Charlie Mullins on his decision not to take outside finance for Pimlico Plumbers [Video]
You just cannot have other people running your business for you, says entrepreneur Charlie Mullins
Speaking to Startups, Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins explains why his company has never sought outside finance to grow.
Mullins describes his business as “the biggest, most successful, and certainly the best” plumbing company in London, and there is little doubt that the entrepreneur could easily have obtained outside finance to grow the business. “If we had financial backing from the outside, we would have probably be in other cities by now,” the London-based entrepreneur admits, “but the downside is the quality of service wouldn’t have been there.”
Mullins explains that when outside investment comes in, there is a pressure for the business to be constantly “chasing money” and explains that “without quality of service, the business is just a waste of time.”
The entrepreneur says his “slowly slowly catch the monkey” approach to expansion even extends to finance terms when buying vehicles. “We’ve never bought a van on HP (hire purchase) and we never would do,” Mullins says. “There’s no better way to buy a van than to go out and buy it.”
Indeed, the famously no-nonsense entrepreneur takes an extremely dim view of the “busybodies” who offer investment and finance terms to Pimlico Plumbers. “You look at them, in their suit, in their nice car, and you think – who’s paying their wages?” Mullins asks. “It doesn’t take too much to work out.”
The Pimlico Plumbers founder acknowledges that growth may have been slower without outside finance, but argues that it has been much more sustainable as a result. “If you put your own money back in, and go nice and slow, then I think you’ll get there,” Mullins argues. “It will eventually pay dividends. You just cannot have other people running your business for you.”