Who are we?
THE COMPANY’S HISTORY
Our history with oversized transport began in 2007. We founded Schwerlast A.L. It is currently one of the largest Polish companies dealing with permits for oversized transports. The road to success, however, was full of numerous challenges and was associated with sacrifices and the need to make difficult decisions.
MY NAME IS
I am the founder of SCHWERLAST A.L. Since the beginning and I am responsible for the entire team that I have been creating.
I will be happy to tell you the story of our company.
The prospect of change for the better
I was only 19 years old when our first son was born in 2007. Rafał then graduated from college and started looking for the first serious job that would provide us with a livelihood. One advertisement and a call from the Employment Office turned out to be the lucky ones. After the interview, Rafał returned home with good news. We gained a new perspective – a permanent office job for PLN 600 a month, close to home. You had to start somewhere.
The beginnings of oversized transport and the time apart
Rafał was employed in one of the largest companies in the sector of oversized transport. Initially, he scanned tachograph charts and washed drivers’ showers, but after two weeks, the boss offered him a promotion with a raise to the position of a pilot of abnormal transports. With the acceptance of the offer, painful years of being apart began for us. We lived from arrival to departure, and spent most of our time together on the run. During this period, I graduated from high school and got my driving license.
I also approached the work of a consultant, which I have been dealing with since the age of 16, with greater commitment.
Within a year I became a sales leader and one of the best consultants in Poland. We spent time with our son playing and standing in queues at the post office to send packages with cosmetics. In the evenings, however, I left my son in the care of his grandparents and went on tour to meet a team of almost 100 consultants.
Years of hard work and difficult emotions
I devoted my free time to another job as a waitress in a restaurant and studying at a beauty school. The restaurant became a second home for me, while the rest of the time I spent in classes – often falling asleep during them due to lack of strength.
In 2011, I called Rafał with tears in my eyes. The reason was the lack of willingness to work, which drained all my energy due to humiliation in front of clients and insults in front of co-workers. After eight months of working as a waitress, I realized that my character does not allow me to submit myself, which gave me the motivation to create something of my own.
Registration of the company and the first large projects
Over the next four years, Rafał changed jobs twice. Thanks to higher earnings, we have gained greater financial stability. On a daily basis, the husband supported the employer as a pilot, and over time he also took over supervision of company permits. Working two jobs for the same pay quickly had an impact on satisfaction and well-being. I remember the day when Rafał proposed to set up a company that would deal with obtaining permits for carriers.
A week later (09/09/2011) Aleksander Ledwig’s Schwerlast company was officially registered. In 2013, Rafał resigned from his job and fully devoted himself to the development of the company and, finally, to his family. At that time, Natalia also joined us (who is still with us today :)). We have carried out orders for small and large companies with an important position on the market of dimensions in Poland. Delighted with success and proud of the growing business, unfortunately, we lost our vigilance.
Thoughtful actions, falls and ups
A cooperation with a company with a bad reputation appeared on the horizon, which wanted to entrust us with the full service of a large project. There was talk of numerous transports through many countries, a multitude of permits, coordination of civil and police pilots. Despite the warnings, we believed that the safeguards taken in the form of prepayments, a reliably drawn up contract and insurance of receivables – eliminate the chance of failure.
We lived in a mistake that led us to start fighting for tens of thousands of zlotys resulting from unpaid VAT. Over our heads appeared debt collection, the tax office, the court, and in addition – my threatened second pregnancy and the prospect of losing the company built for 3 years.
A week before the payment deadline at the tax office, a company contacted us with a proposal to handle a large, months-long project. We played va banque – we presented the conditions for receiving a full prepayment along with an advance payment for unforeseen situations. Our offer was accepted and its conditions met in the coming days, which allowed me to settle all financial obligations on time.
Lost trust is not easy to rebuild
The whole situation has affected our mental health and approach to ongoing projects. We stopped trusting customers and tightened the terms of contracts. We gave up servicing large clients in favor of smaller and – as we thought – safer companies. Work has become a fight for our values, money and reputation. Despite winning in court in 2016, we stopped hoping that we would ever get our money back.
Many changes also took place inside the company. I hired people from friends and family – without predispositions. The result of this decision was conflicts between employees, which gradually made me feel more and more guilty for the situation.
Return to the roots
I started the process of changes with the reconstruction of the team, which required the dismissal of people close to me, although in fact strangers. It cost me a lot of health problems, but over time I restored the original rhythm of my heartbeat, I said goodbye to panic attacks and depression. I regained faith in my own strength and the company thanks to my husband and the people who stood by me from the beginning. I remembered the mission that had set my heart on fire 9 years earlier.
I wanted to create a workplace that would provide us with joy and be comfortable for all employees. The rebuilding of the team paid off, and I looked at our workplace feeling grateful for the effort of each team member.
Reflections after 10 years of activity
The difficulties I had to face allowed us to discover the potential of the company. After 10 years, we understood that our value is to act against the opinion and beliefs of the industry. We continue to work according to the developed schemes, and our clients respect the agreed terms of the contract.
Today we are one of the largest companies in the country dealing with permits for oversized transports. We have set new goals, and our principles allow us to have a real impact on the development of clients, which gives us wings.
The oversized transport industry is a beautiful part of transport. Its members must show courage and responsibility, and at the same time be meticulous, full of calm and distance to its unpredictable face. Today, looking at our 18-person crew, I feel great gratitude that over 10 years ago Rafał answered that one call.