The north west’s premier farm building specialists

5 Jun , 2024  

Based on outskirts of Letterkenny, Co Donegal, THG Contracts are specialists when it comes to shuttering, tanks, sheds, concrete and milking parlours. Irish Tractor Agri & Plant touched base with proprietor Joe O’Donnell to hear more about the company’s services, projects and overall hopes for 2024.

These are busy times at THG Contracts and the plan for Joe O’Donnell and the rest of the team up in Prucklish, Termon on the outskirts of Letterkenny is to try and keep things that way for the foreseeable.

Employing four full-time staff, the company provides farmers across counties Donegal, Derry, Tyrone and Leitrim (and beyond) with a full range of agricultural building solutions.

Between Joe O’Donnell and his father Danny, who still helps out in the background at 73 years young, the two have more than six decades of experience when it comes to concrete work.

Irish Tractor Agri & Plant got the lowdown from Joe recently on how business has been going for them up in the country’s north west region.

“We had a couple of very good years there doing milking parlours all over the place,” he outlined.

“In recent times, it hasn’t been as busy but we’re still out every day covering a lot of areas through Derry and into Tyrone, and we were out as far as Arranmore Island there doing a storage unit for a fisherman out there.

“It has still been tipping away and, thankfully, there’s no bad patch but, like everywhere else, the run up to Christmas was mental. It’s not near as busy as parlours, but we’re still tipping away here and keeping busy.”

He added: “Nowadays, you have a lot of lads doing up sheds at the back of their houses for cars and that’s been busy for us. You have bits and pieces like that, so it’s tipping on alright.

“Like everything, we were lucky enough to get up and running well when things were going well and, at the minute now, we’re just sort of holding tight to what we have.”

Through its years of experience when it comes to shuttering and concrete works, THG Contracts is able to carry out and deliver projects from bespoke buildings in-house to groundwork’s through to turning the key in the lock.

Joe and his team have extensive knowledge in all aspects of the work from first breaking ground all the way to the project’s completion.

It’s a company which is renowned in its area and among its clients for quality workmanship and customer satisfaction and, at the moment, it is immersed in a number of different projects in and around the Tir Chonaill County.

“We’re on a project at the minute for a local publican here. He’s making a yard for himself and we’re at that now for him,” said Joe.

“We’ve another man there that we would’ve done a milking parlour for before and we’re back now putting up clear/transparent sheeting up on his shed at the moment.

“We’ve also done a couple of garages and actually shuttered a house recently from start to finish. It’s sort of the first one of its kind in the area and we actually did it for ourselves.”

So, with origins that date all the way back to 1985 when Joe’s father Danny returned home from England and began working in shuttering and concrete, the burning question is what has been the secret behind THG Contracts’ continued success?

How has a small start-up grown into what is today very much a tried and trusted business that holds a golden reputation among its customers?

For its proprietor Joe, it comes down to a couple of different factors but, above all, he sees the trust and reliability earned as being the most imperative.

“Around 90 percent of it is repeat business for us,” he said. “A lot of farmers now have themselves in a good position and it’s very rare now that you’d go into a new farm yard and a man wouldn’t have some sort of set up.

“Loyalty’s been a great thing for us. A lot of the work men have called us back because when we give them a price, that’s what it costs and there’s little or no extras unless the farmer puts it on themselves. That’s what’s keeping us coming back again.”

Of course, the O’Donnells are farmers themselves and, with it, know exactly what so many of their customers are in need of, whether it be tanks, sheds, shuttering or milking parlors works.

Joe himself says that he wouldn’t be able to do it all without the support of his parents and his wife, Maria, who also plays an integral part in the family business. The pair have four children together – Órlaith, Aimee, Emma and Shéa – and, between family and work, it all helps to keep them busy 12 months a year.

Looking towards the year ahead for THG Contracts, Joe describes the objectives overall as being fairly straightforward.

“Apart from the happy and healthy side of things, we hope that things go well this year like that they did last year and we’d be happy enough,” he stated plainly.

“We’re not looking to get any bigger really. The small fire’s keeping us warm and the big fire could burn ya, so we’re happy enough.

“If anything, we’d like to see the concrete come down in price because right now that’s the killer. Steel and timber came down and concrete only seems to be going up, so it’d be great to see it come down in 2024.”

Hear, hear!

THG Contracts,
Co Donegal.
Tel: 086 406 0633
Email: [email protected]

First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 12 No 1, March/April 2024