Charlie Mullins feels vindicated. The plumbing tycoon has just sold his Pimlico Plumbers company for £145million, bringing his total earnings from the firm to £200million. The outspoken entrepreneur has been criticized for his views on politics, business, Covid, and the environment. He has not forgotten his harshest critics. 

‘People say I don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘he’s only a plumber’ and all this s***, that ‘he’s a mug’,’ Mullins says. “I have to ask who is driving the Bentley and who is driving the Mini. I’ll always be the plumber, but now I’m the plumber that has had £200 million of money through his hands and, you know, he drives a Bentley and flies in a private jet and stays in the best hotels in the world.’ 

Mullins certainly has his money where it counts when he looks around his apartment. It is not subtle. There are framed photos of him with the last three Prime Ministers and signed pictures of the Queen, Prince Charles, the footballer Pele, singer Tom Jones – who lives upstairs – and Mullins’ hero, Margaret Thatcher. 

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

Driven: Charlie Mullins, self-made millionaire, is pictured right with a chauffeur in his Bentley. He says that he travels in a private jet and stays at the most luxurious hotels in the world.

Meanwhile, a flashing jukebox is set against one wall; huge brightly coloured quartz stones are everywhere; there’s a statue of a skeleton sat at a bar holding two bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne; a sculpture of a spilt ice cream is on the floor; and a huge Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory hangs in the living room. The large MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall cross is visible from Mullins’ bedroom. 

The self-made millionaire doesn’t hesitate to show off his success after he went from working in the gutters to becoming a business tycoon. 

“It has not been easy, and there have been casualties along this journey. Two divorces. He laments that he worked too hard, while sipping pink protein shakes on an electric reclining couch. ‘What I’ve realised is to be that successful there has to be casualties – it could be your family, marriage, friends, mental state.’ 

Many in the business world were surprised by his sale of the Pimlico empire, which he founded in 1979. Mullins is so outspoken that the 68-year old has been the firm’s most visible face. 

Stardust helped with Daniel Craig and Dame Helen Mirren being among its many celebrity clients. 

“We did better than expected last year.” We proved we were Covid-proof as well as recession-proof and kept growing,’ Mullins says. Mullins says that the time is right to go national and international. If I had stayed, it would have been five more years of my life. I didn’t want my box to go. 

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

Trademark: Pimlico plumbers vans are now a common sight throughout London

He sold a 90 per cent stake to Neighborly – a US home services group owned by private equity firm KKR – with his son Scott retaining about 10 per cent and the position as chief executive. 

Just four weeks later, there is already a hint of seller’s regret. 

Mullins claims that he sold the property too cheaply. He has reservations about the new owners who beat suitors from France, the UK, and the Middle East. 

Making a point: Charlie under the huge Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory hanging in his living room

Making a point: Charlie under the huge Paul Oz portrait of Winston Churchill signing V for Victory hanging in his living room

‘They’re not going to be able to keep it running as a family business and that’s a shame as that’s why many people use it,’ he says. 

“If they dilute it or don’t offer what people expect, [Scott]They won’t want you to stay. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t very personal. They are just bottom-line people. I have people [inside the business]Ringing up left, center and right to say it’s not. 

Some staff have ‘jumped ship because it’s no longer a family business’, he said. Mullins’ fortune is secure, and he can pursue his political ambitions. 

He decided to abandon his plans to run as London Mayor last year due to business commitments. He says: ‘I regret it. [Sadiq] Khan has done nothing for London – he’s destroyed the roads. But I must be 100 percent committed to it. If I’m still living in four years, I’m going to do it. You know who I want as my support? Nigel Farage. The genius geezer. He is a winner and much smarter than he has been portrayed. 

Mullins would run on a ticket that included free travel for apprentices, eliminating congestion charges and ‘getting rid from these bloody cycle lanes’. Mullins has changed his mind on matters of higher office. The arch-Remainer and former donor to the Conservative party was supportive of Boris Johnson’s 2019 Election campaign. However, Mullins now wants someone with a business brain. 

