Columbus Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

Columbus Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

The Angie's List Newsroom reveals the Best & Worst Contractors of 2013.

 

Columbus, Ohio Best Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Oseye Boyd


A Team Transmissions | Columbus

Avner began working on transmissions in his father’s auto repair shop while growing up in Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of Sean Avner)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

A Team Transmissions owner Sean Avner says he thinks of his work as an opportunity to build a long-standing relationship with customers, many of whom arrive with the apprehension of a potentially pricey repair. “It’s how we would like to be treated if we were faced with a situation like a $2,000 transmission repair,” says Avner, whose trade doesn’t require a license.

Galloway member Meloni McCormick feared she had a transmission problem until A Team traced her car troubles to a broken grommet. “If I had something that was a lot more expensive, I would feel comfortable knowing how they treated me for something small,” McCormick says.

Avner attributes his business philosophy to his Christian faith, and donates repairs or cars to people in need. He also volunteers serving meals to families in need at his church during the holidays. His shops, located in Columbus and Reynoldsburg, recycle mineral spirits and use a biodegradable detergent that also breaks down oil.

Canal Winchester member Darrel Damon appreciated that an A Team mechanic inspected his transmission a week after rebuilding it to ensure it remained problem-free. “You don’t get that anymore,” Damon says.

Auto Detail Doctor | Westerville

Allerton arrives at each job equipped with his own water and cleaning supplies. (Photo courtesy of Clint Allerton)
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Clint Allerton gives credit to his son, Eric, for the idea of starting Auto Detail Doctor. Allerton says Eric, who is on the autism spectrum, became fascinated with washing the family car and it became a daily ritual for the two of them. Inspired by the washing routine, and also by the skills he acquired working as a crew member for National Hot Rod Association drag racing teams, Allerton began detailing cars on the side. And when 14 years of crisscrossing states with racing teams began to take a toll on Allerton’s family, he transitioned to detailing cars full time. “What’s nice about this is it’s a luxury service,” says Allerton, whose company garnered 19 Page of Happiness nominations in 2013. “[Customers] are thrilled when I leave the driveway.” Auto Detail Doctor isn’t required to be licensed.

The two-time Best Contractor says he uses top-of-the-line, eco-friendly soaps and waxes, a vapor steamer and heated carpet extractor to show the progress of his cleaning, and a van for making house calls. His equipment comes in handy for daunting jobs like the time he had to remove dog poop from a steering wheel or another instance in which he cleaned vomit from an interior roof, Allerton says. Although most of his business is mobile, Allerton uses his own water supply and accepts credit cards. When temperatures dip below 40 degrees, he also services cars at his shop.

Blacklick member Ronald Snoke appreciates that he can easily have his three vehicles cleaned at once using Allerton’s mobile service. Besides offering convenience, Allerton does a thorough job, Snoke adds. “When he gets done waxing your car, you can run your hand over it — it feels like glass, like brand-new,” he says. “He’s real conscientious.”

Allerton made the Mercedes that Eric Gulley had planned to sell look so good that the Westerville member decided to keep it. “Sometimes you can get a service provider that is very polite and pleasant, and sometimes you get a service provider that does very good work,” says Gulley, adding that none of the mobile car wash services he’s used compare to Auto Detail Doctor. “It’s rare to get both. He does both very well.”

Donovan Lawn Sprinklers | Powell

With only one employee, Donovan takes part in every job. (Photo courtesy of Pat Donovan)
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

While visiting his brother near Columbus, Pat Donovan noticed brown yards in the area, which made him see a market for a lawn irrigation systems business. Donovan, who had some part-time lawn sprinkler experience, retired from his job with the city of Islip, N.Y., and moved to Powell to launch Donovan Lawn Sprinklers, which doesn’t require a license to operate.

“I started with zero customers in 2006,” Donovan says. “Little by little, I grew my clientele.”

Westerville member Martha Calhoun started using Donovan in 2007 to install and maintain her irrigation system. When a utility worker punctured the hose in her system, Donovan quickly repaired the resulting leak, and she’s had no additional problems. “The charge was very reasonable,” Calhoun says. “He seems like a really nice guy.”

