Phoenix Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

Phoenix Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

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

Phoenix Best Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Stephanie Snay



Complete Custom Detail | Phoenix

Head says his favorite part of his job is seeing his customers' reaction when he finishes a car. (Photo courtesy of Mike Head)
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

When Scottsdale member James Barry decided to get his wife a special gift, he turned to the List to check out different car detailing companies. “I wanted to make sure it was someone who did a good job, and Complete Custom’s reviews were amazing,” he says. The service lived up to his expectations and Barry says he’s now a regular customer on the six-time Super Service Award winner’s schedule.

Owner Mike Head worked in sales and initially cleaned cars on the weekends for a little extra money, and says his business grew from there. In 2003, he started Complete Custom Detail, which earned 11 Page of Happiness nominations last year.

Head, who isn’t required to hold a license, works to build relationships with his customers. “I go out of my way to get on the same page and know what they expect,” he says.

Member Sharon Fukayama of Prescott used Complete Custom in May and likes that it’s a mobile company. “It was really nice that the detailing could be done at my home,” she says. “I didn’t have to wait for it to be done at a shop.”


Croffoot Heating and Air Conditioning | Chandler

Croffoot Heating and Air Conditioning earned 27 Page of Happiness nominations in the past year. (Photo courtesy of Susie Croffoot)
  • 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

Although the owners of Croffoot Heating and Air Conditioning got into their in- dustry by chance, it’s no fluke they’re a top contractor for a second year. Their 27 Page of Happiness nominations in the past year speak to that.

President Susie Croffoot says her husband, Kirk, took HVAC classes because every other class was full. The Croffoots started their company in southern Illinois in 1981. The couple sold it in 2002 and moved to Arizona to work with another HVAC company. Unhappy with how things were going, they went back to the drawing board. “We thought ‘Well, we did it once, we can start a business again,’” she says. The company, which holds the required Arizona contractor’s license, relaunched in 2009.

Maricopa member Jennifer Green called Croffoot when her A/C went out on a Sunday. “My family had just finished dinner and I had, of course, used the oven,” she says. “It was 110 degrees outside that day.” Green told Croffoot her family was planning to stay in a hotel, but Croffoot assured her they could fix it that night. “They saved us,” Green says. “It would have been very expensive to stay in a hotel and pay for the repair.”

Chandler member Pat Smith was without A/C for 48 hours during the summer. “I was concerned it might be time to replace the whole unit, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was told the fan was only out of position,” she says. “I’m not sure all A/C companies would have been so honest.”

Susie says they pride themselves on telling the truth. “I’m in my 50s,” she says. “If I try to lie to someone, I’ll forget what I said anyway.”

Both members say they liked supporting a family business rather than a corporation, and noted that the workers showed consideration around pets.

Croffoot uses green chemicals when possible and donates to multiple charities, including Feed My Starving Children and Lauren’s Institute for Education, a center where special needs children receive therapy. Susie says their customers like when they get to talk to a real person who cares, and that goes both ways. “We love what we do,” she says. “We run across a lot of great people and enjoy meeting them.”


A Always Open Garage Doors | Scottsdale

Mark Dal Soglio (right) and his sons Zach, Dan and Ray, make up the A Always team. (Photo courtesy of A Always Open Garage Doors)
  • 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

Garage doors are the family business for Mark Dal Soglio, so it seemed only natural when he started his company in 2001. “My grandfather did garage doors for over 40 years,” he says. Dal Soglio passed the trade on to his three sons, who work with him.

Scottsdale member Joan Shultis called A Always Open, which received 11 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year, because she had a faulty door opener. “They came almost immediately and even swept the garage floor,” she says. North Phoenix member Liane Waselus says they did a great job servicing her garage door. “Mark even cheerfully put up with my five obnoxious dogs,” she says.

Dal Soglio, a state-licensed contractor, donates to juvenile diabetes and breast cancer research organizations. He also recycles materials from jobs.

He says not charging extra for work on nights and weekends keeps his company competitive. “We prefer it, because there’s less traffic,” he says. “And it’s 30 degrees cooler in a garage at night.”


Mirage Marble & Granite | Peoria

Mirage employee Vasile Maris does the finishing touches after a countertop installation. (Photo courtesy of BJ Balog)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • Praised for pet friendliness
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Owner BJ Balog moved from Romania in 2002, and worked with a Detroit granite company before relocating to Phoenix. He started state-licensed Mirage in 2006. “The most important things to me are quality and customer service,” says Balog, who received 10 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year.

“When BJ came to give me an estimate, he instilled confidence,” Scottsdale member William Sette says. Member Linda Molson of Surprise commented on the company’s flawless granite slab installation and pet-friendly attitude. Balog donates money to police and veteran programs.

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.

Phoenix Worst Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Adam Wire

Odie’s Heating and Cooling | San Tan Valley

Lance Oden (Photo courtesy of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
  • 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 mid-October, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors named Odie’s Heating and Cooling owner Lance Oden to its Most Wanted Contractor List for contracting without a license on a customer’s HVAC repair job, which exceeded $6,000.

According to the ROC, the agency has received 10 consumer complaints against Oden, which shows he has a history of doing unlicensed contracting work and using other licensed contractors’ valid ROC license numbers in soliciting work.

