Unrivalled mechanical services for trucks and trailers
Celebrating a decade in business this year, Joe Bradley of Drumrock Mechanical is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading commercial vehicle technicians, providing a comprehensive range of diagnostic, repair and servicing solutions and attracting customers island-wide due to his vast understanding of ZF gearboxes. We dropped into Joe’s state-of-the-art workshop in Magherafelt and interrupted his busy schedule to find out more.
When you’re good at what you do, then word spreads. Quickly. Especially in the haulage community. Joe Bradley of Drumrock Mechanical has never advertised his business much but – through positive referrals and word of mouth, on the back of providing unrivalled service levels – he has forged an outstanding reputation all over Ireland as the go-to man for all types of commercial vehicle repairs, troubleshooting or maintenance.
He enjoys nothing better than the challenge of getting to work on a troublesome vehicle and has yet to come across a problem that got the better of him. He knows trucks and trailers inside out and provides operators / owners and their vehicles with remarkable levels of service, offering a personal touch at all times and making himself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s a real labour of love. The hours are long and hard. Joe wouldn’t have it any other way!
Having worked with TBF Thompson for 15 years, with time spent in the company’s Garvagh and Belfast depots, Joe took the decision to go out on his own and set up Drumrock Mechanical in 2007. He has never looked back.
Through meticulous workmanship backed by an innate understanding of (and passion for) all things commercial vehicle related, he has built the business up steadily to the extent where he now boasts a large number of regular customers, supplemented by a steady stream of new custom on a weekly basis.
An authority on DAF trucks but with the ability to work efficiently and professionally on any make, Joe looks after the fleets of many local hauliers, including Seamus Deighan and Deighan Transport, who in November 2016 earned the landmark distinction of becoming the first Northern Ireland operator to secure Gold membership accreditation with the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). The fact that Joe Bradley is the man charged with the daily upkeep of Seamus’ fantastic fleet of DAFs speaks for itself, really.
“I’ve worked with DAF all my life, having been employed as both a technician and supervisor with TBF Thompson, where I received a very good grounding,” he reflects. “It was actually in quarrying that I started as an apprentice but I left that after three years and started to work with TBF Thompson in Garvagh. I’d originally trained as a tractor mechanic but always preferred the idea of working with lorries.”
Setting up on his own was always part of the long term plan… “I always had it in my head that I’d like to start my own business and do things my own way,” he confirms. “I started off providing a mobile service, with a van, going into customers’ yards. I used to do a lot of work for Wrightbus in Ballymena, repairing accident-damaged chassis and doing electrical work, re-piping and coach-building, as well as working on lorries.
“Around 2011, because things were getting so busy and I was running around yards all over Ireland, literally from Cork to Dunfanaghy, I opted to set up my own garage. Customers started to come to me and I was saving both time and money, so it was a good move. I still have a fully-kitted-out breakdown recovery unit for call-outs but most of the work is now based in the garage here.”
Significant investment has been made over the past half-dozen years to ensure that second-to-none services are consistently provided. “When you own a garage then you are forever buying new stuff because there are new things coming out all the time and you have to keep abreast of it,” says Joe.
In the thoughtfully-designed, modern two-bay workshop, with all the latest tools and diagnostic equipment, there are lifts to one side on a concrete floor and a pit on the other side. Drumrock Mechanical specialises in all types of heavy commercial work but can also cater for vans if required.
Joe is known near and far for his knowledge of ZF gearboxes (diagnosis, service, repair), which are fitted in a host of trucks including DAF, MAN, Renault, Iveco etc. and a full range of services is offered from bulbs to PSV and MOT repairs to rebuilding entire engines, gearboxes or differentials.
“I get people from all over Ireland for gearboxes. They hear about me through word of mouth and from other truckers talking on the boats.
“Although I’m a DAF specialist, I am more than happy to work on any truck or trailer,” the cutting-edge technician told Irish Trucker. “I have all the diagnostic equipment here to get to the bottom of any problem. I’m very loyal to my customers and they are loyal to me – that’s the way I try to keep it.
“If they call me, I will answer my phone any time, 24/7. You have to make yourself available to your customers because time is money to them and that’s the kind of dedication they demand. You have to be there for them. Those lorries could be going out to work on the continent or they could be running at weekends, so this is by no means a 9-5 job…”
In addition to Deighan Transport, some other regular customers include Chambers Coach Hire / Glenshane Coaches; Mediclean Services; RMM Forestry Ltd; and CJ Keys International. Joe carries out all the work himself, to the most exacting of standards, including AdBlue system repairs and maintenance, laser wheel alignment, six-eight week checks, etc., as well as all the aforementioned services.
Down the line, son Gary (16) will be brought into the family business on a full-time basis. “I’m going to train him to be even better than me,” says Joe. “He’s very interested and he is already doing some work here and I’m confident that he could already build a gearbox himself if he had to.”
Of course, preventative maintenance is key – detecting and eliminating small problems before they get a chance to snowball into bigger ones. “That’s the idea of the regular checks. With the likes of the big hauliers I work for, they can’t afford to have any breakdowns. So it’s all about prevention – catch it before the truck goes out and you will save them both time and money. The place to work on a lorry is in the workshop, not at the side of the road.”
There’s no room for resting on one’s laurels as the technology inherent in vehicles is forever evolving, To keep himself up to speed with what’s happening in the commercial vehicle industry, Joe reads a lot of specialist magazines and material from the manufacturers as well as talking to dealers and other mechanics and reading up the latest developments online.
With the exception of brake testing, everything is carried out in-house. Joe intends to invest in his own brake tester within the next twelve months.
Regarding the key to his success so far, he concludes: “Expertise and hard work are vital and customer service means everything. I’ve had trucks in here that nobody else could fix and I’ve always got a result. I actually relish the challenge of taking in one that nobody else could fix … I always get to the bottom of it.”
That’s why Drumrock Mechanical is becoming more and more popular with every passing week!
25 Drumard Road,
Tel: 0044 7759 125299