Jim Abrams and John Young, who founded Contractors Success Group (CSG) and Service Experts Inc., and spearheaded consolidation of the residential HVAC sector, have joined with West Coast PHC service contractor Mike Diamond to do the same in the plumbing industry.

Abrams’ and Young’s new venture capital company, VenVest Inc., based in St. Louis, has teamed with Diamond to launch Plumbers’ Success Interna-tional. PSI will offer member contractors a curriculum of proven management programs “guaranteed” to in-crease their sales and profitability. Later, PSI plans to make purchase offers among its member contractors with the goal of taking the consolidated company public.

Diamond, 43, is the owner of Mike Diamond Plumbing, Heating & Air, along with other PHC service businesses that operate under the George Brazil name in Southern California. Starting at age 19 with one truck operating out of his parents’ garage, Diamond has built a business of more than 100 trucks operating out of nine service centers with more than $16 million in annual sales. Diamond is renowned for innovation in service center operations. He will serve as CEO of PSI.

Abrams, 51, said that “the residential plumbing industry, like others dominated by mom-and-pop type businesses, is ripe for a consolidation movement driven by adding value through management expertise. Plumbers’ Success Inter-national will be the industry’s first consolidation initiative with our level of experience and knowledge and record of success.”

“Our track record in the air conditioning industry is unparalleled,” added Young, also 51. “Now, our partnership with Mike Diamond means we will bring the same level of expertise and proven management tools to plumbers’ businesses.”

Membership recruitment programs have been scheduled for June 12 in Los Angeles, June 19 in St. Louis and June 26 in Charlotte, N.C. They will be coordinated by Tom Hopkins, nationally known sales trainer and motivational speaker. There is no charge for plumbing contractors to attend. For more information call 800/524-1954.

C-2000 Connection: The venture had just started around the time we went to press in early April. Diamond told us that he expected to have one or two dozen other contractors on board by the time the recruitment meetings take place in June. A founding member and past director of Contractors 2000, Diamond said that the main difference between the two organizations is that PSI would be focused on step-by-step implementation of its proprietary sales and marketing programs. “We are going to market the service and repair business in a way that makes the phone ring during off-season and slow periods.” Contractors 2000 has developed its own proprietary programs but leaves it up to individual members to implement them.

“I love Contractors 2000,” said Diamond, “It’s a great group and I will do everything within my power to remain a member.” As we went to press it had not been determined whether the C-2000 board would view PSI as a complementary or competing organization and allow cross-membership.

Diamond said he believes the roll-up consolidators made a mistake with their strategy aimed at accumulating high gross sales. Leading up to a public offering, PSI will aim for “controlled growth” with a smaller number of highly profitable companies. As with CSG, PSI members will not be obligated to sell to the consolidating entity. They may remain as independent members of PSI indefinitely.

Diamond noted that PSI membership will entail a money-back guarantee after 36 months of membership if members do not realize an increase in business. “That’s how confident we are in our program,” he said.