Pimlico Plumbers Boss Charlie Mullins Blasts Critics

Charlie Mullins feels confirmed. The plumber tycoon just sold his company Pimlico Plumbers for £ 145 million, bringing his total profit from the company to £ 200 million. On the way there, the outspoken entrepreneur confronted Brickbats because of his views on politics, the economy, Covid and the environment. And he has not forgotten his harshest critics.

“People say, I don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘he’s just a plumber’ and all that shit about ‘he’s a pitcher’,” says Mullins. “What I have to say now is who drives the Bentley and who drives the Mini? I’ll always be the plumber, but now I’m the plumber who had £ 200 million in his hands and, you know, he drives a Bentley and flies a private jet and stays in the best hotels in the world. ‘

If he’s looking around his apartment, Mullins definitely put his money where his mouth is. It’s not an understatement. There are framed photos of him with the last three Prime Ministers and signed pictures of the Queen, Prince Charles, footballer Pele, singer Tom Jones – who lives upstairs – and Mullins’ heroine Margaret Thatcher.

Driven: Self-made millionaire Charlie Mullins, chauffeured directly in his Bentley, says he flies in a private jet and stays in the best hotels in the world

Meanwhile, there is a flashing jukebox on one wall; huge colorful quartz stones are everywhere; there is a statue of a skeleton sitting at a bar holding two bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne; a sculpture of a spilled ice stands on the ground; and a huge Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory hangs in the living room. Opposite his bedroom, across the Thames, looms the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross, which Mullins says he feels “very safe” about.

In other words, the self-made millionaire isn’t afraid to display the trappings of success after moving from literally working in the gutter to being a business magnate.

“It wasn’t easy and there were injuries along the way. Two divorces. I worked too hard, ”he complains, sipping a pink protein shake on an electrically adjustable sofa. “I realized that to be successful there must be sacrifice – it could be your family, marriage, friends, mental health.”

His sale of the Pimlico Empire, founded in 1979, surprised many in the business world. The 68-year-old has been the public face of a company that has hit over its weight when it comes to public relations because Mullins is so open-minded.

A sprinkling of stardust helped, with Daniel Craig, Dame Helen Mirren and Simon Cowell among the many celebrity clients.

“We did better last year than we expected. We have proven that we are both Covid and recession proof and have continued to grow, ”says Mullins. “The time has come to adopt it nationally and internationally, and if I had stayed it would have been five more years of my life. I didn’t want to stay there in my box. ‘

Trademark: Pimlico Plumbers’ delivery vans have become a common sight in London

He sold 90 percent of the shares in Neighborly – a US home services group owned by private equity firm KKR – while his son Scott retained about 10 percent and the position of chief executive.

But just four weeks later there is already a hint of remorse from the seller.

“I think I sold it too cheaply, if I’m honest,” says Mullins. He also has reservations about the new owners, who assert themselves against competition from applicants from the Middle East, France and Great Britain.

In a nutshell: Charlie under the giant Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory in his living room

In a nutshell: Charlie under the giant Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory in his living room

“You won’t be able to keep it going as a family business, and that’s a shame because that’s why a lot of people use it,” he says.

“If they water it down and don’t provide the service people expect” [Scott] don’t want to stay. The unfortunate thing is that Americans aren’t very personal, they’re just human, the bottom line. I have people [inside the business] rings left, right and in the middle to say it is not the same. ‘

He says that some employees “dropped out because it is no longer a family business”. But with his fortune secured, the way is free for Mullins to pursue political ambitions.

Last year he gave up his plans to run for Mayor of London, partly because of business commitments. He says, “I regret it. [Sadiq] Khan didn’t do anything for London – he destroyed the streets. But I have to be there 100 percent. If I’m still alive in four years I’ll try and do you know who I want in my corner? Nigel Farage. The cracker is brilliant. He’s a winner and a lot smarter than he’s portrayed. ‘

Mullins would ride on a free travel ticket for apprentices, get rid of the congestion charge and “get rid of those bloody bike lanes”. As for higher offices, Mullins has changed camp. The ore remainer and former donor of the Conservative Party supported Boris Johnson’s 2019 election campaign, but now wants someone with a “business brain”.