At press time, warrants were issued for Oden’s arrest for failing to appear in two 2013 cases in which judges found him guilty of contracting without a license. He owes a combined $1,093.31 in those cases, court records show. In another case, he pleaded guilty in January 2013 to contracting without a license, and he owes $8,712.80 in fines and restitution in that case, court records show.

Bellingham, Wash., member Rich George, who owns a second home in Queen Creek, says his property manager caught Oden living in the Queen Creek home after George gave Oden a key to finish HVAC work on the house. George says Oden ran his electric bill three times higher than normal, and left trash all over. “We figure he was living there for about three months,” says George, who joined Angie’s List after the ordeal and filed an F review on the C-rated company, which is excluded from keyword and category searches for failing an Angie’s List trade licensing audit. George says he spent roughly $10,000 on replacing the HVAC system, housecleaning, installing new locks and purchasing plane tickets to address the issue.

Tempe member Mary Dryden says she hired another HVAC contractor to fix Oden’s work after she says his shoddy work resulted in a 2-inch gap between ducts, which allowed cool air into the attic and increased her electric bill. “You never think this will happen to you; only someone else,” Dryden says of her experience, which caused her to join Angie’s List and file an F review.

Oden didn’t respond to calls and emails requesting comment.

Frank Marquez | Phoenix

Frank Marquez (Photo courtesy of Arizona Registrar of Contractors)
  • 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

Frank Marquez pleaded guilty in 2013 to three separate misdemeanor charges of contracting without a license, according to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and Maricopa County court records. ROC spokesman Tyler Palmer says more than 20 consumers complained about the Phoenix remodeling contractor accepting payment for jobs, but performing incomplete or no work.

In the most recent case, Marquez pleaded guilty to a charge of contracting without a license in Scottsdale in August, and a judge ordered him to pay $13,497 in restitution to one victim. He also pleaded guilty to another charge following his arrest during a ROC sting operation in April, court records say. During the sting, the ROC says, he agreed to do $5,000 worth of remodeling work for undercover agents, even though he wasn’t properly licensed. In the third case, a Chandler judge placed Marquez on probation for two years and ordered him to pay $3,000 in restitution and $2,000 in fines, court records show.

Glendale resident Angie Mendoza says she hired Marquez and his father, Jesse, after seeing an advertisement on Craigslist. She says they told her their company name was A1 Custom Cabinetry, and she hired them to install new kitchen cabinets and repair existing ones. She says she paid them $1,650 upfront, but they never started the job. “They cashed the check at a check-cashing business that day,” says Mendoza, who adds that she complained to the police, the ROC and Craigslist. “They’re very professional and respectful at first, but when they find out you’re on to them, they’ll be rude and cold.”

Palmer says the ROC suspended Frank’s license under his previous business name of Artistic Custom Cabinets because more than 20 consumers complained to the agency about the company’s shoddy work, failure to make repairs, and taking money without doing any work. Palmer says those consumers also made several claims to the ROC Recovery Fund, which paid nearly $13,000 in restitution to victims on his behalf. Palmer says Frank operated the finish carpentry business with his father and brother, Gabriel.

Multiple attempts to reach Frank Marquez, who most recently operated under the business name of The Art of Cabinetry, according to ROC records, were unsuccessful.

Roger Guy Stowe | Phoenix

Roger Guy Stowe (Photo courtesy of Phoenix Police Department)
  • 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, a Maricopa County judge convicted Roger Guy Stowe of felony theft and misdemeanor contracting without a license after Phoenix resident Joe Neuheisel says he paid Stowe $3,600 to remodel his kitchen, but Stowe didn’t do the work, court records show.

Neuheisel says he found Stowe on Craigslist and hired him to install granite countertops and cabinets in his kitchen. He says he paid Stowe $3,600, but he never started the work. “Along the way, I kept getting excuses, and I told him he wasn’t going to get away with this,” Neuheisel says. He eventually paid another contractor to do the work, and Stowe still hasn’t refunded the money, he says.

Stowe, also a 2012 Worst Contractor, previously pleaded guilty to felony theft, and received a three-month jail sentence and was ordered to pay $42,600 in restitution, most of which he still owes, according to the Maricopa County clerk of courts. He also owes $34,000 in civil judgments in Maricopa County, and has a misdemeanor conviction for unlicensed contracting, court records say.

At press time, Stowe remained in the Maricopa County Jail. His attorney, Candice Shoemaker, didn’t return calls.

Antigua Landscape and Design | Mesa

  • 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

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors revoked Antigua’s landscaping and irrigation systems license in 2013 after 15 consumers complained that the D-rated company took their money and either did no work or performed shoddy work, according to ROC documents. The agency says it’s investigating two cases against Antigua and owner Brian Walters, who’s been convicted of misdemeanor contracting without a license three previous times, court records show.

Mesa member Kim Barnes filed an F review on Antigua after she says she paid Walters a $5,000 deposit to build a pool. Instead, she says his crew ran into her house with a bulldozer, damaged her sidewalk and never started the pool. “[Walters] disputed everything we were saying, even though it was evident all we had was a picture of what the pool was supposed to look like,” she says.

Walters didn’t return phone or email messages seeking 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 Phoenix 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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Lance Oden pleaded guilty to contracting without a license, according to court documents. (Photo courtesy Maricopa County Jail)
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