawley started Premier Logistics 10 years ago, he said his fleet of vehicles looked much different than it does today.

“When I first started, it was just me,” he said. “I bought a truck for $10,000 and I ran that thing for the first year – driving it myself. I did all of that without a loan to start. Then I started to hire people.”

From there, Hawley said Premier Logistics started adding to its fleet.

“We started with sprinter vans and straight trucks,” he said. “We still have sprinter vans – but because our area is growing, we use more straight trucks now. We also got into semi-trucks last year. We currently have four sprinter vans, 12 straight trucks and two semis.”

Hawley said a sprinter van is a varying-sized van used for transport, while a box truck is typically 26 feet long – resembling a traditional moving truck.

“When customers see a straight truck, they think it’s going to be more expensive,” he said. “But we use those types of trucks because the cost is lower, and the driver doesn’t have to have a CDL (commercial driver’s license). We have different wages for our drivers. We have lower overhead with straight trucks – it’s a different pay rate compared to a semi-truck driver.”

A far cry from the used truck he initially bought to start the business, Hawley said he started buying everything new about five years ago.

“In the first five years of the business, we never had any issues, but the fear of breaking down kept me up at night – especially when I had drivers driving through the night,” he said. “We buy extended warranties and maintenance plans – that gives me a piece of mind. I’m proud of that – our vehicles get washed every week. We tell our drivers, ‘Everything at Premier is premier.’ Our trucks are clean inside and out, and our drivers wear uniforms and are professional. If you’re spending a boatload of money to send one of our drivers to North Dakota, we better look like (we want to do it).”

Hawley said Premier Logistics is built on a customer-based philosophy.

“I know we’re not shipping a heart for a transplant or anything like that, but we treat it that way,” he said. “All of our customers get a personalized email notification when we pick up or deliver. Our response time to any email is three minutes – the customer means something.”
Big growth
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawley said the shift seen in the shipping industry nationwide could also be seen in his company.

“During COVID, we had customers sending us all over – to Alabama, Louisiana and Texas,” he said. “I brought on another employee to help – it was a great investment.”

Hawley said this uptick in business also led to partnerships.

“We were sending our drivers out too far, so we needed to find alliances out there,” he said. “I found carriers (similar to) Premier Logistics nationwide to use so I didn’t have to send my drivers out so far.”

Hawley said Premier Logistics saw exponential growth from the beginning of October 2021 to the end of September 2022.

“We grew 100% (partly due to) this new service,” he said. “Our growth was basically with the same customers, but we now provide them with partnerships and are their transportation department for all modes of transportation… (helping) take a lot off their plates. Everything we do provides a cost-saving measure.”

Hawley said some of Premier’s customers have locations nationwide.

“These current customers know us from the past when all we provided was assets (trucks) and how we handled their business from pickup to delivery,” he said. “With now adding our broker side, our customers are asking to do more business to take more off their plates and become their transportation department.”

Though it started only serving customers locally, Hawley said Premier Logistics will occasionally now send drivers to further distances.

// Logistics owner Bill Hawley (back row, middle) with his wife Jenny, two daughters, two sons and two dogs. Hawley said the growth Premier Logistics has experienced wouldn’t be possible without the support of his family. Submitted Photo

“In a nutshell, we’d rather fill our trucks first (instead of using an alliance elsewhere),” he said. “I recently sent a driver to North Dakota. In this instance, it made the driver happy. They’d complain if we were doing it all the time, but they like to do it occasionally. I’d broker the job if they didn’t want to do it. All our business took off, but much of our growth was from the brokering side of things.”

Hawley said he sees the company’s growth to continue.

“Our goal, including assets, is to see another 50% increase in the next fiscal year,” he said.

In addition, Hawley said Premier Logistics is dabbling in the warehouse business.

“Right now, we have a small warehouse and do whatever customers need,” he said. “We will soon outgrow our current location. We can do distribution, cross-loading with other carriers and shuttling services with our warehousing.”

In other words, Hawley said the sky’s the limit for Premier Logistics.

For more information about Premier Logistics, visit

share arrow printer bookmark flag

Trending View All Trending