“He’s no longer the right man,” says Mullins, shaking his signature head of hair, which has more than a hint of Rod Stewart. “We need someone we can trust. It has made so many U-turns and uncertainties and has failed to send a strong message. ‘

Vista: Across the Thames from his bedroom, MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross looms over what Mullins says he is

Vista: Opposite his bedroom on the other side of the Thames is the MI6 headquarters in Vauxhall Cross, which Mullins says he feels “very safe”.

After Mullins sat next to Sajid Javid at dinner, Mullins said the Minister of Health was “PM material” all day and said, “He’s very working class. The man comes out of nowhere and has a lot of common sense. ‘ Mullins believes one of the government’s biggest mistakes has been the confusing advice on working from home.

“I think that’s the biggest mistake since the war,” he says. “I mean, come on – he doesn’t build such a great city,” he points out the window down the Thames, “and lets people work from home.

“Now look at the backlash – mental health issues that people think they have a right to just stay home. It costs billions to compensate for this. ‘

Take up a position: Mullins was born in Camden, northwest London, left school at 15 and started the company after ambitions to become a boxer faded

Take up a position: Mullins was born in Camden, northwest London, left school at 15 and started the company after ambitions to become a boxer faded

Mullins argues that children who only see their parents working from home will copy them when they leave school. He says, “You have to break the cycle. Otherwise it is as if the parents have welfare and are able to work and the children say: ‘I’ll do that too.’ It’s a typically uninhibited view of the businessman who made headlines around the world earlier this year when he announced Pimlico’s “no-jab, no-job” policy. He is happy about the rainfall.

“It brought us new business. Customers asked plumbers to have tests and vaccinations. People left the company because they weren’t ready to get the stab – I said, ‘Please go somewhere else’. All these anti-Vaxxers did was kill people and destroy the economy. ‘

Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins beats up critics

Will the new owners of Pimlico Plumbers adhere to the policy? Mullins says, “That is your choice. But it’s a no-brainer. ‘

Even if his intended political career does not materialize, Mullins has no intention of sliding into the sunset. He is considering writing another book, following his guide Bog-Standard Business, published in 2015. He also hopes to do his plumbing work with several real estate companies in the UK and Spain where he plans to build a “grand” villa on Marbella Beach.

In “Marbs” the tycoon met the singer-songwriter Rachel Lea. He now advises them on business matters and has helped them rename them to RaRa. Citing her influences as Amy Winehouse and The Ronettes, she shows me a clip of the video for her upcoming single Biker Boy on Mullins’ huge silver-framed TV.

He beams with pride as the stylized black and white music video plays, and is confident that it will be number one.

Intending to bring his signature, no-nonsense business style to this left-wing new venture, he says, “A lot of artists are just treated like shit. If you have talent, you need to be paid accordingly. But you also have to draw attention to yourself and that’s what I offer. ”

Investing is easy for the UK’s cutest plumber.

He says, ‘A lot of people come up to me now and say,’ I have this musical that I’m doing and I need support for it ‘. People know I have money. But I’m not a charity or a bank. ‘

There are no plans to spill his fortune despite efforts from lawsuits aimed at getting him to invest it in cash.

He admits he has deposited £ 10,000 into the accounts of some of his most loyal employees and shows me their surprised, grateful SMS replies. One stunned recipient was convinced it was a mistake.

It is a worthy end to a career that began with Mullins “at the tools” as an apprentice. Born in Camden, north west London, he left school at 15 and started the company after his boxing ambitions faded. He focused on quality of service and transparency in an industry that is haunted by rogue traders.

“Our plan has always been to win you over as a customer with quality, transparency and honesty and to keep you for a lifetime,” he says and adds openly in terms of trademark law: “We didn’t offer anything unusual, we just got it right.”

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