O’Neill & Co turns 10 this year. Back in 2009 our founder Darac O’Neill was busy setting up his own Commercial Property business. To mark the occasion we asked Darac 10 questions about turning 10!
1 Where and when did O’Neill & Co originally start?
26th June 2009 at Trident House in Naas, Co Kildare where the business still resides today!
2 Why did you set up O’Neill & Co? Where did the idea come from?
During 2008 the value of Commercial Property in Ireland plummeted. Because of the market crash many Commercial Property businesses ran into trouble. I was made redundant from a Commercial Property firm in Naas. After a few months considering my options I decided to go it alone and see if I could build my own Chartered Surveyor business.
3 What was the biggest challenge in setting up O’Neill & Co?
2009 was not an easy time to be starting a Chartered Surveying business! There was little activity in the market. The biggest challenge operating as a new Commercial Property firm was getting business and gaining people’s trust.
4 How has the Commercial Property market changed since 2009?
Significantly! From 2009 the market continued to struggle for nearly a decade. It wasn’t until 2017 that the Commercial Property market showed signs of recovery where values came back to realistic levels that balanced supply and demand. Thankfully the market has recovered and is now thriving, however markets tend to be cyclical.
5 How has the O’Neill & Co team changed over the years?
Our team has grown steadily, and we now have 9 people onboard. Everyone has clear lines of responsibility, but we work really well as a team. Throughout the last 10 years our business ethos remained the same. We believe that the client is the most important element of our business and we pride ourselves on delivering a quality service that is 100% client focused.
6 Who was your first client?
My first client was Alan Jordan who owns a string of local Centra stores. Alan is still a very important client of ours.
7 Were you confident O’Neill & Co would be a success from the start?
It certainly wasn’t easy building a business in a market that was in trouble. Business was slow to start with. I quickly learnt to focus on certain services, look after our clients well and build solid working relationships. There was certainly times I was unsure but my gut instinct was to keep going.
8 Where was the first O’Neill & Co office?
Our first office was on the 3rd floor in Trident House in Naas. We are still here although we’ve now moved to a larger office on the ground floor.
9 Will you celebrate O’Neill & Co 10th birthday?
Absolutely! We are really proud of reaching this milestone! We are celebrating with a night at Naas races with some of our clients and all our staff. Also the staff very kindly produced a surprise cake with 10 candles in the office on the actual day it all began 10 years to the date!
10 What advice would you give to someone thinking about setting up their own business?
Adopt a never say die approach and believe in yourself. There will be challenges, there will be hurdles and there will be times you question if it’s the right decision but if your gut is telling you to keep going then listen to it!