The importance of choosing the right heavy machinery moving company

When embarking on any procurement process, best practice usually guides the buyer towards ensuring the chosen supplier has the necessary skills, industry experience and track record to provide the services required.

Choosing the right heavy machinery moving company

When choosing the right heavy machinery moving company, there are number of key criteria that we recommend you evaluate to ensure your project will be completed safely and on time.

These criteria include:

  • Holding appropriate and current accreditations
  • Project managements and planning skills
  • Knowledge of regulations
  • Knowledge of hazards and pitfalls that could be encountered
  • Experience of your sector and type of machine moving
  • Understanding of your customer needs and the ability to meet them
  • Experienced, skilled and well-trained operatives
  • Access to the right machinery
  • Reputation
  • Availability
  • Price


In the machine moving industry it is important to be SafeContractor accredited, as well being a member of an industry recognised pre-qualification system such as the Achilles Utilities Vendor Database. ISO 9001 certification is also an integral aspect for a business as this management system is built around quality improvements and delivering complete customer satisfaction.

By holding these accreditations and standards, your heavy machinery moving specialist is demonstrating that they have regularly audited their processes, that all regulatory legislation will be met, and that they are committed to ensuring your machine moving project will be managed cost effectively and safely.

Project management & planning

The primary objective is to always ensure that the heavy machinery moving project goes ahead as planned without any incidents occurring, such as damage to the machine or other equipment, damage to buildings on the transport route, or any harm to persons involved.

Moving heavy machinery is a very specialised service, and Merritts is one of the very few companies that have the in-house capability, experience, and knowledge to provide a comprehensive turnkey package to its customers.

We regularly publish guides and advice article with tips for planning a heavy machine moving project, and how to prepare for the move. We operate using a trusted process which has evolved throughout the years. Your chosen provider should be able to demonstrate they have perfected their craft to ensure every aspect of your project will be taken care of so that each client receives the best service possible.

Health & safety regulations

It will be the responsibility on your contractor to provide a work environment which is safe for all employees, sub-contractors, customers, and members of the public. This objective is achieved through the development and communication of safe working practices and the provision of safe plant and equipment.

We demonstrate our commitment to health and safety prior to the commencement of works by providing you with a suite of documents to evidence our credentials.

This gives you confidence that your project will be carried out safely and in accordance with the required legislation. These include method statements, risk assessments, lift plans, personnel training records and plant and equipment inspection certificates.

Our health & safety manager is a former HSE inspector, and part of his role is to ensure all operatives are fully trained and all plant and equipment is regularly maintained and serviced in order to meet the required LOLER regulations.

Operating sustainably and using electric vehicles can also be a determining factor, particularly in clean environments within the food industry.

Evidence of regular maintenance and inspection of vehicles would also be top of our list of H&S requirements.

Also, they should be willing to visit site and to carry out a visual assessment.

Hazards & pitfalls

By choosing the right heavy machinery moving company you will also have a partner that has prior experience of the likely hazards and pitfalls to consider.

Whether you are moving just one heavy machine or relocating an entire factory of heavy machinery, you need to ensure the company you appoint has in-depth knowledge and an appreciation for the logistics involved.

You will want to know how long it will take to load, move, and unload each machine, and what kind of downtime your company should expect to plan for. We would expect the company to understand the routes to be travelled and to have researched the route before to prepare and plan for any potential hazards or disruptions. Also, depending on the road transport requirements, there may be the need to apply for special permits such as a traffic regulation order.

Other aspects to consider are access restrictions and factory floor conditions.

Carrying out an initial consultation and providing preliminary advice, helps to ensure that any potential pitfalls are anticipated and the machinery moving project is carried our safely and on time. The aim is to help you achieve production line efficiency and ensure that manufacturing can be restored as soon as possible.

Sector expertise

It is often a huge advantage to appoint a specialist who has experience of your sector. Having an appreciation of factors that affect the move such as sensitivity and confidentiality issues, critical timescales, working in confined spaces, and working in low and high care production areas can make a huge difference to achieving a successful outcome.

If your contractor has experience of your sector there is even more assurance that your project will run smoothly.

Understanding of your customer needs and ability to meet them

When we are appointed to a project, we are normally working for a machinery agent or distributor, a machinery manufacturer, or the machine owner/manufacturing company. 

Therefore, we think it is also important to be able to empathise and understand customers as a person in order to fully appreciate what is at stake and important to them as an individual. Carrying out the project safely, on time and within budget is a given on all of our projects, but not everyone in the decision-making chain has the same priorities, so being able to recognise this helps to ensure all stake holders are happy.

It is also worth asking if they can add value in other ways such as signposting you towards information that could help save you money such as tax relief or import tax deferral opportunities.

Experienced, skilled and well-trained operatives

A vital criteria is to ensure skills and qualifications of those involved match the requirements of the project. Factors to consider are how long they have been employed and evidence of ongoing training and assessment.

Every member of the Merritts team is committed to the delivery of a high quality service.  All personnel undertake an ongoing training and development programme to promote multi-skilling and safe working practices to ensure our clients are provided with a cost effective and competent labour source.

Our site teams consist of SSSTS trained foremen, riggers, HGV Class 1 & 2 drivers, crane operators and electrical & mechanical engineering specialists. Merritts also employ fully certified slinger signallers, banksmen and appointed persons to provide competent supervision when carrying out the moving and lifting of heavy machinery and equipment.

Access to the right machinery

We would be asking whether the company had moved this type of machinery before, what specialist transport and lifting equipment will be needed and do they have this equipment in-house.

Will they be able to provide the specialist forklifts and cranes with the capacity required to lift, move and load the machinery. Do they have the specialist trailers of the required length, height and load capacity to safely transport the heavy machinery to the required destination?

The Merritts fleet incorporates an extensive range of modern vehicles; most of which have been custom built to our own specification to fulfil the requirements of the machine transport & installation industry. This ensures we are able to provide customers with lifting solutions for any machinery moving project.


It takes years of training and experience to acquire the knowledge and skill sets required to successfully complete a heavy machinery moving project. We would be evaluating the company history and reputation. This includes its health and safety track record and the professional appearance of their personnel and equipment. Remember that whilst on site they may be representing your company, therefore your reputation may be at stake.

Your equipment is too valuable to risk getting damaged on route, so don’t be afraid to take references from other customers this company has worked for, and ask about their experience of using them.


To get the best provider and ensure the required assessments and documentation can be completed, we would expect to have to receive an initial enquiry at least a week in advance. However, this does not mean your enquiry cannot be dealt with in a shorter timescale. We will always do our best to accommodate.

Additionally, the best service providers will work with you at your convenience to meet deadlines that ensure new machines are delivered and installed on time to minimise production downtime, often working out of hours and during factory shutdowns if necessary.


No evaluation matrix would be complete without price being one of the criteria. However, it should not be the driving influence as a price cannot be placed on a high-quality personnel service, senior level project management and the provision of suitable insurance cover for all goods included within the project cost. You will also want to be certain that safety will not be compromised when evaluating a lower price.

Merritts overview

Merritts’ client base comprises manufacturers, suppliers and end users of heavy industrial machinery and equipment. We operate throughout the UK and overseas across a multitude of industrial and manufacturing sectors. Our customers range from local SMEs to global organisations.

If we can assist with your next heavy machinery moving project, please get in touch.

June 12, 2023 by James Merritt

Share this story on