Best Washington D.C. Contractors of 2011
Eco-nize Closets | Clifton, Va.
Co-owner Noel Sweeney, a former construction project manager, saw a need for customized closet companies in the area and founded Eco-nize Closets with co-owner Paul Uhlencott in 2007. "They say you should always differentiate yourself from other companies, and we did that by really taking the green aspect by the horns," says Sweeney, a licensed contractor in D.C., Virginia and Maryland.
To that end, the company uses formaldehyde-free composite wood panels that are EPA-certified as environmentally preferable purchasing products.
Member Mike Ruffer of Oakton, Va., requested several adjustments during his closet refitting project. He says Eco-nize, which also donates materials to community organizations, refused to add on charges. "I've worked with many contractors who relish last-minute changes because it allows them to up the contract price," he says. "But not Eco-nize."
D.C. member John DiBernardi says he saved a significant amount of money after Sweeney convinced him that he didn't need certain features in his custom-built closet. "Noel patiently listened to my needs and designed a closet that looks as terrific as it is functional," he says in one of 16 Page of Happiness nominations the company received in the last year.
Classic Stonescaping & Gardens | Falls Church, Va.
Owner Jeff Jones and his five-man operation, which started in 2010, returns as a Best Washington, D.C., Contractor for the second straight year. Jones says one reason for his company's success is that he uses the latest technology to respond to customers' calls quickly.
"Customers who send me emails don't want to wait long for a reply - they want to hear back within a couple of hours, and my iPad lets me do that," he says, adding that the device allows him to show potential customers a portfolio of past work on the spot and give them a idea of what's possible.
Along with technology, Jones, a licensed contractor and landscaper in Virginia, credits Classic's success to a great crew and a "customer first" philosophy. Member Brian Webb of Springfield saw this firsthand when they redesigned his backyard.
"My wife called me when they finished and was ecstatic about it," Webb says. "It was beautiful. On top of that, they used leftover plants from other jobs to increase the 'wow' factor."
Webb liked how Classic treated their relatively small job like a big one. "What sets them apart is they treated us like we were their prized customer and that it was a multimillion dollar project," he says in one of 26 Page of Happiness nominations the company received in the last year.
Kacey Ma of Annandale recommends Jones and his crew after they installed a front and backyard patio for her. "Trust Jeff and his team to make you happy," she says. "Don't overthink the design. These guys know what they're doing, and if you're not satisfied, they'll do what needs to be done to make it right."
Jones donates time, money, materials and labor to local churches, schools and the Kairos Prison Ministry. Last year, he started a Decorate a Vet program, where he and his employees decorate the homes of military veterans for the holidays. (Featured in last month's issue.)
Members also describe the company as being pet friendly.
Absolute Electric | Sterling, Va.
When member Francis Szalay bought his first house in Herndon, Va., and discovered much of the wiring was not up to code, he called owner Shauwn Collins to fix it. "Shauwn and his team do a great job of making you feel like a person and not just another job," he says in a nomination for a Page of Happiness, one of 16 the company received in the last year.
That type of personalized service is what Collins strives to give every client. "It takes years to earn a customer, but seconds to lose one," he says. "I treat them how I'd want to be treated."
Collins, who's a licensed electrician in Virginia and Maryland, offers green products, such as solar panels and attic fans. He also volunteers at Muscular Dystrophy Association events.
Expert Appliance Services | Fairfax, Va.
Member John Pak of Burke, Va., says he scoured Angie's List to find someone to fix his leaking washing machine over Labor Day weekend. Not only was the holiday no obstacle for Expert Appliance, he says, the company also didn't charge him any extra.
"The guy showed up at my house on Labor Day morning," Pak says in one of 12 Page of Happiness nominations the company received in the last year. "My washer is working like new now. This is the best experience I've had with an appliance repair company."
Owner Pankaj Pant, whose work doesn't require a license, says his six-man company is strongly committed to providing same-day service, and does so 95 percent of the time. "It's tough out there," he says. "Companies survive only if you provide the very best, efficient and affordable service."
More Best Washington D.C. Contractors of 2011
Find these companies' full profiles at angieslist.com to read more about what makes their service superlative
Almighty & Co. | Chantilly, Va.
Artistic Granite | Gaithersburg, Md.
Cameron Jones Computer Services | Arlington, Va.
DC-Electric | Manassas, Va.
FBT, Inc. Tile and Marble | Woodbridge, Va.
Fine Fence | Frederick, Md.
Groff Landscape Design | Fairfax Station, Va.
Jav Remodeling | Falls Church, Va.
JK Pest & Termite | Herndon, Va.
Joe Cox Construction & Handyman | Fairfax, Va.
Kosta’s Heating-Cooling & Refrigeration Co. | Centreville, Va.
Mold Gone | Silver Springs, Md.
Roof Real Clean | Falls Church, Va.
Salzano Custom Concrete | Centreville, Va.
Spa Solutions | Alexandria, Va.
Tailored Living of Northern Virginia | Reston, Va.