Lance’s Hidden Fencing | Columbus

With three full-time installers, Sinkowski focuses on the training sessions with his clients' pets. (Photo courtesy of Lance Sinkowski)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • Praised for pet friendliness
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

When Lance Sinkowski trained Hilliard member Nicole Hampton’s dog after installing a hidden fence, he noticed when her Akita and husky mix was too pooped to continue, Hampton says. Instead of continuing the training, Sinkowski scheduled a second visit at no charge. “He was really good at reading her temperament,” Hampton says. “He’s the Central Ohio version of the dog whisperer.”

Sinkowski, named a Best Contractor five years in a row, received 22 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year. Lance’s has earned the Super Service Award annually since 2007 and donates hidden fences to charity auctions. Whenever possible, Sinkowski, who isn’t required to be licensed, coordinates training sessions so he can ride his bicycle instead of driving. “It’s probably a drop in the bucket, but it makes me feel better,” he says.

After Dublin member Joyce Domijan bought a Big Deal, Sinkowski called to set the appointment and the tech did the install on a cold, rainy day. “Lance and his people are probably the best service experience I’ve ever had,” she says.

More Best Contractors

Here are some more Best Contractors who made this year’s cut based on their awesome track record for local service. Read their reviews on angieslist.com to learn why members think they’re so special.

2013 Best & Worst Contractors

The Angie's List Newsroom reveals the Best & Worst Contractors of 2013. Did your contractor make the list? Select a market to the best and worst in your area.


Columbus, Ohio Worst Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Oseye Boyd

Bee Improvements | Columbus/Reynoldsburg

Glen Goddard (Photo courtesy of Franklin County Sheriff)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile
  • Illegally unlicensed

Investigators in Delaware and Franklin counties sought Bee Improvements owner Glen Goddard, who was at large, on three arrest warrants in 2013 for felony charges of theft, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, court records say. If arrested and convicted of all charges, Goddard faces a maximum sentence of more than seven years in prison, according to state sentencing guidelines.

At press time, Ohio attorney general spokeswoman Kate Hanson said Goddard also hadn’t paid more than $172,000 in fines and restitution levied against him after the AG obtained a default judgment in 2013 in a lawsuit against Bee Improvements. The AG sued Bee for not starting or finishing jobs after receiving payment and doing shoddy work after receiving more than 11 consumer complaints against the company alleging $100,000 in losses, court records show.

The Delaware County charges stem from a grand jury indictment accusing Goddard of accepting money from three Canal Winchester residents for basement remodeling projects that he didn’t finish, court records say. In an odd twist, the remodeling firm I-X Creations, also a 2013 Worst Contractor, won a $55,000 judgment against Goddard and his wife, Lisa, for charges that included theft and deceptive trade practices, court records say, and the judgment remains unpaid. Court records state both Goddards previously worked for I-X Creations.

Bee Improvements is F-rated on Angie’s List, based on four reviews. Powell member Lori Seaman, who complained to the AG and filed an F review on the List, says she wrote Goddard a $4,300 check for a basement remodeling project he never finished. Workers started the framing and electrical work, but Goddard didn’t pull needed permits, Seaman says, adding that the workers broke an expensive piece of art. “I royally got screwed,” she says. “I hope he ends up in prison.”

Although he performed work in both places, Goddard doesn’t hold the required home improvement license for contracting in Columbus, according to city records, nor does he hold the required registration in Reynoldsburg, according to the city’s Building Department secretary.

Calls and emails to Goddard went unreturned.

Herschel Mumaw, Bruce McFarland, et al | Circleville


Top: Herschel Mumaw, Bottom: Bruce McFarland (Photo courtesy of Fairfield County Sheriff)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile

Four of six men received jail sentences or probation, along with fines, and the other two faced pending court hearings in 2013 after a Fairfield County jury indicted them on felony charges related to perpetrating home improvement scams against the elderly, according to court documents.

