Scott Mullins, Chief Executive of Pimlico, UK’s largest independent home services company tells Business Matters who he admires and, what, if he could, would he have done differently.
What do you currently do at Pimlico?
We have been established for 40 years and have grown substantially, year on year, currently turning over in excess of £40million with a 500-strong workforce, which includes more than 60 apprentices.
The business operates in the Central and Greater London area providing a comprehensive range of home services, from plumbing and heating, electrics and drains, through to carpentry, appliance repair and installation, roofing and air conditioning. We also provide a high-quality kitchen and bathroom design and installation operation.
As well as overseeing the day to day operations of our fast-moving business – we complete more than 10,000 jobs a month – I lead on strategy for our continued growth, working closely with our founder, my Dad Charlie Mullins, and our excellent senior management team.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
When my Dad set the business up in 1979 the plumbing industry had a terrible reputation for cowboys who would turn up in dirty vans with their backsides hanging out of their trousers and rip off their customers. He was determined to change the attitude of an industry dogged by these stereotypes.
Of course, by operating in the affluent areas of London, such as Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster, Charlie also realised that he had more chance of winning work if customers living in these parts of the capital received the kind of service they were used to from other businesses, like top restaurants and high end department stores. It is an ethos that continues throughout the business to this very day and is a primary focus for me as I lead the business into the next decade and beyond.
Who do you admire?
Of course, my Dad is very high on the list – the positive influence he’s had on our industry has been immense and the work he has done to raise the profile of apprentices among young people, employers and politicians is extremely admirable.
I also admire Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones. He has helped bring the excitement and thrill that comes with entrepreneurship and running a business more into the public consciousness and his business achievements are phenomenal.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I’d have got into business quicker. I went to business college for a couple of years after I left school and it was a big waste of time. There was nothing I learnt there that I hadn’t already picked up at Pimlico. I’d been in and around the business since I was about seven and it was the best education I could’ve had.
What defines your way of doing business?
We have always strived to be ahead of the market and achieved this through the highest levels of customer service and a highly-recognisable and trusted brand.
From the moment a call is taken in our extensive 24/7 call centre in the heart of London through to the completion of a job, our customers receive a premier and transparent service. This is supported by us promoting strong family values, which goes beyond me, Dad and my children who work in the business, and runs throughout our whole workforce.
It is an approach that allows Pimlico to have a personal link with its customers, having built lasting relationships that generates more than 75 percent of our jobs coming from repeat business.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Trust in yourself. It is your business, and nobody knows it better than you. If you get more things right than you do wrong, you’ll be on to a winner. I’d also encourage taking on staff as soon as possible. Some entrepreneurs worry about recruiting and if they can afford it but having the right people around you and being able to delegate is essential for achieving business growth