A Scott’s Addition-based engineering firm built on small projects is increasing its presence around the state.
PermitZIP, which has carved out a niche by offering mechanical, electrical and plumbing designs in two weeks or less for projects under 20,000 square feet, is preparing to open a Norfolk office.
Co-founder Kenny Shultz said the 4-year-old firm, which uses the tagline “the two-week guys,” started considering adding a second office after picking up a few projects in the Norfolk area, including The Veil Brewing Co.’s planned taproom in the city’s Park Place neighborhood.
“When we were out there we saw a lot of similarities between Richmond and Norfolk in the building types,” Shultz said. “There are a lot of historic rehabs there, so it started looking like it’d be a perfect second office.”
PermitZIP is based at 3412 W. Leigh St. in Scott’s Addition, a space it shares with architecture firm Fultz & Singh Architects. Shultz said they haven’t yet signed a lease in Norfolk and are working to find a similar arrangement.
“We’re talking to a couple architects. I think we’ve gotten good work through (sharing space with Fultz & Singh). I’d like to replicate that,” he said.
Shultz, who’s going to relocate to Norfolk, said they’re aiming to be up and running there in August.
The Norfolk office will be PermitZIP’s first step toward franchising. Shultz said in a year or two they’ll look to open a third office in Northern Virginia before formally filing for the ability to franchise.
“The end game is every major market has a PermitZIP that’s a locally owned business that serves small projects,” Shultz said. “We want to franchise up the East Coast toward New York City, then eventually out west.”
Also heading to Norfolk with PermitZIP is its sister business RoomTrotter. Shultz founded the offshoot in 2018, providing 3D scans of the interiors of buildings, which users can click through, akin to Google Street View.
“RoomTrotter’s just a great service for PermitZIP that happened to be useful for everybody else in the industry. The biggest headache is trying to figure out how to manage the administrative part,” Shultz said. “RoomTrotter will go where PermitZIP goes.”