Richmond's best and worst contractors of 2008
by Mike Walker and Staci Giordullo
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Richmond contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Richmond area.
Seay’s Power Wash & Lawn Care
Charlie Seay is a busy man. While Angie’s List customers know him as the owner of Seay’s Power Wash & Lawn Care, others know him as a night-shift employee at a recycling company. The long hours, however, don’t prevent Seay from doing quality work. “Other contractors can be great workers, but sometimes their scheduling skills aren’t that great,” says Susan Anderson of Richmond, who hired Seay to clean her gutters. “But he does what he promises and shows up when he promises.”
Praised by Angie’s List members for his quick response time and thorough work, Seay makes customer service a priority. “It may not mean anything to some, but it means quite a bit to me,” he says. “Treating customers with respect is as simple as saying ‘yes sir’ and ‘no ma’am.’ I want them to be satisfied with me and my work.”
Shannyn Sneed of Richmond couldn’t believe the timely attention Seay gave her debris-clogged gutters and downspouts. “I was worried about it given the storm due to arrive,” she says. “Charlie responded immediately, was able to come see me the same day and do the work right then. I was so pleased with his friendly attitude and willingness to fit my house in at the last moment.”
Jacqueline Kent of Saluda relies on Seay’s sense of responsibility to tend her 91-year-old mother’s yard. “I live 60 miles outside of Richmond and it’s essential to make arrangements by telephone,” she says. “Mr. Seay returns calls promptly, and I’m very pleased with his work.”
Seay is glad he’s able to please his customers and Angie’s List members, but implies that getting positive reports is a no-brainer. “I just do for them what I would do in my own home,” he says.
To Deborah Whittle, John Kennon Perrin III might as well be a ghost. After Whittle hired Perrin for a $26,000 remodel in 2006 on her Richmond home, Perrin stopped showing and told Whittle he spent her money. Whittle brought the case before the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, which revoked Perrin’s license in 2007 and closed the case in August after he failed to show for hearings. “In my opinion, he is trash,” Whittle says.
Mary Broz-Vaughn, the regulation department’s spokeswoman, says it’s important for homeowners to hire only licensed contractors so they can seek restitution for botched projects. “There’s no guarantee a project is going to go the way it should,” she says.
Whittle is one of many people who fell victim to Perrin. Eric Gurney, a subcontractor, says Perrin owes him $4,000. “I did all the carpentry, Sheetrock and painting for him,” Gurney says. “Then, after a year, he quit paying me.”
Angie’s List couldn’t reach Perrin for comment.
HomeSpun Home Fashions
Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell filed a suit in August against HomeSpun Home Fashions, a Petersburg company that allegedly took money from 118 customers. Customers say they often paid for pricey furniture cushions online, which HomeSpun delivered late or not at all.
“Given the serious nature of the complaints received about HomeSpun Home Fashions, legal action must be taken,” McDonnell says.
According to the suit, HomeSpun took customers’ money through cratefurniture.com or by phone. The attorney general lists customers’ total losses at more than $80,000. Angie’s List member Kristin Resinski says she fell victim to the company’s scheme in April 2007 when she paid $984 for cushions. She says the company quit returning her calls after failing to deliver them. “They’re the worst,” she says. Since the lawsuit, HomeSpun Home Fashions and its CEO, Mark McCracken, have shut down the website. Their numbers have been disconnected, and they couldn’t be reached for comment.