Contractor Success Group founders develop new venture for plumbers

September 18, 2000
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ST. LOUIS — Two entrepreneurs who organized the hvac-based Contractor Success Group (CSG) into a multimillion-dollar enterprise apparently want to do the same thing in the plumbing industry.

Jim Abrams and John Young have developed a new company called VenVest, Inc., and teamed with plumbing service contractor Mike Diamond to launch Plumbers Success International.

PSI, like CSG, will offer member contractors a curriculum of proven management programs to increase their sales and profitability. CSG, which attracted nearly 300 hvac contractors, is the seedbed for Service Experts, a publicly traded, nationally consolidated network of hvac contractors whose gross sales are about $600 million.

“The residential plumbing industry, like others that are dominated by ‘mom-and-pop’ businesses, is ripe for a consolidation movement driven by adding value through management expertise,” said Abrams, co-managing director of VenVest. “Plumbers Success International will be the industry’s first consolidation initiative with our level of experience and record of success.”

Young added, “Far from being a ‘one-size-fits-all’ program, PSI is all about real profits for real plumbers. Our techniques are custom-fitted to each plumber’s operation. Only after we have achieved success at one stage do we advance the plumber to the next.”

Diamond is the owner of Mike Diamond Plumbing, Heating & Air, and other businesses in the Southern California market, as well as being the ceo of PSI. His businesses have more than 100 trucks in nine service centers and do over $16 million in sales.

Among his innovations are package pricing and the “ultimate cube truck,” a box van designed to serve as a complete mobile parts house and shop.

VenVest has raised $6 million and is pursuing investments in several areas, including consolidations in other fragmented industries.

The company will provide bridge capital, possibly leading to an Initial Public Offering, beginning with PSI. The company will also invest in businesses, targeting those with $50 million revenue potential and double-digit profit potential. VenVest owns a major interest in two St. Louis-based companies: Fusion Filters, Inc., which trains and licenses dealers that clean and deodorize indoor air in homes; and TravelNow, which specializes in executive travel.

Tom Hopkins, a nationally known sales trainer, will coordinate PSI’s membership recruitment meetings for owners, called “Plumber Profit Day.” The first meetings will be held June 12 in Los Angeles, June 19 in St. Louis, and June 26 in Charlotte, N.C. There is no charge to attend.

For more information, call 800-524-1954.

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