Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers on spotting a gap in the market [Video]

Establishing a reputation for quality was key

Charlie Mullins grew Pimlico Plumbers from scratch into the largest independent plumbing business in London through spotting a gap in the market, and in this video for Startups, he explains why entrepreneurs shouldn’t listen to “busybodies” who tell them to do things the established way.

“I did my four-year apprenticeship, and I pretty much saw then that there was a niche in the market,” Mullins recalls. “People wanted a quality plumbing service delivered differently than how everyone else was doing it.”

Through his long apprenticeship, Mullins had first-hand experience of the frustration customers experienced from plumbers, who would often turn up late, scruffily turned out, perform a poor job and then over-charge for it. He decided to start a business that would challenge these widely-held notions, establishing a reputation for quality right from the off. “The day I finished my apprenticeship, the next day I was running my own business – but doing it my way, rather than being told how to do it by all these busybodies who work with you and think they know better,” Mullins says. “There was obviously an opening in the market to offer a quality service.”

The millionaire plumber says he was the first to establish this emphasis on quality and reliability. “I was happy to provide a good service – clean up, arrive on time, not turn up scruffy, wear a uniform – it was just different from the norm [at the time],” Mullins recalls. “If you are different, there’s a good chance that you’re going to go forward.”

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