Honesty, reliability, and safety drive King Lifting forward as it takes on diverse new markets 

Family owned and operated heavy lifting and plant movement services provider, King Lifting, has seen significant success in recent years. A family-first attitude, strategic acquisitions, and European expansion have ensured the company’s position as an industry forerunner. What started out as a small, family-run operation is now a multinational partner to customers across the UK, Ireland, Germany, and more. As Managing Director, Tristan King, reveals: “The company was founded in 1981 by a gentleman called Bob King. It was first established in Bristol, which is where our head office remains to this day. It started off as a broker, with an existing client base from Bob’s previous company. He found lifting equipment that was available in the market and used it to support his client’s projects.  

King Lifting All Terrain crane“Once the company picked up speed, Bob decided to invest in his own equipment. He started off with one crane and built from there. We now have 12 cranes at one location, and another 15 that were brought into the business through an acquisition of a company in Swindon. We opened a few additional branches, and there was some diversification in terms of moving into the plant mechanical movement sector. This meant we were no longer just working with cranes and lifting equipment. We also handle and install refrigeration units and chillers.   

Optimised operations 

“Synergy is at the core of our business model. Our main offering is crane rental, and then alongside that we have a planned mechanical installation division, and a training division. Within the core business, we have a heavy cranes and engineering division, which offers larger equipment rentals. There’s also a transport division, which is where we have heavy haulage that’s predominantly used to service our own equipment, but we can offer rentals that way as well.  

“As part of our crane hire service, we work with the crane operators to provide a full, bespoke contract lifting service. We manage the whole operation from start to finish and provide all the relevant documentation to support the lifting process. In the plant and mechanical movement part of the business, we install the plant units ourselves. We work with manufacturing machines and large presses, any type of equipment that requires a specialist touch. 

“Geographically speaking, the company is split into UK and European divisions. Our European operation is run out of our Dublin offices, but we trade all throughout Europe, including lots of major partnerships in Germany, Switzerland, and Holland. Most of our work over there is to do with installing data centres, which is a market that we’ve seen significant growth in over the past couple of years.  

“The company has grown significantly through organic growth, diversification, and expansion into new regions. We now employ around 300 people, with a turnover of around £55 million. That’s a pretty significant increase, especially when you consider our turnover in 2000 was around £16 million. We’ve experienced rapid growth since 2014, following a strategic restructuring and optimisation of day-to-day business practices.”  

Focus on service Large metal hook chains

In today’s competitive market, companies need to stand out if they want a chance at success. Tristan discusses what makes King Lifting unique: “We’re a very service driven business. We don’t necessarily drive business to us. Instead, we have strong word of mouth and a good reputation within the industry. When a client approaches us, they get the best possible service. We take the enquiry, develop it based on our capabilities, and then deliver on, and often exceed, our client’s expectations. A lot of the work we do is repeat business. If you do one project for a client to a high enough standard, it’s highly likely they will come back for two or three more. That’s why service is so important, it helps build relationships.  

“We also put a strong emphasis on our site delivery. We offer cost-effective solutions with one of the youngest fleets in the UK. It helps drive business across the entire company structure, and it’s something that unites all of us. Partnerships with clients, suppliers, and team members are vital to the success of any business like ours. 

“Additionally, we operate our own workshop facilities, which gives us greater control over our operations and eliminates the need for subcontractors. We can also do a lot of our own maintenance, we have a 12 monthly and a six monthly servicing regime for all of our vehicles and equipment, which helps keep everything in good shape.” 

Eco-friendly business practices make King Lifting a preferred option for climate conscious clients too, as Tristan asserts: “We’re driven to operate as sustainably as possible. The best way we can improve the carbon footprint of our plant is through improvements and investments in technology. We’re now seeing the use of hydrogen and electric vehicles. As those become more advanced and specialised, we’ll be able to increase the energy efficiency of our fleet overall. We haven’t set ourselves a definitive target, as our focus with sustainability is to support innovation within the market. We’ve also adopted several internal schemes, including a company car policy, which offers staff incentives for driving fully electric or hybrid vehicles. Over 90 percent of our company cars are now sustainable alternatives.”  

Family ethos 

Above all else, keeping King Lifting close to its family ties has ensured its long and ongoing legacy. As Tristan concludes: “Ultimately, we’re a family business. We’ve grown so much over the years, but we keep that family ethos very much within the company and its culture. Everyone here is part of the family, and that includes our customers. We recently launched an employee benefits platform for members of the team, that’s been operating for about a year now. We also keep up with inflation, demonstrating a 22 percent average pay rise across the business over the last three years.  

“Additionally, I’ve always strived to create an open-door environment. Work is only one part of people’s lives, and we’ve updated our mental health policy to reflect that. The result is a community-driven culture, full of people who really care for one another. We have low turnover, and the people who are with us really believe in the company and what it does. They are the reason we’ve gotten to where we are, and no doubt they will be the driving force behind our future successes as well.”