‘He’s not the right man no more,’ Mullins says, shaking his signature mop of hair, which has more than a touch of Rod Stewart about it. We need someone we can trust. He’s made so many U turns and caused uncertainty that he didn’t send a clear enough message. 

Vista: Opposite his bedroom, across the Thames, the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross looms large, which Mullins says makes him feel 'very secure'

Vista: Across the Thames, his bedroom is opposite the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall cross. Mullins claims that this makes him feel’very secure.

After sitting next to Sajid Javid at a dinner, Mullins reckons the health secretary is ‘PM material all day long’, saying: ‘He’s very working class. Mullins believes the man has come from nothing and has a lot common sense. Mullins believes that one of the Government’s biggest errors has been the confusing advice around working from home. 

He says, “I feel that’s been the biggest mistake since war.” ‘I mean, come on – you don’t build a great city like this,’ he gestures out of the window down the Thames, ‘and keep people working from home. 

‘Now look at the backlash – mental health problems, people think they’re entitled to just stay at home. It’s costing billions. 

Taking a stand: Born in Camden, North-West London, Mullins left school at 15 and launched the business after ambitions to become a boxer faded

Taking a stand: Born in Camden, North-West London, Mullins left school at 15 and launched the business after ambitions to become a boxer faded

Mullins claims that children who see their parents only working from home will be more like them when they go to school. He states, ‘You have to break the cycle. It’s like when parents get benefits and are able to work and their children say, ‘I’ll also do that’. This is the typical uninhibited view of the businessman who made headlines around the world earlier this year when he announced Pimlico’s “no-jab and no-job” policy. He is happy with the fallout. 

“It brought new business. Customers were asking plumbers to undergo vaccine testing and have their vaccinations. People left the company because they weren’t prepared to have the jab – I said ‘please go somewhere else’. All these anti-vaxxers were doing is killing people and destroying our economy.

Will the new Pimlico Plumbers owners continue to follow the policy? Mullins said that they are free to make their own decision. It’s an easy decision. 

Mullins doesn’t plan to disappear into the sunset, even if his hoped-for political career does not materialize. After his 2015 guide Bog Standard Business, Mullins is considering writing another book. He also hopes to use his plumbing skills to help with several property ventures in Spain and the UK, where he plans on creating a’magnificent villa’ on the Marbella beach. 

Rachel Lea, a tycoon, met Rachel Lea in ‘Marbs. He is now advising her on business, and has helped with her rebrand to RaRa. She mentions Amy Winehouse and The Ronettes as her influences and shows me a clip from the video for her new single Biker Boy, which she shot on Mullins’ large silver-framed TV. 

As the black and white music video is played, he beams with pride, certain it will be number one. 

He intends to bring his trademark no-nonsense business style to this leftfield new venture, saying: ‘A lot of artists are just treated like s***. If you have talent, you should be paid accordingly. However, you must also be noticed. That is what I offer. 

For Britain’s most affluent plumbers, the investment pitches are coming thick and fast. 

He said, “I’m getting lots people to come to me now and say, “I’ve got this musical that I’m making and need support for it.” People know I’ve got money. But I’m not a bank or charity. 

Despite all the attempts of suits to get him to spend his fortune on financial investments, he has no plans. 

He does admit he’s dropped £10,000 into a few of his most loyal employees’ accounts, and shows me their surprised, grateful text message responses. One stunned recipient believed it was a mistake. 

It’s a fitting way to end a career, which began as an apprentice with Mullins. He was born in Camden, North-West London. After a failed attempt to become a boxer, he quit school at age 15 and started the business. In an industry plagued by rogue traders, he focused on quality and transparency. 

He says that his goal was to keep you as a customer and keep your loyalty with quality, transparency, and honesty.

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