Focussed on offering farmers and contractors both value and quality, GF Coyle is one of Ireland’s premier providers of second-hand tractors and farm machinery.
We popped into their busy base at Nicholastown, Athy and had a chat with George Coyle Jnr. to get an insight into this exceptional family business, which provides unrivalled solutions to a growing range of customers nationwide.
The genesis of GF Coyle Tractors & Farm Machinery dates back to 2006, when the company was established in County Kildare by George Coyle Snr., selling mainly new grass equipment in the early days. Today, the business is fronted by the founder’s son, also George, and has expanded its offering to specialise in the sale of second-hand tractors, agri machinery and telehandlers to customers from the length and breadth of Ireland.
Sourcing high-quality tractors and machinery – predominantly from the UK – GF Coyle afford farmers a value-added service by providing excellent, dependable products at a fair price, enabling them to reduce overheads and increase profit margins.
While they are renowned near and far for their expertise and in-depth knowledge of the New Holland marque, GF Coyle stock all makes and models of tractors from 30hp up to 300hp and have a large, diverse range of fresh machinery (mowers, tedders, balers, hedge cutters, fertiliser spreaders, straw choppers, telehandlers, etc.) on hand at any given time, ready for immediate delivery. And furthermore, as tillage farmers themselves (winter cereal primarily and hay for the equine market), they have a wealth of practical experience and thus know precisely what a farmer or contractor expects when they invest in their fleet.
The fact that the business effectively grew out of a home farming enterprise gives GF Coyle a key advantage, as George Jnr. notes: “As farmers, we know the products inside-out and we know what farmers need and what is going to work for them. When you are getting into that more-techy stuff, you can have all the training in the world but there’s no substitute for practical experience. We endeavour to keep up with all the modern technology. You can’t beat practical experience.”
As well as tapping into quality and value for money, customers of GF Coyle also have peace of mind that their tractor or machine will perform at optimal levels: “We only take in the very best gear and I am extremely confident in everything we sell.”
From their Kildare base, GF Coyle provide an island-wide service. “Believe it or not, almost half of our customers are from Cork – definitely 40% anyway,” George Jnr. continues. “It’s strange how things work and you can find yourself in a geographical pocket. If you get a tractor into a particular area, word of mouth spreads around and you end up getting a lot of repeat business in that area.
“Some customers will be looking for a specific tractor and we will source that provided we can find value and straight machines. But it’s a given that any machine we sell has to be of the highest quality. I’ve turned down a lot of business because I didn’t feel that the tractor or machine offered both value and quality. I’d rather me be disappointed than the farmer be disappointed because bad news travels fast.”
What kind of year has 2020 been for the business? With the restrictions and lockdowns and loss of earnings across the economy, has GF Coyle been adversely affected? “The coronavirus situation has been strange. It was very slow after the first lockdown but then things picked up and we were perhaps busier than we would have been in a normal year. I think what happened was a lot of part-time farmers came home and realised that this is their staple; people were more focussed on farming and forgot about their city jobs.”
Reflecting on how the business has evolved over the years, George continues: “We actually started off selling a lot of new grass equipment but we were importing it from France and the Czech Republic and found that we were having trouble with the availability of parts. With second-hand machinery, we can literally access parts the next day if we need them.
“Also, new machinery is expensive and there’s a very fine line between whether or not the expenditure is justified. A man will get much better value out of a good-quality second-hand machine and everything here is geared towards unlocking that value. We don’t have a state-of-the-art facility or any unnecessary overheads but, because we are farmers ourselves, we know tractors through and through – both in terms of the specifications and the work conditions. We are in the farmer’s shoes.”
As a traditional family business, GF Coyle is committed to providing a friendly service with a personal touch. Between them, George Jnr. and his parents George Snr. and Carol ensure the smooth operation of the business.
Having studied engineering, George Jnr. spent a year working in England and it was while here that he built up some invaluable contacts. “I got very friendly with local contractors and dealerships and I maintained those contacts. I travel over most weekends myself and try to see everything first-hand before buying anything. I bring the good machinery back home with me and it is all hand-picked. Whether I take home ten or 30 in a month, they will be good ones only. If the quality isn’t there, I won’t buy.”
Generally, GF Coyle might sell up to 100 units in a given year. At the time of writing, up to 75 tractors had been imported so far in 2020, although the market has of course been volatile with a lot of fluctuations for obvious reasons. “We sell tractors mostly – because that’s where my passion lies,” George notes. “It’s a hobby for me as well as a job. A telehandler, for example, is a more difficult machine as it’s in the yard and there isn’t the same personal connection that the farmer tends to have with his tractor.
“We mostly specialise in New Holland, again stemming back to what we know,” the Kildare man concludes. “They are very popular in this area and are used locally on a large scale so we know them inside-out. They’re very good sellers, are reliable and parts are readily available.”
G F Coyle Tractors & Farm Machinery,
Tel: 087 387 3737
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 1, January/February 2021