Seattle Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

Seattle Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

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

 

Seattle Best Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Garrett Kelly


Ted's Chimney Service | Seattle

Kuhn says he doesn't think of himself as the boss on a customer's job, but tackles each with a team effort.(Photo courtesy of Ted Kuhn)
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Renton member Janet Sims says the call she put in to Ted's Chimney Service saved her thousands of dollars. Sims contacted several other companies to get an estimate on repairing her chipped chimney, but she says they only gave quotes to rebuild it based on pictures she sent them. Owner Ted Kuhn, she says, inspected it before providing an estimate, then restored it for about $600. "I was thrilled that I was able to find someone to repair it," Sims says.

Kuhn started his company, a three-time Super Service Award winner, in 1994 after he retired from a manufacturing job. Today, his stepdaughter is an employee and helps him on every job. Kuhn, who holds the required state construction contractor license, enjoys working with customers as a team to solve their issues. "I get satisfaction from helping people with their problems," he says.

According to Burien member Anne Armstrong, Kuhn emphasized his need to please during a chimney repair. "He told us if there were any problems, he wanted to hear from us," she says. "He did a great job."

When he isn't on roofs correcting complicated chimney problems, Kuhn likes to go fishing. "It's a great hobby, when you catch a fish," he says.

Bill's Lock & Key | Seattle

Hollman enjoys biking, gardening and spending time with his wife. (Photo courtesy of Bill Hollman)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Praised for child friendliness
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

When Bill Hollman, owner of Bill's Lock & Key, started his company in 2004, he took a shotgun approach to building his business. He relied on family and friends, and advertised on websites and in newspapers. Now, Hollman says he's found the perfect outlet to grow his company. "Angie's List members are the perfect clientele for me — people who care about their homes and take an interest in [them]," he says. Based on their reviews, he's earned the Best Contractor distinction in Seattle four times.

Seattle member Jason Troxel hired Hollman, also a four-time Super Service Award winner, to rekey several locks and fix a lock mechanism. Troxel praised Hollman for being considerate when working around his four children. He also appreciated Hollman's thoroughness. "After the work was done, he walked me through each of the items and let me try the keys," he says. "The work was perfect." Troxel was one of 13 members who nominated Bill's Lock & Key for the Pages of Happiness last year.

Seattle member John Nelson's older home, with its odd doors and unusual jambs, proved to be a tough job. Despite the challenge, Hollman assured him he could rekey the five locks. Nelson says he felt the service he received was beyond fair and he expected to pay twice what he did. "I couldn't quite believe the final bill was as low as it was," he says. "I tried to tack on a tip, but Bill explained it wasn't necessary."

Hollman holds a construction contractor's license, which is required by the state of Washington. He says he spends time with customers trying to help them differentiate between good contractors and the scammers. Hollman tells people to be vigilant when searching for a locksmith and stresses the importance of verifying licensing. He prides himself on his relationships with clients. "I enjoy the people I meet," he says. "I always find something about my customers that I like."

Last year, Hollman donated his labor to a local church that needed a new locking system. He also helps the environment by recycling old materials for his customers.

Crystal Carpet Care | Federal Way

Owners Jim and Marilyn Torrence focus on buiding customer relationships. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Carpet Care)
  • 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

Husband and wife duo Jim and Marilyn Torrence started Crystal Carpet Care in 1991. Since then, they've won the Super Service Award five times.

Seahurst member Priscilla Parr says she received excellent service during her carpet cleaning. Parr was one of 16 members who nominated Crystal Carpet Care for the Pages of Happiness last year. "It's wonderful to discover a company that makes it clear that customer satisfaction is their goal," she says.

Jim, whose company holds a state construction contractor's license, says their success is based on relationships. "It's about treating everyone like we want them to be a customer for life," he says.

Tacoma member Derek Stefani chose Crystal Carpet Care over a cheaper competitor based on his interaction with the Torrences. "Trust is worth the extra price to me," he says.

The Torrences donate services to their church by cleaning the pews, carpet and tile. They also offer green cleaning products upon request.

John John Concrete Construction | Tacoma

Palaki built his company by doing reliable work and getting customer referrals. (Photo courtesy of John Palaki)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Licensed or licensing not required

John John Concrete demolished and rebuilt a driveway for Seattle member Marc Amico. He says he was astonished when owner John Palaki and his assistant removed the old concrete with pry bars and sledgehammers, instead of heavy machinery. How quickly they progressed shocked him even more. "I expected either fast or great work," he says. "I got both."

Palaki started his company in 2001 and is a state-licensed construction contractor. He says he's put a lot of effort into growing his business. "It's about doing good, reliable work," he says. This year, he donated his services to build a concrete pad for a local Boy Scout troop's meeting area.

University Place member Karl Johnson praised Palaki for a well-done project finished early. "I couldn't be more pleased with the quality," he 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.

