Los Angeles Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

Los Angeles Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

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

Los Angeles Best Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Staci Giordullo



Finesse Remodeling & Consulting | Tarzana

Company owner Avi Ben Dov shows off his remodeling handiwork. (Photo courtesy of Finesse Remodeling & Consulting)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • Praised for pet friendliness
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Company owner Avi Ben Dov says it takes patience and personality to keep his customers happy. “Homeowners surrender their house to a contractor, so you want to trust who you hire,” he says. “Good communication is very important. I listen to the customer, but I’m not afraid to say what I think. Everything — both good and bad — is on the table, and we’ll solve any problems together.”

Member Elise Feldscher of Calabasas says she’s grateful for Dov’s quick turnaround when he remodeled her guest bathroom to accommodate her aging father-in-law, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. “I wanted the same crew day in and day out, and I needed it done fast,” she says. “They nailed it. I needed it in 21 days and they finished ahead of schedule.” Feldscher says she also appreciated the crew’s daily cleanup and their effort to keep construction debris away from her dogs.

Dov, who maintains his general building contractor’s license with the state, says his company uses natural materials and recycles whenever possible, and makes a point to give back to the community by donating materials and other items to local U.S. veterans’ groups.

Throughout the year, the company received 13 Page of Happiness nominations. Member Karen Paxton of Murrieta says Finesse Remodeling went above and beyond her expectations when remodeling her condo’s kitchen. “We had many obstacles due to my building being old,” she says. “The island hood vent was too low, so Avi took it to a metal worker to have it shortened. The range didn’t sit completely flush with the countertop — that didn’t bother me but Avi said it had to be perfect, so he found a solution. My kitchen is beautiful and perfect, and it’s because of Avi’s attention to detail and the pride he takes in the finished product.”

Dov says his dedication to excellence stems from a desire to please his clients. “You have to have a very strong belief in what you do,” he says. “I just love what I do.”


Universal Appliance Service | Los Angeles


igor Rozman started Universal Appliance Service in 1997 and has accumulated rave reviews.
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

When his wine fridge stopped chilling, Altadena member Alan Keith called company owner Igor Rozman after reading his rave reviews on Angie’s List. “He answered my call on a Saturday and made an appointment for Sunday,” Keith says. “He helped me empty the fridge and remove the shelves in order to replace the thermostat and related parts. He was excellent — one of the best, and I would call him again for other appliance repairs.”

Rozman started Universal Appliance Service in 1997 and has since made a positive impression on Angie’s List members, earning 17 Page of Happiness nominations in the past year. “I treat my customers like family,” Rozman says. “I respond quickly, get the parts, finish the job and do whatever it takes to make the homeowner happy.” Rozman is properly licensed with the state for appliance repair, and says he’s donated his time and expertise to families who have lost loved ones to cancer.

Member Kate Robinson of Van Nuys says she appreciated Rozman’s persistence to get her dryer fixed. “He delivered what he promised,” she says. “When there was a problem with one part, he took immediate steps to rectify the situation.”


The Pool Guys Remodeling & Repair | San Dimas

Company owners April and Tim Mullins have been in the industry for 17 years. (Photo courtesy of The Pool Guys Remodeling & Repair)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • Praised for pet friendliness
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Glendora member Jean Malone says The Pool Guys worked hard in the heat to resurface her pool. “The men worked all day without complaint,” she says. “I was extremely satisfied.”

Owner April Mullins says communication is key. “Any other qualities that make our customers happy mean nothing without communication,” she says. The state-licensed company was named a Best Contractor in 2012 and received 13 Page of Happiness nominations in the past year, with members noting the crew’s carefulness around pets. The Pool Guys also help raise money for several local nonprofit organizations.

Monrovia member Claire Joseph says Mullins’ husband and co-owner, Tim, saved her money by replacing her pool’s filter cartridge. “I thought I’d have to replace all the equipment,” she says. “I couldn’t be happier.”


A Thorough Guy | Placentia

Mike Okamura says he enjoys giving his clients the good, bad and ugly details of a house. (Photo courtesy of A Thorough Guy)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Praised for child friendliness
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

A Best Contractor three years in a row, owner Mike Okamura is beyond thorough during home inspections. “Because of Mike’s report, I got the bank to take $60,000 off the price of the house,” Placentia member Susan Kornreich says. “He looked in every nook and cranny.”

Members report that Okamura brings chairs, an iPad, and snacks for his clients and their children while he inspects the house. “He’s amazing,” Alta Loma member Ann Kellogg says.

For Okamura, ensuring his clients’ comfort is part of the job, which doesn’t require a license. “I try to make it a more enjoyable experience,” he says. The four-time Super Service Award winner, who racked up 13 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year, supports his community by donating to a local football team.

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.

Los Angeles Worst Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Staci Giordullo

Avi Gozlan | Tarzana

Avi Gozlan (Photo courtesy of Ventura County Sheriff)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • 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
  • Illegally unlicensed

At press time, remodeling contractor Avi Gozlan faced a late 2013 trial date in Ventura County Superior Court after a grand jury indicted him on 32 felony charges, including money laundering, theft from an elder or dependent adult, grand theft and conspiracy to commit a crime, according to court records. Filed in 2013 by the Ventura County district attorney, the charges are the result of an 18-month investigation by the Contractors State License Board, which found that Gozlan oversaw a fraudulent remodeling scheme that operated in Southern California, including Los Angeles, under the names AMCO, Liberty Construction, Universal Remodeling, VIP Home Design and Vista Home Improvements, CSLB records show.

