At the center of the business closings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants and retail spaces were in the foreground.
Open, close now. Capacity depressed. Sneeze guards at the registers and eat outside in tents. Hand sanitizer by the gallon.
Thousands of business owners were forced to turn one way or another as the virus counts rose or fell.
Imagine you own a maintenance company that is mostly attached to restaurants, retail stores, and offices that need your service.
Now imagine hundreds of your customers go offline with your services no longer required.
This was the nightmare scenario for Maintco Corp., a Burbank company that performs routine maintenance, construction, and cleaning jobs for a variety of industries. The company was founded in 1992 by Abe and Inna Tuler. Inna has been running the company since her husband passed away in 2011.
Instead of bending over under the retreat of business, the Maintco team focused on keeping COVID-19 buildings safe. We asked Tuler to speak about the company and its expanded mission.
Inna Tuler, CEO of Maintco Corp., at her construction and maintenance facility in Burbank, CA. Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News / SCNG)
Q.: Can you talk about some of the construction services Maintco offers?
ON: Maintco’s range of construction services is extremely diverse. We can act as main contractor or second contractor for all project sizes. Maintco specializes in restaurants and entertainment, retail space, tenant improvements, and industrial workspaces.
Q.: Your company has chosen to retrofit buildings to ensure COVID security. How and when did it start?
ON: When the COVID 19 crisis began, Maintco was early in the game. We started with thorough cleaning services that are required to keep the hospitality and retail sectors at a high level of cleanliness. The cleaning services also include devices for hot and cold drinks and devices for catering. Taking into account all the requirements of the Ministry of Health and the CDC, we have developed a program to support our customers in the retail, hospitality, office, school and medical facility sectors. The aim is for them to reopen and stay open safely.
Q: How you do that?
Maintco enters a facility and runs a program to sanitize and disinfect the entire room, keeping the area free of viral and bacterial pathogens. Cleaning, disinfection and disinfection are just the beginning. We also offer Plexi-Shield security rooms, hands-free kits, high-tech air sampling and test systems, and all the necessary signage for safe rooms. A specialized service from Maintco is the ability to take emergency service inquiries around the clock for a closed facility and run a high-touch hygiene and disinfection program that can be used to securely open the site for both employees and customers.
Q.: Maintco also specializes in making companies ADA-compliant. What types of retrofits are involved and many companies are unaware that they are not complying with them?
ON: Every public building must be accessible to everyone. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets the minimum requirements for accessibility. Many property owners are not aware of their basic responsibility under federal and state guidelines. Most of the properties have some conformance with accessibility. Depending on the last date an improvement approval was granted, code changes may make these steps incompatible.
It is important for a property owner to be clear about the requirements for accessing the property, including proper delivery truck parking and access route. Along with these two important accessibility items, the lack of a properly accessible toilet is a common problem in retail and food service customer facilities.
Q.: What is the construction industry like now compared to a year ago?
ON: The use of new technologies and high-tech tools has changed the construction industry significantly. The biggest change is innovation, which improves efficiency. Construction companies that take advantage of these trends can become more competitive as markets change. The use of “smart contracts” has enabled a safer and faster workflow.
Q.: What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs looking to make their businesses a success?
ON: Women face a wide variety of business challenges. I find it very important to be true to myself and use my own voice to exceed expectations.
Aside from the strength I already have, it is still of paramount importance to focus on the basics of the business. Setting expectations is a key component of a successful operation. Everyone needs to know what is expected and have the tools to meet those expectations. All discussions should cover not only the results, but goals for broader success, including the holistic role of everyone, from leadership to customer inquiries to the billing process.
- Title: Owner, President and CEO of Maintco
- Organization: Maintco Corp.
- Lives in: Beverly Hills and Palm Desert
- Education: BA in Performing Arts, Tel Aviv University
- Former jobs: Property Supervisor at the management company Feuer & Knowles. Washington Mortgage Underwriter / Project Analyst, Huntoon Paige
Five things to know
- Was a concert pianist in Europe
- Is a cigar lover and a wine lover
- Was co-moderator (2013-2015) of the video blog “Tuff and Tender” with bodybuilder / actor Ric Drasin
- Participation in around 60 half marathons and bicycle marathons
- Is a first time grandmother