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Freight Guys’ Micha Leinwand: Prague Shipping is a Generation Behind

Just like with buying airline tickets or booking hotels, you can save money by using a third-party service.

 

Many people who have wanted to send a package have been shocked that the shipping fee is sometimes more than the package is worth.

But there are modern options that many people and small businesses are overlooking. Freight Guys offers a service that not only saves money but also saves time and brings convenience.

Freight Guys doesn’t actually own any trucks or planes. They instead offer an online interface that lets people find the best option for shipping large or small consignments. Customers can find prices and make arrangements anytime day or night or over the weekend.

Freight Guys is currently focusing on shipments to and from the Czech Republic to the UK/USA but also has strong networks within the United States and the United Kingdom.

The packages and the heavy freight are handled by well-known or quality lesser-known shipping companies, but the person sending the package is a client of Freight Guys, who can offer even the smallest business the equivalent of a volume discount.

Micha Leinwand, the founder of Freight Guys, compared it to booking flights or hotels or ordering out food. Virtually nobody goes directly to an airline to buy a ticket anymore. People go to a third-party website that offers a discount and an option of routes and carriers. “You can still book through an airline, but you will likely pay a lot more,” Leinwand said.

For small businesses, every penny counts, and shipping is an expense that can be easily cut. “I’m not talking about the Walmarts and the Amazons. … I am talking about the smallest shop — the handbag store, the health, and fitness equipment store. Six boxes a week or maybe a pallet a month. They don’t have any power, any leverage to come to carriers and say we need better rates,” says Leinwand.

“So that is where companies like us come in to play. Because we are rolling hundreds of millions of dollars to those carriers. So by coming to us, you are making your warehouse as big as our presence,” he said. “I bring them the volume, they give me the rates.”

Freight Guys website lets customers at a glance choose the best option from various shipping companies like DHL, UPS, or TNT, as well as what some lesser-known firms offer. Each of the main carriers has strengths in certain markets and weaknesses in others. With Freight Guys platform you can choose what is best for each package. 

“What I’m trying to show people in the market is our platform. Go online 24/7. You don’t need any office hours to be able to get your prices. Get all the options that you need. Sometimes UPS will be better, sometimes TNT will be better. Sometimes FedEx will be better. And just let us know which one you want. In the morning you will get the labels. And it will be picked up. You don’t have to go anywhere,” he said, adding that in addition to price, Freight Guys offers speed and great service.

 

“It can be a single business in the Czech Republic that has a parcel that wants to ship to Manchester. Or three parcels that need to go to London and instead of paying CZK 5,000, they can do it for half. So the people that come to our company to ship are our customers, not the carrier’s customers,” Leinwand said.

“A lot of people will say, ‘I have a long-term relationship with my current shipper, and I don’t want to lose this relationship.’ That’s fine because what we come to offer is in the background. We’re not the one that is actually taking the parcel. If you want to be with UPS, you can still go with UPS. UPS is our partner carrier. Just pick UPS. It will still be going through the same system as if you were going on the UPS website to order your parcel to be picked up,” he said.

“The only change is that when the UPS driver comes, you’ll give him our label. So for their back-office, it will say you have to bill Freight Guys and not bill Mr. Jones from the health shop. So the prices you will see will be from our account, based on our heavy discount, rather than whatever discount, if any, UPS would give you. So that is the deal,” he added.

Freight Guys began operation in the US in 2009, and started its Prague service two-and-a-half years ago, almost by accident. Leinwand moved to Europe in 2012 for personal reasons and came to Prague in 2014. Originally he was working nights, due to the time difference, to take care of business in the US. But he saw an opportunity here.

“In the US, the shipping world is a generation ahead. Go online, get a quote. You have multiple options. You just click it and ship it. Here you have to call every single company, and how many carriers do you know that are servicing between Czech Republic, USA and the UK?” he said, adding that people aren’t even aware of all the options.

He mentioned one of the smaller carriers that offer good rates. “Excellent service. This may be slower than FedEx sometimes, but if you don’t have a rush and need to be there overnight, and in most cases, you don’t, it will be just fine. You save money.”

Leinwand also warns people against making low price the only factor to decide on. “It’s important when you go for rates not to go for cheap, cheap, cheap because, in the end, it is going to cost you a lot of money. You get what you pay for. We never go to new markets claiming we’re the cheapest. No, we are not the cheapest. We are looking to service people with a relationship, be able to understand their business, and therefore resolve problems. When you send a letter or something important for a trade show that needs to be on time…if something goes wrong and you don’t have that relationship with your shipping company…you’re going to find yourself in a tough spot,” he said. 

“You want to have someone by your side who will make sure to pick up the phone at ten o’clock in the evening and do hoops and loops to rescue this pallet and find out what has to be done … to get it to the trade show on time,” he said. “We have to be competitive, as much as we can, but we also pay attention to service. And in the long run, it pays off. Our name is out there, people know us. People come because of referrals.”