Startup Magazine interviewed Anthony Perera, founder of Inspected, about virtual project inspections, and these were his responses.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Inspected.
Anthony Perera: I have always been a serial entrepreneur and started my first business 19 years old. Since then, I’ve worked to create new companies and expand them to different markets across the country. I founded a Florida-based heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) servicing company called Air Pros USA, which is rapidly expanding across the U.S., with local operations in Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and Washington. With that knowledge of the HVAC industry, I thought of Inspected.com, a platform that allows municipal authorities to conduct virtual inspections. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but once COVID-19 restrictions began, I knew I quickly needed to get the platform operational in order to help homeowners and small businesses.
How does Inspected innovate?
Anthony Perera: By allowing government employees to work remotely, Inspected.com keeps people safer, streamlines paperwork, and reduces delays caused by measures to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The app also helps small business owners continue to work, as well as homeowners complete renovations for items such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fixtures, roofing, and more.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Anthony Perera: Actually, it was due to the pandemic that Inspected.com was expedited so quickly. Not only does it remove the need for direct contact, but the technology will also help cities clear permits faster – which saves on travel expenses – while also ensuring an important revenue base continues to move forward during these times. For customers and contractors, it ensures projects can continue and removes the uncertainty of when an inspector will be able to travel again to personally approve the permit.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Anthony Perera: I think it’s safe to say that no business was prepared for the pandemic, or the restrictions and new way of life that we all needed to adjust to. For my company Air Pros USA, I was lucky we weren’t as affected as companies in other industries. We still had to change our safety protocols to comply with the CDC, but we were able to quickly make those adjustments and keep our business moving. I think the biggest lesson we all learned was how to pivot, be nimble, and make changes quickly to keep our customers happy and our business afloat.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Anthony Perera: I tackle stress like I tackle any problem – head-on. If it’s something I can fix, I find a solution. If it’s something out of my control, I try my best to accept that and move on. I took the same approach with Inspected. When COVID hit, there were restrictions put in place and I thought this platform would be a great solution to that issue. In the future, I will continue to help the local city and municipal authorities conduct home inspections virtually through Inspected.com – even after restrictions are lifted.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Anthony Perera: Honestly, I haven’t seen another tool like this hit the market. As COVID changed how we work and live, many new products came out, but nothing that allowed homeowners and government workers to continue to be safe while allowing small businesses to survive the economic downturn. People have been using apps like FaceTime or Zoom for the video portion of inspections, but Inspected.com allows for geotagging, scheduling, branded reporting, unlimited cloud storage, inspection notes, and a dedicated support manager, to name a few. Other apps don’t have all these functions together in one platform. We’re already gaining interest from municipalities across the U.S. including staff at the City of Boca Raton, other Broward County officials, and municipalities in Texas.
Your final thoughts?
Anthony Perera: Even after COVID restrictions are lifted, people will still be cognizant of social distancing and safety protocols. It’s been our way of life for over a year now and that’s hard to turn your back on. Maintaining remote and virtual business continuity has become the need-of-the-hour and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Inspected.com ensures that home inspectors can continue to inspect work and grant permits virtually while maintaining a zero-contact policy to keep employees, homeowners, and construction contractors safe beyond the COVID-19 crisis.