Best Washington D.C. Contractors of 2012
Computer Geeks - VA | Alexandria, Va.
By day, Computer Geeks owner Ryan Hitzeroth works in server-level computer support for a government office. By night, he applies the tech knowledge he’s gained working more than a decade in various jobs in the industry to help home computers run smoothly.
The non-traditional schedule — night and weekend house calls — fits well for Angie’s List member Anna Raymond, who works during the day. She appreciated the convenience when he came to her Alexandria, Va., home to speed up her aging computer. “He walked me through everything, explaining it in a way I understood,” she says.
Hitzeroth also revived Alexandria member Marcus Schaeffer’s failing desktop hard drive. He impressed Schaeffer with a prompt computer repair, reasonable fee and also thoughtfulness for bringing a treat for his dog, a touch that helped Computer Geeks earn one of 17 Page of Happiness nominations in the past year. “I truly feel I got the best service,” Schaeffer says.
Though his work requires no license, Hitzeroth has several Microsoft certifications and stays on top of new operating systems. “I enjoy the hardware stuff, but it’s also fun to troubleshoot a software challenge,” he says.
Roof Real Clean | Falls Church, Va.
The exceptional cleaning and follow-through by Roof Real Clean’s crew inspired member Diane Burgess of Great Falls, Va., to write her first Angie’s List review. “I was so impressed!” she says. They won her praise for the no-questions-asked follow-up from owner Paulo Baesse, who sent a crew back out the next day when she mentioned an area on her otherwise spotless roof still looked a little shaded from algae.
“I felt like he really cared, and he wanted the roof to be as good as it could be,” Burgess says, adding the crew not only performed a free roof inspection but also helped her a few weeks later when a roof antenna blew over in a storm.
Roof Real Clean co-owner Mauricio Carvalho says he and Baesse, who knew each other before moving to the U.S. from Brazil, started the roof cleaning company in 2009. Carvalho combined his business administration background with Baesse’s construction experience, and they teamed up with a company called Roof Shampoo to supply their biodegradable cleaner, which member reviews cite for being pet and plant safe. “The greatest thing about this product is it really removes 100 percent of the stains, so your roof is going to look like new,” Carvalho says, adding many homeowners hire them to improve curb appeal and roof longevity. Virginia requires no license for roof cleaning.
Now, with a foothold in Virginia, Carvalho says they’re making plans to expand to other markets, including in Maryland. Member Dawna Taylor of Mason Neck, Va., says she’s glad to see the company growing and being honored because they’ve delivered great service for her over several years. The company initially cleaned and treated her roof in 2010, and has since then come out annually to apply a protectant to prevent algae and moss from regrowing.
Previously, Taylor says she hired another company, which charged twice as much, but within a few years the discoloration returned. “It’s well worth [paying for the protectant] because the roof looks like new, even though it’s almost 20 years old,” she wrote in her Page of Happiness nomination in July — one of a dozen nominations the company received in the past year.
G & G Home Improvements | Washington, D.C.
George Martin, owner and operator of G & G Home Improvements, started working with his father when he was 12 years old. “I had this thing for climbing up trees and my dad said ‘Oh no, you’re going to climb ladders. You’re going to work,”’ he says. Today, Martin runs the company that his late father started, and his grown son works alongside him servicing only homeowners in the District.
G & G’s quality work weathered the storm when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast recently, says Angie’s List member Cat Matsuda, who lives near Capitol Hill. “There have been no leaks in the house and as everyone knows, we’ve had some wet weather lately to test it,” says Matsuda, who hired G & G to repair her leaky roof in November 2011.
Member Elizabeth Bruce, who lives in the Lower Brookland area of D.C., says the family-owned company put a new roof on her home last spring, and she also didn’t experience any problems during the storm. “I personally am very eager to spend my money locally on a company that is rooted in the community, so certainly it was important for me to give my homeowner dollars to a local business,” she says.
Martin, who’s properly licensed as a home improvement contractor in D.C., attributes his success to good communication and knowing exactly how much work he can take on. “We try to explain things to people and we don’t try to sell them things,” he says. “I turn down work if I don’t think I can do a proper job.”
He also prides himself on using good quality materials. “It’s pennies between the good materials and bad,” he says. “My customers aren’t going to pay me twice and I know that, so I do the work right the first time.”Matsuda says she also appreciated that G & G was located in her neighborhood, meaning she didn’t have to call someone in from Virginia or Maryland to work on her roof. “Our roof is like new,” she says, adding that Martin was sweet to her 90-pound Akita during the repair.
Lisa’s Elite Sedans | Rockville, Md.
Boris Mlodik worked as a tailor in his native Russia before immigrating to the U.S. about six years ago, when he took jobs in the insurance industry and later as a driver. In 2010, he founded Lisa’s Elite Sedans, naming his company after his daughter, who lives in his home country.
Since then, members raved about his meticulous and prompt service, nominating him for the Pages of Happiness 11 times last year. “I’m operating in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia — distance is not an issue,” he says, adding his experience helps plan around District traffic jams. Though he requires no special license, the company is a registered carrier with the Maryland Public Service Commission, and the Flex Fuel SUV he transports passengers in can run on ethanol — a perk some government and industry workers request.
Member Ilisa Halpern Paul of Silver Spring, Md., says her family hired Lisa’s a half dozen times last year, and the first time the driver let her children look around. “Lisa’s Elite Sedans is our go-to car service,” she says.
Fine Fence | Frederick, Md.
When it came time to replace her fence, member Janeen Daly of Potomac, Md., says Fine Fence owner Mike Schaefer made the process smooth by dealing with the HOA approval and her own design changes. “There were definitely things he had to deal with, but what he came up with was great and looks fabulous,” says Daly, who filed one of 11 Page of Happiness nominations for Fine Fence.
Schaefer says he first received his Maryland general contracting license in the 1980s, but gradually his work shifted toward a fencing niche. He uses natural products and recycling what he can, including chain-link fences he or his three crews remove. “True value is paying a reasonable price and not more than you have to,” he says.
— by Meranda Watling and Stephanie Snay
More Washington D.C. Best Contractors of 2012
Find these companies' full profiles at AngiesList.com to read more about what makes their service superlative.
D & V Autobody | Sterling, Va.
Painting | Washington, D.C.
Mathers Mechanical | Mount Airy, Md.
Painting by Rick & Company | Berryville, Va.
The Org/an/iz/er | Herndon, Va.
Wirenuts Professional Electrical Service | Warrenton, Va.