Orlando Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

Orlando Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

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

 

Orlando, Fla. Best Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Oseye Boyd


Home Pride Inspection Services | Longwood

D'Agostino never knows if he'll find possums in a home or have to squeeze through a tight space. (Photo by Dominic D'Agostino)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Dominic D’Agostino says he approaches each home inspection as if a family member is considering the purchase and uses customer feedback to regularly tweak his inspection process and subsequent report. “I keep my skills fresh by attending between 100 and 150 continuing education hours of schooling,” says D’Agostino, who was named a Best Contractor in 2012 and received 11 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year.

D’Agostino, who donates to local charities such as the animal shelter and Boys and Girls Clubs, spotted incorrectly insulated condensation pipes on the air conditioner in a home Sanford member Monika Dedza planned to purchase. “He could tell there was prior water damage and they didn’t fix the problem completely,” says Dedza, who negotiated with the seller to make the repair.

Winter Park member Maureen MacSweeney says D’Agostino’s thorough inspection revealed more than $50,000 in needed repairs, saving her from buying the home. Trusting the findings of the licensed home inspector, MacSweeney purchased a second home D’Agostino inspected for her. “The second house was fine,” says MacSweeney, who found Home Pride on Angie’s List. “There were … little things, but nothing that would ruin an offer or sale.”

Florida Leak Locators | Orlando

Florida Leak Locators owner Mike Heinritz says he teaches his technicians to provide exceptional customer service. (Photo courtesy of Amy Heinritz)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

It speaks volumes about your skills when a customer flies you and your wife by private plane to his vacation home in Bermuda to find a pool leak. That’s what happened to Amy and Mike Heinritz, owners of Florida Leak Locators, when a residential Florida customer had trouble hiring local contractors to find the leak at his Bermuda home, Amy Heinritz says. “The pool had a grotto that had a leak,” she says. “[Mike] found the leak in one of the speakers.”

Though most clients don’t fly them to a tropical paradise, Amy still believes in treating everyone with courtesy. Once a customer schedules an appointment, the company sends a follow-up email of what to expect, she says. After service is complete, they send a thank you note by mail. They offer customers a $25 gift card for new referrals and send them a monthly newsletter that includes a word search. Amy Heinritz picks a winner from those who return it correctly solved, with the prize a $25 gift card to the merchant of their choice.

Before Orlando member Brenda Kirkland found the certified pool and spa contractor on Angie’s List, she heard horror stories from friends about leak-finding companies spending only a little time locating the problem but offering an expensive list of repairs. However, the technician from Florida Leak Locators took time to find several leaks in her pool, she says. “He took … equipment and went under water,” Kirkland says. “He didn’t rush.”

Maitland member Bob Sanders says he delayed repairing a leak between the tile and pool for a year until he joined Angie’s List and found Florida Leak Locators. The leak was so obvious, Sanders says, that the repair technician didn’t charge a detection fee. “It’s never leaked since he fixed it,” Sanders says.

Mike and Amy Heinritz previously owned Leak Locators in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa before selling, but the businesses still operate under the original name with the understanding that they must adhere to the Heinritz’s standards.

Amy sits on the board of the Florida Swimming Pool Association, a trade organization that also awards educational scholarships to students of member families. Florida Leak Locators also donates services to families who can’t afford to pay. “Being a family business, you can do that,” Amy says.

Hood’s Window Repair | Casselberry

Hood, owner of Hood's Window Repair, specializes in repairing stuck windows. (Photo courtesy of Danny Hood)
  • 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

Kathleen Murphy searched Angie’s List to find someone to repair 11 windows that wouldn’t open or close properly in her home. To her surprise, Hood’s Window Repair was able to repair most of them without replacing the glass. “They did what they said they were going to do, and they saved me money,” the Winter Park member says.

Maitland member Marny Minarsch hired the two-time Best Contractor to fix windows in her rental properties. “For years I’ve had guys who would tell me, ‘Oh these can’t be fixed. You have to replace them.’ Dan can fix all of those,” she says.

“We treat our customers as if they’re our family,” says Cheryl Hood, who works alongside her husband, Danny, in the business he started 25 years ago.

The company — which does not require a license for repair work — recycles the metal it removes from windows, Cheryl Hood says, and often donates window repair services to families who can’t afford to pay for repair. “When we get the hugs and tears when we’re done, it feels so rewarding,” she says.

Dragon Plumbing | Apopka

Originally from Newport, South of Wales, Thomas named his business after the flag of Wales. (Photo courtesy of Neil Thomas)
  • 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

Growing up South of Wales, Dragon Plumbing owner Neil Thomas says his father, a cabinetmaker, set the standard high for customer service. “[Customers] don’t want excuses,” Thomas says.

After her husband and another plumbing company tried to fix two leaking faucets, Dragon delivered, says Leesburg member Marilou Ross. “It’s Dragon Plumbing for the Ross household from here on out,” Ross says.

Thomas, a licensed plumber, often recommends water-conserving fixtures and volunteers for the local Boy Scouts and homeless shelters.

Clermont member Garry Hinn was impressed when the plumber replaced a leaking toilet and showed Hinn, who’s in a wheelchair, his options first. “He actually took it out of the box so I could see it,” Hinn 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.

Orlando, Fla. Worst Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Oseye Boyd

Blessed Creation Services | Orlando

Blessed Creation Services did shoddy work, like this baseboard install, says Anderson of Winter Springs. (Photo courtesy of Robin Anderson)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile
  • Illegally unlicensed

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation in 2013 launched an unlicensed activity investigation against Blessed Creation Services, an F-rated company with two reviews, and owner Anthony Fryer.