The grand jury indicted Herschel Mumaw and Bruce McFarland on felony charges of engaging in a pattern of corruption, conspiracy, money laundering and theft from an elderly person after the Ohio AG said they scammed victims out of more than $100,000 for home repairs, court documents say. The AG says Mumaw and McFarland served prison time for similar schemes in the late 1990s and early 2000s as part of a group called the “Circleville 30.”

The AG alleges Mumaw and McFarland, along with Thristian Harding, Mark Kitchen, David Ramey and Mark Christman falsely told more than a dozen Central Ohio residents that their roof, gutters or chimney needed repairs or they had a wild animal that needed to be trapped, court documents show.

Pauline Wheeler, an 82-year-old Canal Winchester resident, says the men posed as workers returning to pick up the raccoon traps left by a company she hired. “Next thing I knew they were up on the roof running all over it, telling me there was damage,” says Wheeler, who says she paid $4,300 for unnecessary work.

In September, Mumaw received a seven-year sentence and was ordered to pay more than $43,700 in restitution, and in October McFarland received a six-year sentence and was ordered to pay nearly $44,580 in restitution, court records show. Both men are jailed in Ohio. Ramey pleaded guilty in 2013 to theft from an elderly person and attempt to commit money laundering, and was sentenced to five years probation and $8,620 in restitution, court records say. Harding pleaded guilty in 2013 to receiving stolen property, and was sentenced to three years probation and $2,650 in restitution, records say. None of the fines had yet been paid, according to the AG’s office. At press time, Christman was scheduled for a plea hearing and Kitchen was scheduled for trial, according to Fairfield County documents. Attorneys for the men couldn’t be reached.

Cost Saver Home Improvements | Hilliard

Everett Gagnon (Photo courtesy of Franklin County Sheriff)
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Landed in the Penalty Box
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile

Ohio AG Mike DeWine seeks reimbursement for five consumers who reported more than $5,600 in losses after obtaining a default judgment in a 2013 lawsuit against Everett Gagnon, owner of Cost Saver Home Improvements, for failure to deliver goods, overcharging and failing to provide consumers a written form of their cancellation rights, according to Franklin County court documents.

Cost Saver has a grade of C, based on two reviews, including one Penalty Box case after not participating in the Angie’s List complaint resolution process to resolve Columbus member Susan Wilson’s complaint that she paid Gagnon $4,500 for new windows and a sliding door. “He took my deposit and he never fulfilled my order,” Wilson says. “He evaded my phone calls.”

Gagnon says employee theft caused his business troubles, and Cost Saver no longer exists. He declined to comment further. “If there’s any customer that was hurt by doing business with me or a supplier, I’m going to make it right,” Gagnon told Angie’s List Magazine.

At press time, Gagnon also faced a November 2013 plea hearing for a felony forgery charge in Fairfield County Court, court records say.

I-X Creations | Grandview Heights

  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile

Powell resident Paula Ohira filed a complaint with the AG’s office after she says she hired I-X Creations to add a reading room overlooking a pond that her husband, who was dying of cancer, could enjoy. “I wanted to build him a little room so he could watch the ducks,” Ohira says of the $6,000 job. “That was my dream.” Ohira says I-X started demolition work, but failed to finish the job, she says, so she hired another contractor to do the work, but her husband wasn’t able to use the room much before he passed away about six months later.

I-X owner George Ellish must pay more than $51,600 in restitution after the AG obtained a default judgment in 2013 on behalf of four consumers, including Ohira, Franklin County court records show. The AG lawsuit accused Ellish of accepting money without delivering services or providing a refund, and performing shoddy work.

I-X Creations has a grade of F, based on three reviews. Messages left for Ellish were not returned.

Penalty Box Hall of Shame

The Penalty Box is our way of alerting other members about a provider who has failed to meet a member's expectations. See Columbus Penalty Box Hall of Shame.

2013 Best & Worst Contractors

The Angie's List Newsroom reveals the Best & Worst Contractors of 2013. Did your contractor make the list? Select a market to the best and worst in your area.


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