The Pimlico Plumber
If you met Charlie Mullins in the pub you would never know that he was a multi-millionaire plumber. He came from very humble beginnings and grew up in Camden Town, north London. He used to bunk off school to help a local plumber. That plumber helped him to become THE most famous plumber in the country. He now uses the words that that plumber said to him to inspire other young people to join the trade: “If you do an apprenticeship in plumbing, you’ll earn loads of money and never be out of work.”
Charlie now runs Pimlico Plumbers, a business employing 350 people turning over £350m annually. This didn’t happen overnight. He started working for a company in Pimlico doing the plumbing for their flats. They offered him a small office in the basement and not long after, he had taken over the whole basement.
His vision was to bring all the different trades (roofing, carpentry, electrics, tiling and painting) under one umbrella company so that he could offer a full service to his customers.
In 1990, when the recession hit, he nearly went under, but he chose to fight and made sure that everyone working with him did too. Like many businesses, he had a lot of customers who owed him a lot of money. He changed his terms to payment on completion and that’s when things changed. His cashflow improved immediately and this enabled him to implement change for the good of the business.
Another important change was in how he wanted his business to be perceived by customers. It’s how you present yourself too that’s important. If people see you in a nice clean uniform and a tidy van then they will think that they will get a good clean job too.
As the company grew, he took on a PR company who managed to make him a spokesman in the plumbing industry. This grew his company even more as people recognised him and his business name.
As with most businesses, there are good times and bad. It seems though that a good plumber will always be in demand.
You will need to ensure that your business stands out from the rest and this will require you to present yourself in the best light. Your staff, from the ones who answer the phone to the apprentices, all need to represent your company in a professional manner. This, in turn, will improve your status within the industry and your professionalism will be rewarded with an increase in business. ServiceGuru can help you with their job management software.
In the same way that Charlie started, take your apprentices under your wing and teach them everything you know about the business. Instil in them your company values and how they should interact with your customers. When they do well it will reflect well on you too.