For twenty years and counting, Paul Bergin Steel & Concrete have been delivering industry-leading bespoke farm building solutions to farmers across Tipperary and surrounding counties. We travelled to the picturesque village of Rosegreen in the Premier County’s agricultural heartland and touched base with Paul to find out more about this excellent, customer-focussed operation, which provides complete, professional, value-added one-stop shop solutions from start to finish.
Over the past two decades, Paul Bergin has developed a stellar reputation for erecting the full range of high-quality farm buildings, invariably completing every project safely, on time and to the farmer’s precise specification. Every aspect of each project is handled in-house from start to finish and Paul works hand in hand with farmers from inception through to completion to ensure that they are always happy with the end product.
Countless satisfied customers across counties Tipperary, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny – including 2019 Zurich Farm Insurance Farming Independent Farmer of the Year David Russell – readily testify that Paul Bergin Steel & Concrete’s products and service levels cannot be beaten
“One of our biggest selling points is that we provide the complete job from start to finish,” the Tipperary man confirms. “Regardless of what type of building the farmer requires, we can come in and talk to them at the design stage and then carry out all the building work from start to finish and provide one point of contact instead of him having to deal with a number of different people. It’s easier that way and the farmer knows everything will come together and be done to the highest standard.”
Quality finish is an obvious prerequisite, as is punctuality. In the agri sector, customers simply cannot afford to be messed around or put on the long finger. “You have to deliver a quality building and you can’t delay them. You have to get it done as quickly as possible, safely and to a high standard of workmanship,” says Paul.
While farmers will always push for the best price possible, there’s no substitute for quality. To this end, every job carried out by Paul Bergin and his team offers tremendous long-term value as the buildings are built to perform and to last: “We will always agree a fair price, of course, but the main objective is that they are happy with the quality of the work and with the standard of the finished product. From a farmer’s perspective, it’s not always about the cheapest job – they definitely prefer to get the quality.”
The genesis of Paul Bergin Steel & Concrete dates back to 2001. Paul, who had travelled nationwide working as a contract boner, initially started off working from home doing repair jobs at weekends. However, after the meat factory in Clonmel closed down in the early ‘noughties, many of his colleagues got involved in the mushroom business and he picked up a steady volume of work fitting out shelving and building pack houses for the mushroom farmers.
“The mushrooms really took off in South Tipp and that got me started,” he recalls. “Three or four years later, I started to do slatted tanks, milking parlours and cubicle sheds, looking after the full job from start to finish, generally covering within a 30-mile radius – South Tipp, North Cork and into Waterford and a little bit into Kilkenny as well.”
Twenty-twenty was a busy year, with a large variety of projects successfully delivered, including two calf sheds with automatic feeding systems during the summer and a large 300-unit cubicle shed for Kilfeacle-based dairy farmer Charles Crosse. “As we pick up a lot of repeat work and business through word of mouth, we don’t have to travel too far,” Paul continues. “We still carry out a lot of repair work as well – no job is too big or too small.”
Direct, full-time employment is generated for a crew of six as well as some casual labour during particularly busy times. “We have two men working full time in the workshop and local customers can come here and get any repair work done. We also make heavy duty galvanised feeding equipment which has built up to be a successful part of the business which we sell on done deal and deliver to every county nationwide.”
His wife Imelda runs the office on a full time basis, looking after all the paperwork for the building side of the business and the farming side.
“It’s the quality of our work that sells our equipment and word of mouth is a big part of that. Once you have satisfied customers, they will pass the word on to others. All of our sheds are CE-certified and fully grant approved. Customers know they will get a quality solution and that we will look after them.”
Experience also plays a big part in this. Paul Bergin Steel & Concrete have been constructing farm buildings for a long time now and they clearly know what they are doing. Not surprisingly, they have a healthy order book ahead of them for 2021: “This year is nearly booked up already,” says Paul. “We have six-eight months’ work ahead of us and we’ll focus all of our attention on each of these projects as you are only as good as your last job.
“Relationships are very important too and getting on with your customers. We have good relationships with all the farmers we work for and that’s very important. I’d know them all very well and you do your level best to get the work done as soon as they call you. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve managed to hold onto all of our customers.”
As a farmer himself, Paul possesses an innate, instinctive understanding of his customers’ needs. He had the distinction of erecting a stunning 50-unit rotary parlour at Corbally House in Thurles for 2019 Farmer of the Year David Russell and his father Loughlin. Indeed, his working relationship with the Russells has been extended beyond this as Paul, who runs a 45-hectare beef finishing farm, is also contract rearing their dairy replacement stock. “I’m also in the process of doing a shed for their calving cows.”
Going forward, Paul says his objective is to consolidate rather than expand the business: “I’d be happy to keep it at the size it’s at,” he concludes. “I believe the only way to provide a really good, personal service is to be there on the job yourself and to work on the ground alongside your men. Rather than taking on too many jobs and being too spread out, I’d prefer to keep close control of things and deal directly with all my customers.”
Paul Bergin Steel & Concrete,
Tel: 086 8208494.
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 3, May/June 2021