We recently had the opportunity to connect with CCPIA member Tony Escamilla, and we’re excited to share some of the highlights of our conversation with you below.
- Company: Owner and Lead Inspector of Villa Property Inspections LLC
- Location: Based in Claremont, California, and serving the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California, as well as the entire Los Angeles area
- Number of Years in Business: 25 years
- Qualifications: CCPIA Certified Inspector, ICC® Certified Commercial Inspector, Licensed General Contractor, Certified Construction Inspector, InterNACHI® Certified Professional Inspector®
Member Spotlight Interview
We had a one-on-one sit-down with Tony, where we discussed his background, what initially piqued his interest in commercial property inspections, and some of the challenges he conquered to establish a successful commercial property inspection company. He also mentioned training and marketing tips.
What is your background and history?
Tony has been in the business for 25 years, initially starting in property inspections while working for a lender. Over the years, he obtained a general contractor’s license, and began his own home inspection business part-time. He has expanded his team, qualifications, and services. He notably mentioned that he has persevered through fluctuations in the real estate market. Tony used the most recent dip in the real estate market as an opportunity to really get into commercial property inspections. He expressed a deep passion for his work:
“It’s been a fun ride, let me tell you. They say you never work a day in your life if you love what you’re doing, and I have yet to work a day in my life.”
What piqued your interest in commercial property inspections?
Tony shared his genuine passion for commercial property inspections, revealing that his entry into this field was somewhat accidental, though a common occurrence for one with his background. As a licensed general contractor, he began to attract clients beyond the home inspection market. It didn’t take long for him to notice that commercial property inspections were not only quicker to complete, but also considerably more profitable than residential inspections. Additionally, he said, they entail fewer headaches than working with homebuyers. So, he began to venture out when the residential market dipped, and he discovered that the commercial market in his area, particularly made up of industrial warehouses, was going strong. He numbered his top three reasons for the transition:
“My goals and what attracted me are threefold: One, I genuinely like doing inspections. Two, it involves fewer headaches than residential. Three, I aim to diversify. I don’t want all my eggs in one basket with residential inspections. I want to be active in both the residential and commercial sectors, with a continued focus on multi-family housing.”
Could you share some recent commercial inspections that presented challenges, and how you tackled and overcame them?
Tony discussed the state of the commercial property inspection industry. He mentioned that the industry is still in its infancy, similar to the early days of home inspections. He drew parallels to how InterNACHI® led the way in home inspections and expressed that organizations like CCPIA are currently leading the efforts for standards and education for commercial property inspections.
Tony emphasized the importance of educating both realtors and investors about the significance of commercial property inspections. He noted that many investors are not familiar with commercial property inspections and may have misconceptions about what to expect.
Regarding recent commercial inspections, Tony highlighted the challenge of managing client expectations. He stated:
“One challenge we’ve faced in recent inspections is ensuring that buyers understand our inspection process and manage their expectations effectively. We provide a copy of the ComSOP [the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial Properties] and clearly explain the scope of work”
He touched on the technical challenges in commercial inspections, such as encountering unfamiliar systems and equipment. He stressed the importance of thorough documentation, through photos and research, to provide clients with accurate information. Ancillary services, such as sewer scoping and moisture detection, are valuable additional revenue streams, helping his business remain successful even during market fluctuations.
Tony discusses a lot more in the video, which highlights not only his accomplishments to date, but his personal tips for training and marketing. He stated: