When the going gets tough, and the loads get seriously big, you need to make sure you’re dealing with experienced truckers and heavy haulage experts.

Anybody that tuned in to TV show MegaTruckers and watched the guys at Heavy Haulage Australia knows what it takes to transport a major load from one end of the country to the other. The now-famous company went bust in 2015, showing just how tough it is to move loads to their destination on time and turn a profit.

If you’re thinking of transporting a heavy load, or something oversized or just plain difficult, you need to know that it’s in safe hands.

Heavy haulage is a job for the specialists, because there is simply so much that can go wrong. Before handing over the deposit and your cargo, it pays to make some checks. If you’re planning on sending a big load, be prepared to ask some tough questions.

Insurance and clearance

First you need to know that the company involved has the insurance to deal with a major load. You might be insured, but once a large load goes on the back of the truck, you need to know that the haulage company is covered for just about every eventuality.

Heavy transport is fraught with dangers; things can and do go wrong. The company you use needs to act responsibly, have enough public liability insurance and have all their paperwork in order.

You may need special licences to transport large loads through major urban centres. Make sure that your load is legal and signed off by the local authorities.

Do you need a police escort? If your load is large enough to create problems, you may well need an escort on busy highway sections, or even the whole way, and roads might need to be closed. You need to know this in advance, as it will make a big difference to your overall costs.

Route planning

Has the company planned the route down to bridge heights, tight corners and other hazards? They need to have done this; if not, the fastest route on paper might turn out to be an impossible mission in the real world. Then there is a support crew to consider with serious loads. It helps to have outriders leading the way to clear difficult junctions and spot potential problems before the truck arrives.

Vehicles and loading

You should ask what truck they are using, too, as a heavy load requires a serious truck and you need to know that’s what will be coming.

Loading and unloading is another issue that you should be concerned about - it’s a specialist task that can include cranes and all manner of specialist equipment. So you need to have all this ironed out in advance and included in the quote.

There’s an awful lot that goes into heavy haulage. Just remember to ask questions, analyse references and pick the company that has been there, seen it and done it before.