Gary Ashe took a spin out to Naas, Co Kildare to see Irish Machinery Auctions at work in their expanding HQ on the Mondello road.

Irish Machinery Auctions is Ireland’s leading supplier of auction services to the agricultural and construction industries. Located centrally in the heart of Ireland just off Junction 10 on the M7 in Naas, Co. Kildare, the purpose-built machinery auction facility is easily accessible from any part of the country.

The auction team is made up of highly experienced auctioneers, valuers and auction support staff. They have a dedicated customer service team providing a clear and transparent means by which clients can sell their equipment while keeping lines of communication open at all times.

Auctions in the blood

I spoke to MD Dean Reid about the business and his plans for the future. Dean has had auctioning in his blood from an early age. At 19, attending university at the time, he took up a summer job with a well known auction house in Dublin, working on car auctions. He worked the summer there and went back to college. However, he caught the auction bug and decided to pursue a career in machinery auctions.

Within a year he started looking after the plant machinery section, although it was a very small part of the company at the time, he developed it and brought it up to date with new technologies and new processes. He spent about nine years working there, and then moved on to another company.

He worked in that company for three years building it up to a very successful level, before he decided to start his own company bringing years of auction experience with him in the form of Steve Joyce, Stephen McKeon and Lisa Costello, three of the industries most experienced people. And that was the beginning of Irish Machinery Auctions.

“Although I’m proud of what I achieved in my previous employment, there were things I couldn’t change or influence when working for someone else” Dean says, “Going out on my own has allowed me and the team to develop auction services dedicated to obtaining the best results for our customers that don’t break the bank, and I’m glad to see through our growth, that the industry agrees.”

Plant specialist

“We’ve been in business for just over six years now,” Dean tells me, “and we’re now going into our seventh year. We’ve been located in Naas all that time and I have to say it’s a prime location just a few hundred meters from Irelands busiest motorway, the M7. Having taken over the premises of a decades old machinery auction, we quickly began building relationships within the construction industry both locally and nationally.”

What kind of plant does Irish Machinery Auctions specialise in? “Construction equipment mainly,” replies Dean.

“But we’ve grown massively in other areas since our inception too, one of our fastest growing Departments is Agricultural Machinery and Equipment, headed up by Stephen McKeon.

Stephen is an expert in all things farming and has been doing a fine job of growing the department and getting great results for our customers. There’s no man with better knowledge than him.

But we mainly deal in construction Machinery and equipment, HGVs and light commercials etc. We do a lot of work for local authorities and government bodies so the pool of lots is always widely varied.

We work on behalf of many state and semi state bodies such as Dublin Airport Authority, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann. We do work for RTE, The Road Safety Authority, and we’ve done work with the Office of Public Works and a lot of local authorities as well such as Dublin City Council, Meath County Council and Galway. All over the place!

“And then obviously, we have a lot of clients in the private sector,” adds Dean. “A lot of hire companies, construction companies as well as farmers and contractors and fleet companies who sell all manner of machinery from their fleet.”

Challenges & opportunities

“Before Covid things were very busy,” Dean remembers. “I think everybody would agree, things were picking up and, you know, relatively busy. It felt like everything would come to a grinding halt, but during Covid, when everybody got the call to close, we moved all of our operations online. So we kept the yard open, for the people in the machinery industry who could stay operating, they still needed an outlet to sell stuff and buy stuff.

And so we remained open for deliveries, with some of our team working from home and the others socially distanced in the yard and me in the office. we held our auctions online on a timed auction basis.

What we noticed was that over Covid therewas a massive increase in the value of secondhand machinery, which was mainly down to the supply issues with new equipment. As well as rising demand from end users stuck at home twiddling their thumbs and looking for projects and stuff like that.

And since then, we haven’t really noticed much of a drop off, we kind of expected that the price of secondhand stuff would start to gradually go back down to more reasonable levels. But their was no steep drop in price, prices kept increasing during COVID and it stayed at a level for a long time as the world struggled to meet demand.

“As soon as things started to open back up there was a massive shortage of stuff on the market,” adds Dean. “There was a slowdown in in supply of parts and goods and then there was a massive shortage of labour as well. So we’ve just expected that over time the value of second hand stuff would drop as the supply of new stuff started to reach the market.

We’re at a stage now where the supply of new stuff is getting closer to where it was pre pandemic. But we haven’t noticed a massive drop off in secondhand equipment, which is most likely down to various projects going on and people generally being busy.”

Future plans

IMA has a total of 13 staff, seven at the HQ and a further six off-site for accounts.

I asked Dean what plans the company has for growth going forward? “Massive growth!” he replies.

“We’ve been profitable year on year since the start and each year has been more profitable than the last. Last year we purchased eight acres, just across the way for a little over two million, a greenfield site with full planning permission.

We’ve only just started to develop the site, so over the coming years we’ll be completing the development, building offices and auction halls there as well as a large auction yard.
There will be modern facilities for customers, and we’ll be holding multiple auctions with plans for ‘Drive Thru’ auctions for our physical auctions as well as for online timed auctions. And that’s the next step, beyond that, we’ll have to see, but hopefully much more growth to come.”

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