During an interview with Angie’s List Magazine, Fryer claimed to be properly licensed as a residential contractor; however, the DBPR said it had no record of his license, which led to the investigation.

On his website, Fryer says he can do plumbing, electrical, home repairs, demolition, roofing and other types of work. On the List, Fryer provided a license number for hauling and handyman work in Orange County, but Secretary of State documents show that number is his federal tax identification number, instead of a valid contractor license number.

Orlando member Roy Germer says he found Blessed Creation online and paid Fryer $800 to install a range hood and vent it through the roof. Germer says Fryer didn’t frame the drywall or secure it to a stud, instead screwing it into the ceiling. The experience caused Germer to join Angie’s List, he says. “They spent over a full day here and really didn’t know what they were doing,” Germer says. “He’s not a good contractor.”

Winter Springs resident Robin Anderson says the two weeks Fryer told her it would take to remodel her bedroom actually took two months; workers damaged items and an employee stepped through the garage ceiling, she says.

“He didn’t step on the beams,” says Anderson, who adds she paid Fryer $4,000 for a variety of handyman work. “They left the hole there, so I’ve got to get that repaired. Anderson says she made Fryer redo several tasks. “Everything was just kind of shoddy,” she says.

Fryer says Anderson actually owes him money because she continually added jobs to the original list. “I do quality work,” Fryer says. “Complain about the time, but not the work. We give them an estimate of a time frame. We don’t give them an exact time.”

Fryer also was sentenced to two years in prison in 2006 after pleading guilty to felony charges of dealing in stolen property and receiving money from a pawnbroker by false verification.

Air Care Solutions/Florida A/C & Duct Cleaning | Orlando

Pompano Beach resident Silverman says Air Care Solutions service techs did a shoddy paint job after replacing the ceiling cover for his air conditioner. (Photo courtesy of Arthur Silverman)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Landed in the Penalty Box
  • Notice added to provider's profile

In two separate legal cases in 2013, Air Care Solutions, which also does business as Florida A/C Services & Duct Cleaning, was ordered to pay more than $2,400 in judgments to two consumers who complained of shoddy work, court records show.

In July, an Orange County judge awarded Winter Park resident Alexander Kogan $1,288 for damages he says Air Care caused to two air conditioners. Kogan says technicians from a second company he hired to repair the units — because he says they weren’t working properly after Air Care serviced them — informed him that the F-rated company burned the electrical board on one A/C unit and refrigerant was missing from the other. “[Air Care Solutions was] trying to sell me a new air conditioner,” Kogan says of the shoddy work.

Pompano Beach resident Arthur Silverman says he settled with Air Care Solutions for $1,200 during court-ordered mediation in May, after the company performed work at his residence and a rental property he owns. The air conditioner in the rental property continued to leak after the repair, and the technicians didn’t properly replace the plywood opening in the ceiling used to access the unit, he says. “They just put a piece of aluminum siding and taped it to the ceiling to cover the hole,” Silverman says.

Biniamin Ram and Netanel Brumand co-own Air Care Solutions and Florida A/C Service, which have nine D- or F-rated Florida-area locations on the List, based on 27 reviews. At least one location for each company remains in the Penalty Box after not addressing other members’ complaints.

Contacted by phone, Ram denied the claims. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says. “You have the wrong information. I’m a businessman. You have wrong documents.”

Ram claims Florida A/C ceased operation in 2010, but state records show the partners filed voluntary dissolution paperwork for that company in 2012, and for Air Care Solutions in 2013. However, both continued to operate last year, according to negative member reviews.

Florida Family Movers | Clermont

The Villages resident Brown says Florida Family Movers damaged her furniture during a move. (Photo courtesy of Claire Brown)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Allegedly took the money and ran

Clermont member Philip Ditta says he paid Florida Family Movers $500 to transport his belongings from one house to another less than 20 miles away, but the moving truck was too small and half the items were left behind. Ditta, who says he made four trips of his own to move the rest of his belongings, says the move was the worst he’s ever experienced and led him to join Angie’s List. “It was just so frustrating that I didn’t want to go through it again,” Ditta says.

The Villages resident Claire Brown says Florida Family Movers, which is D-rated based on five reviews, damaged furniture and a TV when she hired them. The company paid her $90 for the TV damage, according to records from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which investigated several complaints.

Florida Family Movers paid a $2,000 fine to the FDACS in 2012 for not listing its physical address on contracts or promotional materials, illegally applying a surcharge to credit card users and not estimating moving costs. Florida Family representatives did not return messages seeking a response.

Bates Exterminating | Belleview

  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Landed in the Penalty Box
  • Notice added to provider's profile

The Villages member Robin Briscuolo’s grass slowly died during the three years she used Bates Exterminating for lawn treatment, says Briscuolo, whose complaint landed the C-rated company in Penalty Box in May 2013. Bates remained in the Penalty Box at press time after failing to respond to Briscuolo’s complaint, as well as another member who says Bates failed to get rid of cockroaches in her home. “We were very dissatisfied and have [gone] with someone else,” Briscuolo says. “Our lawn is improving. It’s starting to come back, but it’s going to take some time.”

Another member, Ken Terman, also of The Villages, says the product Bates used to exterminate cockroaches wasn’t effective. Terman says the company did re-treat his home at his request, but without success. When his Bates contract expired, Terman says he hired another company and his residence is bug free.

The Belleview business is C-rated, based on five reviews. Owner Robert Bates did not respond to repeated calls and emails for comment.

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 Orlando 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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Angie's List names the Best Orlando Contractors of 2012.

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