Denver area's best and worst contractors of 2008
— by Liz Vernon
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Denver contractors who have earned the distinction of being best or worst in the Denver area.
Years ago, Mitch Sieniawski won a computer in a department store sales contest. The machine ended up in the closet. “I was cleaning and found it,” he says. “I set it up and began working.”
Sieniawski later started Doctor Computer, doing repairs and selling PCs. In his spare time, he also teaches nursing home residents computer skills.
“He’s very patient,” Lakewood customer Carol Farina says. “[My job] wasn’t a piece of cake, but he didn’t leave until it was done.”
Sieniawski, an “A”-rated contractor whose dedication to animals shows through the “Dogs of Denver” section of his website, says good customer service is paramount. “If I can’t fix it, I don’t charge,” he says. “I treat people like I want to be treated.”
Pappas Painting & Repair
Frank Pappas got an early start in his career, painting addresses on curbs. He now operates Pappas Painting & Repair.
Karen McDonald of Denver is one of Pappas’ many happy customers. “Frank’s commitment to customer satisfaction was clear from the minute we met,” McDonald says. One member reports that when her dog escaped, Pappas searched the neighborhood. Another member says Pappas took the time to talk to her kids. He also donates work to local charities and schools.
Pappas credits much of the company’s success to project manager Vince Corland. “He’s a very personable guy. Everybody loves him.”
Mile Hi Services
Angie’s List member Cynde Wehmer had hired Mile Hi Services in the past, mainly for lawn aeration, so when she needed her carpet cleaned in December 2007, she contacted the home maintenance company.
“It was an absolute waste,” Wehmer says. “It was worse than if I just hadn’t had anything done.” The company returned to try again. “It seemed like they were rubbing [the stain] in as opposed to trying to pull it out,” she says.
Another Denver member, Cathy Hanisits, says she hired the company in 2008 to aerate her yard. “They advertise huge plugs, but the only plugs I saw were these teeny things. I think they ran down the middle of the yard and left.”
At least a dozen Angie’s List members have rated the company with a “C” or below since 2005, and it has an unsatisfactory Better Business Bureau rating. According to the BBB — which lists 15 alternative names for the company — 434 consumers have filed complaints. It failed to respond to 375 of them, and six remain unresolved. Mile Hi didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Big Sky Sunrooms
Angie’s List member William Carlton paid Big Sky Sunrooms $20,000 to build a patio that he says remains unfinished nearly three years later. “They’ve gotten three different permits, but haven’t done [any work],” he says.
Carlton, who gave the company an “F” on Angie’s List in July, isn’t the only upset customer. Big Sky also has a “D+” rating with the BBB, which revoked its accreditation due to unresolved complaints.
Nate Strauch, attorney general communications director, says his office is investigating two complaints against Big Sky and owner Kevin Amsberry but declined to give further details. Court records show a couple of successful civil cases brought against Amsberry for unfinished work.
“It’s not the case now, but in the past, we were selling more sunrooms than we could build,” Amsberry says. “We actually contacted another sunroom dealer [to do the work], and they messed up eight jobs. Damages are about a quarter-million dollars, and I’ve already retained an attorney to proceed with litigation [against the other dealer].”