According to the CSLB, Gozlan tried to skirt state licensing laws by “renting” legitimate licenses from other contractors for a monthly fee of about $1,000. However, licensed contractors weren’t overseeing or participating in the work, as required by California law, the CSLB says. The state agency says it issued several contractor licenses to Gozlan in the 1990s, but revoked them all by 2000 for various violations.

According to member reviews and the CSLB, Gozlan used a network of telemarketers who solicited consumers using different home improvement company names. Members and the CSLB say the calls led to work that, in some cases, they never provided, performed substandard or only partially completed. Gozlan is accused of renting the license numbers from four companies with reviews on Angie’s List: Liberty Construction, Universal Remodeling, Vista Home Improvements and VIP Home Design — the first three of which are in the Penalty Box, and all with poor grades. Court documents indicate all four company owners have since had their contractor’s licenses either suspended or revoked, and they each face various criminal charges.

Member Mark Currie of Huntington Beach filed an F review on Liberty Construction after hiring the company to remodel his kitchen, bathroom and install new flooring, but says their work was shoddy and incomplete. He says he paid the company close to $40,000 before firing them. “The work still isn’t done,” he says. “This has been a nightmare for us.”

Gozlan could not be reached by phone for comment.

Better Living Construction | Riverside

  • 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

Company owner Noe Garcia faces a felony burglary charge in Orange County, according to Deputy District Attorney Kristen Bracic, after a Huntington Beach homeowner says he broke into her house shortly after she fired him. The homeowner, who wishes not to be identified because she says Garcia threatened physical harm to her and her family, says she hired him from Craigslist for a remodeling project but fired him in a week’s time after he repeatedly failed to show. “It just got worse and worse,” she says.

Angie’s List Magazine spoke with several homeowners who said they hired Better Living Construction, but they declined to be identified due to fear of retribution from Garcia. Homeowner Chris Lambrinos of Murrieta says she understands their concerns after hiring Garcia for a granite job and other work. “He has issues,” she says. “I had to fire him because he wouldn’t show up to work or he’d show up drunk. He stole our cement mixer and supplies. I got ripped off.”

Garcia, who’s worked in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, accepts payments without finishing the work and vandalizes property, member reviews say. Three Orange County homeowners, including Lambrinos, won judgments totaling $10,800 against Garcia for failing to complete work. While Lambrinos says she has yet to receive her $3,300, another homeowner says she’s received restitution through Garcia’s bond.

In addition to suspending Garcia’s contractor’s license for failure to comply with a bond payout, the Contractors State License Board says multiple complaints from three consumers led it to investigate him for abandoning projects, fraud, failure to obtain workers compensation insurance, overcharging, and departure from trade standards. The CSLB says its investigation is ongoing. Better Living Construction is also suspended indefinitely from keyword and category searches on the List for submitting fraudulent reports.

Garcia says the homeowners who’ve complained are upset because he
filed liens on their property when they failed to pay him for jobs. “We’ve never abandoned a project,” he says. “They’re all bitter customers who didn’t get what they wanted. They fabricated the reports. They all conspired to make something sound like it’s not. I believe it has something to do with the economy.”

Dr. Drain and Sewer Repair | Camarillo

Albert Solano (Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara 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

In 2013, owner Albert Solano was arrested on felony charges of elder abuse and working as a plumber without a valid license following an investigation by the Contractors State License Board and Santa Barbara County officials. The case is ongoing and no trial date had been set as of press time. Investigators say they received 10 complaints, including three from seniors, that Solano failed to give estimates, overcharged for jobs and threatened to place liens on properties if customers didn’t pay. They say he also operated under multiple company names with no valid contractor’s license and fraudulently used the name of another company.

Angie’s List member Ronald Hoeppel of Ojai, Calif., says he won a $10,000 judgment against Solano in 2013 after hiring Dr. Drain for a $49.95 drain cleanout that turned into a $17,000 disaster, but says he’s yet to see those funds. “Everything they did was wrong,” Hoeppel says. “It was a nightmare.”

Solano denies the complaints. “Ninety-nine percent of the customers are happy with me,” he says. “We do what needs to be done to fix the problem.”

BeGone Cleaning Services | Murrieta

  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Landed in the Penalty Box
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile

At press time, a housekeeper who serviced an area from north Los Angeles to San Diego faced new charges of felony grand theft and fraud in Riverside County, but no trial date had been set. BeGone owner Joey Ann Cook still has yet to complete a sentence of work release, probation and restitution for a previous conviction of felony grand theft, according to court records.

Angie’s List members say they paid for cleanings, but never received any work, or the crew arrived late and did shoddy work. Member Nicole Kumar of Temecula says after four attempts, she finally got a housecleaning scheduled. “The apartment was empty and should’ve been easy to clean,” she says. “The carpets didn’t look vacuumed, and the windowsills didn’t look dusted.”

BeGone remains in the Penalty Box after not responding to four other members’ complaints, and it was excluded in 2013 from List searches for fraudulent reporting practices. Attempts to reach Cook were unsuccessful.

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 Los Angeles 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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San Diego Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

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Owner Charlie Collins finishes work on a residential HVAC unit. (Photo courtesy of Central Heating & Air)
Owner Charlie Collins finishes work on a residential HVAC unit. (Photo courtesy of Central Heating & Air)

The Angie's List Newsroom reveals the Best & Worst San Diego Contractors of 2013, chosen for their superior or shoddy service. Did your contractor make the list?

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