When Joseph Valente won the BBC’s The Apprentice show in December 2015, he knew his £250,000 investment from business partner, Lord Sugar, would lead to an expansion of his already successful plumbing and heating business, Impra Gas. Now four new ‘plumber’s mates’ have now come on board to support the business – in the shape of four new Volkswagen Transporter vans.
Impra Gas has already built a reputation in Peterborough and the surrounding areas for providing service, maintenance and installation of all plumbing, heating and electrical products to property management companies, landlords and private homeowners. With the new investment Valente will also be focusing on building relationships with new build developers and emergency response services as the business expands beyond Peterborough throughout the UK.
The new vehicles – Transporter T28 Trendline models with a 2.0-litre 102 PS engine – which have been purchased by Impra Gas through Volkswagen’s Peterborough Van Centre, will help Valente grow the business, extending the mobility of its staff and the coverage of Impra Gas’s first-class service across the UK. They have been fitted with Bott Vario in-vehicle storage equipment to ensure they are fit for purpose and the perfect partner for Impra Gas’s engineers.
Valente, who started in the plumbing industry as an apprentice himself, commented: ‘Winning The Apprenticewas a dream come true for me. Having already established my business, the £250,000 investment, as well as the counsel from Lord Sugar himself, have enabled me to grow it further and I am really excited about the next chapter for Impra Gas.’
He continued: ‘The plumbing industry has a terrible reputation, and, using Lord Sugar’s investment, I am determined to roll out a good value and prompt service across the country, starting with East Anglia in the immediate future, with the aim to provide a nationwide service within the next five years.
‘I need a fleet of vehicles to help me do this, and Volkswagen’s reputation for reliability, good value and dependability is perfectly aligned to the qualities my customers see in my business. In addition the Bott racking allows my technicians to carry their equipment safely and easily, making sure they can do their jobs properly.’
As well as supporting his traditional plumbing and heating services, Impra Gas will also be championing smart heating and home technologies, partnering with the industry’s most innovative technology providers as soon as they come to market.
Joseph’s business partner Lord Sugar said: ‘I chose Joseph as the winner as he had great drive and determination, combined with a good business plan. The plumbing industry is ripe with opportunity and I have no doubt that Joseph and the Impra Gas team will be successful in expanding their existing business in the coming months.’
The sixth-generation Volkswagen Transporter was launched in September 2015, and is the most refined, safe, comfortable and technologically-advanced iteration of the popular panel van yet sold. Like every Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle it comes backed by the brand’s ‘Working With You’ promise, a commitment to work in partnership with businesses, providing them with the best products, in-life and aftersales support.
Chris Black, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Head of Fleet commented: ‘We’re delighted that Joseph has chosen the Transporter to build his business. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Impra Gas and to supporting a flourishing and successful growing business.’
Kevin Woodward, Managing Director of Bott’s Vehicle Enhancement Division said: ‘We’re pleased to support Joseph and the Impra-Gas team by fitting out their new Volkswagen Transporters. Our experience shows that investing in high quality in-vehicle storage equipment drives efficient and safe working, contributing to building of a strong business.’