New name conveys honesty, frugality, hard work; Consolidation may involve a utility; Membership up to 280

Plumbers' Success International announced at its "Success Summit" membership meeting May 19 in Charlotte that it has acquired rights for a national brand, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Approximately 50 PSI Founders Group members signed up on the spot to use the name under a free licensing agreement with PSI.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing will be subjected to a PSI test-marketing program to see if the organization can create a desired level of consumer awareness within a reasonable time. PSI co-founder Jim Abrams told PM that PSI members have the right of first refusal to use the name in their markets. At a later date it may be made available to nonmembers in areas where members choose not to exercise the right.

The brand name stems from PSI's market survey of 1,600 residential customers, which found that most customers see plumbers as honest, frugal and hard working. According to Abrams, it may or may not be the identity of the consolidated company still in the planning stage for a roll-up targeted no later than June 2002, or three years after PSI's founding.

Abrams also told PM that the organization was consulting with more than one utility company about a partnership in conjunction with the planned roll-up and subsequent IPO. A funding of the IPO was one aspect of the negotiations.

Consolidation Proceeds

PSI's President's Circle, a group of its members most advanced in PSI's techniques and representing more than $75 million in annual revenues, has already begun planning the consolidation. These members have agreed to follow the same charter of account and accounting fundamentals and start sharing the financial information with one another so that even before going public, they are acting like a single public company, tracking internal growth and profitability.

The group also is establishing benchmarks to help other companies within PSI, so they can start comparing their metrics to, and applying the experience of, the most successful companies.


By its first anniversary in June, PSI was on track to reach 280 members, and Abrams was confident they would reach 350 by year's end. PSI lays claim to being the industry's largest affinity group focusing exclusively on residential plumbing service.

PSI acknowledges that one entity can own both plumbing and HVAC businesses, but advises contractors who do both to set up separate companies with distinct names, bookkeeping and staffing. PSI is intent on this focus as a key to success. (A sibling organization, AirTime 500, is dedicated to the HVAC trade and had 162 members as of this writing.)

Group Purchasing

PSI also announced steady growth in its Vendor Incentive Program (VIP). It originally offered members savings on business insurance and trucks and has since added discounts on Drain Vision cameras and a line of faucets from a major manufacturer.

The faucet maker who signed up as PSI's preferred vendor is said to have offered to buy up all existing inventory from PSI members so it could get its products out in the market without delay. The company will be marketing the line exclusively through PSI members and stamping each unit with serial numbers for integrating into PSI's "SuccessWare" inventory system. PM was unable to learn the name of the faucet company, which cited "business reasons" for wishing to remain unidentified.