Houston area's best and worst contractors of 2008
by Kristen Rojowski, Lindsay Murphy and John Baracani
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Houston contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Houston area.
Southwest Garage Door - Houston
With a baby on the way, Mandy Thomas has other things to worry about than whether she’ll be able to get out of her garage when it’s time. “Multiple times I’ve gone out and been trapped, either in or out of the garage,” says Thomas. “Mike [Morten, the owner of Southwest Garage Door] showed up and resolved the issue. He gave me peace of mind, which is more valuable than the fix itself. It’s not the first time Angie’s List has helped me separate the wheat from the chaff.” Morten says he tries to put himself in the customer’s shoes. “We do whatever we can to make them come first,” he says.
It’s no surprise to Marianne Manglicmot that Preferred Inspections has been named one of the best contractors in Houston.
“It’s almost impossible to find a company that’s not trying to manipulate you into giving them your money,” says Manglicmot. “It’s refreshing to find a company like Preferred Inspections, who will truly help and service you, without hidden intentions. Any service company that’s both experienced and knowledgeable deserves recognition.”
Fernando Martinez, the owner, says, “We do the best inspection in the business for everyone — and we love Angie’s List referrals because referrals are the best advertising.”
Houston and San Antonio
A Houston contractor operating as Dream Resurfacing spent 2008 in prison on a theft conviction related to his business practices in San Antonio.
David Ringo Avalos moved to Houston after being sentenced to probation on a theft of elderly conviction in San Antonio. He continued working as a contractor in Houston. But the Bexar County district attorney in San Antonio wasn’t finished with Avalos. The office continued to investigate 26 complaints against him and his company. In November 2007, Avalos pleaded no contest to one count of theft and was sentenced to four years in prison, said an advocate in the district attorney’s office.
Backyard Vacations Pool & Spa Service
Gloria Valles of Cypress hired Backyard Vacations Pool & Spa Service to build a $35,000 pool in fall 2007.
Valles reports that Backyard Vacations worked steadily for about five weeks, completing the pool’s excavation and other structural work. “They started out as reliable,” Valles wrote in her Penalty Box report on Angie’s List. “And I was pleased with the progress.”
But then, Valles says, the problems started, beginning with the company abandoning the job and breaking off contact with her. “Subcontractors showed up at my home looking for [the owner] due to nonpayment,” says Valles, who says she then received letters from the subcontractors threatening liens on her property.
When Valles finally did reach the owner by phone at his office following a month of no work or contact, she says he abruptly hung up on her. She says he also failed to pay a construction deposit with her homeowner’s association that was required in the contract. Valles’ incident is among 10 complaints that have been brought to the Better Business Bureau’s attention. Seven of those complaints went unanswered or unresolved.
The company’s phone number and website are no longer in service.