I regret selling Pimlico Plumbers to a US company, says Charlie Mullins

He is also building a multi-million pound villa in Marbella, is on the lookout for another property in Dubai, and often flies by private jet.

Instead of setting up a new business from scratch, it might have been easier for Mullins to buy Pimlico Plumbers back. Liam Griffin, the boss of Addison Lee and son of its founder, attacked US private equity giant Carlyle last year for making a “hash” of the taxi firm after taking it on. A consortium led by Griffin bought the company back in 2020.

“The answer is no [to buying Pimlico Plumbers] because I feel it had a great reputation and I’m not sure that reputation is still out there,” he said. “It would be wrong to buy it back. I’ve done it once, and we’ll do it again. We will dominate London on the home services.”

Mullins said there won’t be any “working from home nonsense” at his new company, but he added he plans to offer staff a share of the profits to anyone with more than a year’s service as a sweetener.

He is also planning to set up a training school and has argued that apprenticeships have been neglected by the Government and could help reduce crime and youth unemployment.

The hallway of Mullins’ home features framed photos of him shaking hands with Boris Johnson, King Charles, David Cameron and Theresa May. He stopped being a Tory donor after the Brexit vote, but said there will be no photos of him shaking hands with Sir Keir Starmer next. He hasn’t met him, but isn’t convinced that he’s business-oriented. “I don’t think we’d be drinking from the same teapot,” he said.  

Mullins, who grew up in poverty on the Rockingham Estate in Elephant & Castle, admitted that one of his biggest fears is living in poverty again. 

At 71, he said his drive is just as it was at the start of his career. He was considering running for London mayor in the elections this year, but changed his mind to create another business instead.

“I like the idea of taking on this billionaire company,” he said. “Taking a break has made me realise how right we had it. I’ve been waiting three years for this if I’m being honest. It’s not about the money, it’s about taking on the big people that think the smaller person can’t do it.”  

A Neighborly spokesman declined to comment. 

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