Proposed deal would not affect plans for the Ben Franklin franchise or independents

Plumbers' Success International® plans to go public early next year along with two other affinity groups run by VenVest Inc., the group's top executive said during a speech April 30 at the PSI Summit, April 27-30, Orlando, Fla.

“We're trying to get Wall Street interested in our industry again,” said Jim Abrams, president and CEO of VenVest Inc. “It is reaching a critical stage and the door is about to open for those who want an exit strategy.”

Contractor members of AirTime 500® and Electricians' Success International® will join PSI members to form the public company.

Abrams was quick to tell us after the speech that a lot of work on the public offer still needs to be completed. While details at this stage are still sketchy, a number of contractor members have “put their houses in order” to set the stage for the public offer.

Putting their houses in order would mean, among other factors, having double-digit profits; double-digit annual growth rates; common financial and accounting software; and technicians on salary vs. a salary plus commission.

The proposed deal would not affect Abrams' other plumbing-related plans for the Ben Franklin franchise or other contractors affiliated with PSI who plan on staying independent.

A public offering would be one way to help independent contractors cash out when they wanted to - a prime reason PSI was originally founded.

Formed in 1999, PSI is an affinity group for residential plumbing service contractors that provides an array of business management and marketing services. The founders had intended to launch an IPO within two years after starting the organization, but the collapse of the consolidation IPO market put those plans on the backburner.

Abrams knows first-hand the difficulty even a successful contractor can have when looking for a reward for a lifetime of hard work. In the early-1990s, Abrams told the crowd that no one wanted to buy his contracting business, even though it was profitable and ringing up $6 million in sales. He ended up selling the business to a couple of employees - only to take it back two years later after the company's fortunes soured.

“There has to be some real money to be made or my story becomes your story,” Abrams added.

In other PSI Summit news, three contractors were recognized with rewards for service excellence:

  • Mr. Plumber of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, won Training Company of the Year.
  • Midway Plumbing & Heating, Abilene, Texas, won Market Dominance of the Year.
  • All Service Plumbers, Hazel Crest, Ill., won Business Professional of the Year.
This was the first year for the awards, which PSI will announce annually as part of its Home Services Hall of Fame™.

PSI also introduced its new Management By Action™ program to help its members run their businesses. The first lesson, “Money I.Q.” is designed to help contractors quickly identify specific financial ratios and formulas to handle payroll and make a profit. An online Money I.Q. Matrix does much of the numbers-crunching for members. A new lesson will be developed for each PSI Summit.

Thirty-one new PSI members attended a three-day Leadership Essential workshop that outlined PSI's management and marketing methods.

Almost 380 PSI members attended the four-day Summit, which included keynote seminars by Bob Spina from the Walt Disney Institute® and Chip Bell on customer loyalty.

Future Focus

The day after the Summit ended, boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard and other speakers were featured at the second annual Focus on the Future 2004, May 1, designed with the technician and office staff in mind, and open to the entire contracting industry.

About 825 people attended and heard a full-day of motivational speeches. The event was hosted by Success Group International™, parent organization of PSI and AirTime 500.

“We're always looking for ways to enhance the lives of contractors and their employees and better the industry as a whole,” said Terry Nicholson, president of Success Group International.

Common sense uncommonly applied may be the best way to sum up the day's various speeches.

“What a great time to be in the home services industry,” said industry consultant Al Roach, “a $50 billion industry in which you can't flush, you can't drink, you can't get cool when it's hot, and you can't get warm when it's cold, without all the people in this room.” Roach went on to talk about the essentials of becoming a champion. Other speaker highlights included:

  • Leonard, who ended the day with a speech that featured highlights of his prize fights, along with how determination and perseverance can help outside the ring, too.

  • Vince Lombardi Jr. shared his father's inspirational stories of triumph and his own experiences and insight on achieving peak performance.

  • Zig Ziglar Training's Krish Dhanam outlined how to overcome obstacles that naturally get in the way of your goals.

  • Nicholson shared seven “Dare to be a Dreamcatcher” maxims that can help you achieve your goals.

  • Carl DiBene, director of the New Millennium Academy™, diagramed his concepts for “building a bridge” to the future.