Seattle Worst Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Garrett Kelly

Exterior Restorations | Arlington

Thomsen says Exterior Restorations left gaps in his drywall, along with crooked, warped framing. (Photo courtesy of Carsten Thomsen)
  • 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

Lake Stevens residents Ken and Angie Thomas obtained a $6,890 default judgment against Exterior Restorations and owner Tony Connell in 2013 after he failed to show for a court hearing, according to Snohomish County court records. The lawsuit says Connell took an upfront payment of $6,400 to replace the couple's siding, but didn't do the work or refund the money. Washington Department of Labor & Industries records show that Connell's surety bond paid the judgment.

The L&I suspended Exterior's license in 2013 after multiple consumers, including the Thomases, filed claims of shoddy work against its bond, L&I records show. On the List, members filed four F reviews against the B-rated company in 2013, including one from Lake Stevens member Angela Gordon that resulted in a Penalty Box, excluding the company from category and keyword searches.

Mukilteo member Carsten Thomsen, who filed an F review, says his $3,200 deck, window and siding project with Connell started out well, but turned disastrous shortly after, and he fired Connell in 2013. "He stopped returning calls, he wouldn't show up and everything started getting drawn out," says Thomsen, who checked the List and found Connell highly rated before hiring. Reached by phone, Connell says he blames the bad economy for his company's sudden downfall, saying he lost good workers, settled for substandard employees who did shoddy work, which caused him to fall behind schedule on other jobs.

In 1992, Connell pleaded guilty to a Class C felony child rape charge and received a 14-month jail term, according to Snohomish County Superior Court records.

Seattle TV Repair | Woodinville

Lu says Seattle TV Repair's shoddy work made it impossible to place her TV into its stand. (Photo courtesy of Elaine Lu)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Allegedly took the money and ran

Seattle TV Repair, owned by David Rosales, lost four small-claims judgments in 2013 and another three in 2012, according to King County District Court records, while Angie's List members filed five F reviews and one D review in 2013 on the F-rated company.

Issaquah member Dennis Poppe says he paid the company's manager, Roger Tejada, $700 upfront to fix his TV after the screen went blank, but says he never saw the TV or his money again. "When he said he needed the full amount upfront, I cringed, but he looked trustworthy, so I gave it to him," says Poppe, who added that he didn't check the List before hiring for that same reason, but later saw that two other members submitted F reviews on the company after he hired them.

Sammamish member Elaine Lu says she got her TV back after nearly a year of pressuring the company, including a call from her attorney, but says they damaged the frame and she never received a refund for the $500 she spent. "I hope he's not doing business anymore because he's totally ripping people off," says Lu, who joined Angie's List as a result of her experience. Both Lu and Poppe say the company's Woodinville storefront is empty and locked, but Poppe says he called Tejada recently and acted like he was someone else who needed a TV repair, and Tejada gave him the same sales pitch he'd given him the first time.

According to King County court records, the small-claims judgments range from $350 to $1,053 based on complaints from customers who claim Seattle TV Repair accepted money upfront and either didn't fix their TVs and never provided a refund or never returned the TV at all.

The Washington attorney general's office says it's fielded 42 complaints on Seattle TV Repair, but it's not investigating the company at this time. Rosales and Tejada did not return messages left by phone and email.

Evergreen Pure Air | Seattle

  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Notice added to provider's profile

Angie's List members claim this F-rated air duct-cleaning company advertised discount coupons online, then upsold for several hundred dollars more, according to four recent reviews. Members also say Evergreen technicians claimed they had mold in their air ducts, then did shoddy work to clean them.

Woodinville member Cat Pittack says she hired Evergreen to clean her ducts and dryer vents for $31 after getting a coupon in the mail. She says the technicians dumped lint all over her outdoor water feature, which ruined the rocks, and the company didn't offer to clean up the mess or refund her money. "I'm still mad about that," she says Pittack, who adds the company hasn't provided a refund. "They were rude and did very poor work."

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries fined Evergreen $2,500 in 2012 for doing work without a contractor's or electrician's license, according to L&I spokeswoman Dana Botka. The company paid the fines and is now compliant with its licensing, Botka says. The state attorney general's office says it's fielded nine consumer complaints against Evergreen.

Owner Shlomo Goldberg did not return phone calls requesting comment.

Premier Landscape & Irrigation | Bothell

  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Notice added to provider's profile
  • Illegally unlicensed

Angie's List member Matt Kolacz of Lynnwood says he paid D-rated Premier Landscape and company owner, Daniel Adam Harper, $19,000 for a landscaping project, but the company did shoddy work and never resolved problems after two years of wrangling. "The process, the arguing, trying to track him down for a year and not taking responsibility for his screw-ups was ridiculous," Kolacz says, adding that he joined the List to give Premier an F.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries fined Harper a total of $14,918 for license violations, including working with a suspended or revoked license on jobs for three homeowners.

According to L&I records, he's not paid those fines, or a $26,193 judgment from June 2011. Neither Harper nor co-owner Daniel Reeves Harper, his father, returned calls or emails 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 Seattle 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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