Marcus Cooksey shares his take on going from software engineer to fleet owner
Manage your business and accounting with DUKE.AI app easily
The only way to understand the complexities of the freight hauling industry is to be hands-on – as a driver, mechanic, bookkeeper or even a fleet owner-operator. That’s why when my cousin needed help tracking the day-to-day expenses of his trucking business, I knew I had to learn his industry inside and out. This was the only way I could truly understand the challenges that my cousin and other operators were facing in their businesses.
As a career software engineer and developer, I have always embraced new challenges. My work is all about creativity and finding new ways to solve problems. So, I was intrigued by the idea of learning about the freight hauling business and seeing how I could use my skills to help someone in a completely new domain. I was also intrigued with the trucking industry as a whole.
How to start your own trucking company
That was the start of my new career in trucking. In 2015, I launched a business called LUI Transport, purchased my first tractor and started hauling goods shipped in Drive Van trailers and eventually switched to hauling hazardous materials in 2017. I quickly recognized the challenges of the business, such as needing strong bookkeeping and accounting to produce the necessary Profit & Loss reports. I applied for a small business loan to expand my business, and I received the loan specifically because of my thorough bookkeeping and P&L balance sheet.
As I grew LUI Transport, I found standard accounting software programs to be manually intensive and time-consuming. My wife and I spent an average of 40 hours per month entering numbers into a computer program. I wondered how other drivers and fleet operators managed their accounting when it required so much time and effort. I thought they needed to focus their time and energy on running the business, driving and delivering products – not computer programs. I knew this was a big issue for my cousin, LUI Transport, and other owner operators.
A Best Receipt App for Owner-Operator
I was determined to make things easier for trucking businesses and people like my cousin and I was inspired to create a new and better accounting program. In 2018, I built a cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting software platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to handle routine accounting tasks for drivers while they are on the road.
I considered the program a travel companion or sidekick for truckers, so I named it “DUKE”, which is actually an acronym for Developmental Understanding of Known Examples. DUKE allows drivers to automate their accounting on their smartphones (iOS and Android) so they can upload documents and manage their books in real time as they travel.
DUKE is also easy to set up and use. You simply need to know how to capture images and send emails from your smartphone for bookkeeping and accounting. For example, you snap a photo of a Settlement statement or gas receipt and send it to DUKE to file in the proper report. Our data scientist and engineers train DUKE to do most of the legwork for you and fetch your reports when you need them.
How an owner-operator manages bookkeeping and accounting with DUKE.AI App
DUKE helps operators reclaim time, effort and money to maintain IRS-mandated bookkeeping requirements. It offers document processing, CPA support, tax liability reports, profit & loss reports, analytics and other features.
DUKE also allows owner-operators to focus on what’s really important – keeping their business running smoothly and staying safe on the road.
The opportunity to develop DUKE tied nicely with my background as a software engineer and developer at Texas Instruments Inc. I spent 15 years as an applications engineer and business development manager at Texas Instruments, Inc., where I created applications for the automotive industry. I did not know then that I would be starting a trucking business or an automated accounting business (DUKE.AI), but this has been one of the most fulfilling projects of my career.
DUKE.AI was fortunate to have forged a strong partnership with Divergence.ai to help implement DUKE’s cloud-based framework, and supply a pipeline of Data Scientists to develop further enhancements to DUKE.
DUKE currently has more than 100 customers in the freight hauling industry and is working with customers in the retail industry, as well.
About Marcus Cooksey:
Marcus Cooksey, founder of DUKE.AI, LLC, is an engineer with more than 20 years of experience as a software developer at Texas Instruments (TI) Inc. His jobs at TI included building Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) products for some of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the market. He has traveled the world working with automobile manufacturers to make computer systems in cars safer.