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Home-town loyalty drives Queanbeyan success

John Thistleton 19 February 2020
Bayldon Ag Team Photo 2020

Paul Nicholl (centre) with his team outside Bayldon Ag. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Local businesses in Queanbeyan thrive on the sort of fierce loyalty that sustains the city’s exceptional sporting community. It’s contagious, as Paul Nicholl discovered in 2014 when he joined Bayldon Ag as a salesman.

Three months later Paul became general manager. Three years later, in 2017, he stepped up again and bought the business from his boss, Roger Keft. On the market at the time, its pending sale had stalled when Paul took swift action. He felt keeping their staff and community spirit intact was paramount.

“If I’d not bought it, we don’t know where it would be today,” he says.

The 10 staff and community know exactly where they stand today.

“We are in business, sure, but this is also about making sure customers are well serviced and supported so they can get out and do the things that makes a community grow. That’s what Bayldon Ag means to us,” Paul says.

“Queanbeyan is the ‘little train that could, trying to get up that hill’, and it does so all the time. It doesn’t get the big headlines that Canberra does but it just gets the job done – a great community with great people.”

Bayldon Ag intertwined with the community to grow from its inception when Roger Keft came to Queanbeyan from a Bega dairy farm and opened an auto repairs workshop in 1986. He diversified into agriculture in 2003 when a tractor dealer revealed an opportunity to serve the farming sector.

Roger also acquired a Fyshwick ag business in 2010 which included the Toro commercial franchise. Virtually all the government mowers in southern NSW came from there.

Today Toro accounts for 70 to 80 per cent of Bayldon Ag’s business.

Bayldon Ag Paul Nicholl

Toro is a large part of Bayldon Ag’s business. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Paul’s philosophy is to continue improving the customer base.

Bayldon is the number one distributor of Polaris all-terrain vehicles which are on farms, nurseries, jails, at the National Arboretum Canberra and National Botanic Gardens to name a few of their customers.

“They’re not as expensive as a Toyota HiLux to drive around a paddock,” Paul says. “The wear and tear on your HiLux, you don’t want to be doing that all the time in paddocks, whereas these will take the abuse in the paddock.”

Built for comfort and safety, the Polaris ATVs satisfy a huge recreational market, too.

“We sell a lot of RZRs, also known as Razors. They’re a lot of fun, a lot of people buy them,” Paul says. “There’s also the general model, another cross-over type vehicle, for sport shooting, getting in and out to where they need to be. Customers also race them as well.”

Bayldon Ag sells and services Kioti tractors and premium brand Deutz-Fahr tractors come from Australian-owned Power Farming Group.

PFG backs Bayldon Ag with strong, accessible technical service and training so local staff can provide expert customer support.

“A lot of other companies are multi-franchises all over Australia, whereas we’re a local business, there’s a big difference if you have an issue, you want it to be resolved quickly,” Paul says.

Bayldon Ag has five mechanics. Paul is developing them through the business to ensure their careers keep progressing. Consequently, the workshop manager and the general sales manager are both qualified mechanics – that kind of product knowledge is hard to beat.

Bayldon Ag

Bayldon Ag at 10 Bayldon Rd, Queanbeyan. Photo: Supplied.

This expertise is complemented by service trucks which deliver key people and computer analysis in the field.

“Toro backs us fully, Polaris and PFG, all their strong technical support is exemplary,” Paul says. “They are only a phone call away if there’s an issue when we are out in the field. Staff have in-house training through the Motor Traders Association and travel to Melbourne and Sydney for up-to-the-minute manufacturers’ courses.”

A greenkeeper by trade, Paul keeps an active interest indirectly in his former industry through motor mower sales and values ongoing training.

Look for Bayldon Ag anywhere in the Queanbeyan and Canberra region where you see grass growing. This includes big and small farms, ACT parks, city services, rangers, Queanbeyan-Palerang Council properties, national parks and land care groups.

To find out more, visit Bayldon Ag.

Original Article published by John Thistleton on The RiotACT.

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