D.C. handyman doesn't know 'how to do sloppy' work

D.C. handyman doesn't know 'how to do sloppy' work

Kathy Petruska knew the Manassas, Va., townhome she and her husband purchased for their daughter last year needed a lot of work. "There was a huge variety of work that needed done in the house, everything from ceiling fans to replacing all the toilets and vanities to replacing the backyard fence," Petruska recalls. "I knew they all had to be done, but I didn't really want a contractor because it wasn't new stuff. I needed a handyman."

She searched Angie's List and found Helping Hands Handyman Services. "I read his reviews, and he had done many of the things I knew I had to have done," she says of the more than 200 member-submitted reports on the company.

Owner Nelson Best, who tries to downplay the last name that many of his reviewers use as an adjective to describe his work, says Angie's List members make up 99 percent of his customer base. He describes the Petruska job as his most memorable. Working his way through a room-by-room task list that Petruska prepared, he spent more than a month on the job. "I literally rebuilt a three-level townhouse from top to bottom," Best says. "The job was very rewarding, just to realize the scope of work."

His work definitely impressed Petruska. "One of my favorite things about Nelson is he is incredibly careful with his work," she says. "He doesn't do sloppy. I don't think he knows how to do sloppy."

Best says he wanted to work in construction even as a child. "I loved my Uncle Gene because he could literally build anything with his hands," he says of his uncle, who built homes. "I always looked up and respected him and wanted to be like him."

Best worked 19 years for a large contractor, where he learned various trades. But at age 39, he decided to start his own business. "My father [an engineer] always said if you can work for yourself, that's hard to beat," he says. "I figured [as a handyman] I'd do something different every single day."


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Nelson began his career working in his uncle’s kitchen remodeling showroom.
Photo courtesy of Mike Nelson
Nelson began his career working in his uncle’s kitchen remodeling showroom. Photo courtesy of Mike Nelson

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