Supplying a complete range of tractor parts for all makes and models, George Milliken Tractors has been providing an unrivalled service to a growing list of satisfied customers for a quarter of a century.
We popped into the company’s spacious, well-appointed and well-stocked yard in Dromore, County Down and got an insight into the history, current well-being and future plans of this thriving business from the eponymous founder / proprietor.
George Milliken Tractors recently marked its 25th anniversary. During those years, the business has prided itself on providing a comprehensive range of quality tractor parts at an affordable price to farmers near and far, at home and abroad. The business continues to expand, supplying parts to regular and new customers throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as well as into developing export markets in every corner of the globe.
George’s excellent reputation has spread through word of mouth – with a little help from that modern phenomenon known as the internet. The success of his business is proof positive that, when you place a firm emphasis on quality, value and service, then people will be willing to do business with you!
George Milliken Tractors was originally established in 1988 in The Maze area, close to Lisburn in County Antrim. Here, George built his own yard on land owned by his father. Over the next few years, the business grew and expanded to such an extent that in 1992 George Milliken Tractors relocated to a more spacious facility – its current site at Mossvale Road in Dromore, County Down.
Thousands of tractors have been broken. As well as sourcing and breaking tractors to satisfy a strong local demand, parts are exported to countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Dubai, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Thailand and various Eastern European destinations. In addition to the core business, George also hauls tractors, machinery and parts all over the British Isles.
Reflecting on the genesis of the business, George notes: “I set the business up in the late 1980s. I had been working with tractors for a good few years before that and decided to start out on my own. So, in ’88 I started breaking tractors myself and I just grew the business from there. In the beginning, it was just myself here. Before I knew it, I was exporting tractor parts to places all over the world and the business grew gradually.”
It would take all day to type up a list of makes and models covered. Suffice to say, there isn’t a tractor that George Milliken Tractors doesn’t provide parts for. “All types of tractors are provided for,” the founder confirms. “We buy the tractors in from farmers and tractor dealers throughout England, Scotland and Ireland and break them down into parts. At any given time, we would stock a vast range of parts here on site for all makes and models of tractors. We have a one-and-a-half-acre site here and we have a massive stock of tractors for breaking and a wide range of all parts – engines, wheels, gearboxes etc. … all different bits and pieces, basically anything a farmer might want. We also strip down gearboxes and engines.”
Price is never a stumbling block. George has never been one to drive a hard bargain and his philosophy that customers who get a fair deal will come back and do business again has served him well over the years. “We try to work with people and give them the best possible price,” he says. “We are decent about that and we don’t rob anybody.”
The bottom line is that a customer who is in the market for a used part is seeking an affordable solution. By providing this, George Milliken Tractors has spread its wings all over the world. “Obviously we do a lot of business in Ireland and the UK as well as Europe. A lot of parts go to Sweden, for example, and other continental countries. But we’ve also exported aparts to the Far East and the Middle East.
“As well as parts, we’ve also started to export complete used tractors to places like Sudan, Thailand and Pakistan – especially Massey Ferguson and Ford, which are in big demand.”
No stone is left unturned in ensuring that the whole process is as convenient, straightforward and hassle-free as humanly possible. To this end, all major forms of payment are accepted including credit and debit cards, while a prompt courier service is provided to get the part to its end user in double-quick time. If they prefer, locals can call in and collect and pay for the part on the spot.
Potential customers can check the stock online, make a quick phone call to the yard, send an email or call in in person to the yard, where three people are employed full time and George himself is always available to answer any queries.
George provides a personal touch and goes out of his way to make sure that customers are given parts and a service they are happy with. “Nine times out of ten, when somebody contacts us, we will have the part here. If not, then we will make it our business to go out and get it.
“We won’t see anybody stuck – and that includes after they’ve bought the part! If I sell something, I will stand over it. If somebody isn’t entirely happy with a part, I will either change it or give them their money back.”
Regarding his business here in Ireland, George adds: “Most of it would be in the North, but I also get calls from as far away as Cork and all over the island. A lot of locals would be calling in from Down and Antrim, Armagh and Tyrone, but people will ring from literally anywhere. We could get a phone call or an email from anywhere in the world. There’s always something new happening here every day.”
Looking to the future, George intends to keep going pretty much as he is – providing a wide range of quality tractor parts at the right price and with a strong back-up service. “We’ll keep plugging away,” he concludes. “These are hard times, but we’ll keep going. Things have changed and it can be quiet enough some times, especially at home, but the export market has become very important and has really kept the business ticking over. The internet has really opened this market up for us and it’s a vital part of our business now. We’re particularly busy exporting to Sweden and Poland and, of course, we are always on the look-out for tractors and telehandlers and anything else for breaking.”
George Milliken Tractors
Phone: 028 92693900
Fax: 028 92692100
Mobile: 07798 693 900
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 2 No 4, September 2014