Linking Monaghan to Dublin for 20 years and counting

01 February 2017

Today, Coorgan Couriers run a well-maintained fleet of eight rigids and two artics.

Today, Coorgan Couriers run a well-maintained fleet of eight rigids and two artics.

Coogan Couriers in Castleblayney, County Monaghan has certainly come a long way since Gary Coogan established the business from modest beginnings in 1996. Providing a consistent and dependable Monaghan-Dublin service for two decades, the Monaghan man has earned a reputation for delivering prompt, efficient and cost-effective solutions.

In this line of business, you won’t survive for long unless you are offering customers a level of service that they are happy with. By putting the customer first and leaving no stone unturned in their quest for excellence across every facet of the operation, Coogan Couriers has gone from strength to strength since its inception, even coming through the economic downturn unscathed such is the strength of their bond with a handful of long-serving partners.

“I set up by myself in ’96,” says Gary, reflecting on the genesis of the family business. “In the early years, I operated two lorries and a van from the Monaghan area to Dublin city, carrying parcels and doing a bit of groupage as well. From there, I have grown the business gradually in response to demand.”

A third lorry was added to the fleet in 1999 and in 2005 Gary bought four new trucks to provide a daily service to the capital for Kingspan Insulation Ltd. in Castleblayney.

Significant growth was experienced exactly ten years ago: “A fifth lorry was added to that contract in ’06, providing Kingspan with a same-day service into Dublin,” Gary reflects. “That same year, we also took on a contract with The Nest Box Egg Company here in ‘Blayney and bought two more lorries to look after that.”

Today, Coorgan Couriers run a well-maintained fleet of eight rigids and two artics. Five of these are with Kingspan full time, with a further three carrying loads for The Nest Box. Meanwhile, Gary also has one lorry with Essexford Joinery in Carrickmacross and another doing general backloads out of Dublin (including the option of an oversize pallets, if required).

Considering the threat that was posed to his business by the proliferation of pallet networks nationwide, Gary has done extremely well to stay in business and continue to provide a top-quality service: “We had to reinvent the business when all the hubs started to operate from Blanchardstown,” he concedes. “We had to change and adapt the business model. Then, where the recession hit, we faced another challenge and decided to concentrate on a couple of our bigger customers and look after them.”

It has worked out well and Coogan Couriers is thriving hand in hand with its three key clients – Kingspan Insulation, The Nest Box and Essexford Joinery. “All of our customers are busy again, thank God,” notes Gary. “The Nest Box are selling to a number of big customers, while Kingspan are supplying a lot of insulation to buildings in and around Dublin.”

Gary is assisted in the day-to-day running of the business by his wife Orla, while their 14-year-old son, Ciaran, is also showing a great interest.

At the heart of the operation is a trusty fleet of vehicles and Gary has always had a strong preference for Scania. “McElvaney Motors is right on our doorstep here and for back-up service and parts you couldn’t beat them,” the affable Monaghan man states. “We buy them second hand and look after them well. They are always in good nick and they look the part, too. We have the Kingspan graphics on four of them, so you have to make sure the lorries reflect the image of your customer. Syl Mulligan Truck and Trailer Repairs  in Monaghan does a good bit of maintenance and servicing work for us and we also use John Toal in Middletown for diagnostics, etc.”

Generating gainful employment for a team of 13, Coogan Couriers run an ultra-efficient operation, with GPS tracking from Fleetmatics implemented across the fleet to help improve efficiency while routing and also to increase productivity. Since installing this leading fleet management system, the company has experienced significant benefits - both in terms of job productivity and efficiency - as well as an added bonus, lower fuel bills.

Hard work and perseverance have been central to Gary Coogan’s success down through the years. “A lot of dedication and passion have gone into it, a lot of hard work,” he concurs. “I’m also fortunate to have a good team behind me, as well.

“You have to be prepared to work hard and you have to be committed to it. You could get a phone call at 5am and you have to be prepared to do everything you can to accommodate your customers. My mobile is never switched off and I am always available,” says the Monaghan man who stepped back from full-time driving five years ago to concentrate fully on managing the finer details of the business. However, he still jumps into the driver’s seat if required.

Looking to the future, there are no plans to reinvent the wheel: “My goal is to keep providing a good service to our customers. We will look after the customers we have and hopefully hold onto them. I’ve no ambition to grow any further because we are at a nice size and good drivers are hard to get.

“I’m lucky to have a good team around me and there is a low turnover of staff. One of the drivers, Benji, has been here since ’96 and Gerry joined us in ’99. We’ve also had the same secretary since ’96, Sheila, so they are all experience and know what they are doing. Without the hard work and commitment of the staff, we wouldn’t have a business.”

Coogan Couriers Ltd.,
Monaghan Road,
County Monaghan.
Tel: 042 9740959

Taken from Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Vol 19 No 6, July 2016 

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