Tampa Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

Tampa Best & Worst Contractors of 2013

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

 

Tampa, Fla. Best Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Paul F. P. Pogue


CPR — Computer Problem Resolutions | Tampa

Tom Hernden says he sees a steady stream of desktop and laptop computer work at CPR even as more people turn to tablets. (Photo courtesy of CPR — Computer Problem Resolutions)
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

CPR owner Tom Hernden returns to the Best Contractor list for a record sixth time, thanks to members who awarded him 25 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year. The self-taught computer programmer and repairman says repeat business and customer referrals upgraded his success. "When you get people in a good place, they might not need to call you back all that often, but they send their friends to you," he says.

Hernden, a five-time Super Service Award winner whose work doesn't require a license, helps out his clients and the environment by recycling old computer components.

Laura Grignani, a longtime customer, called Hernden for help when a hard drive containing valuable files and photos crashed. "I contacted a couple of data recovery companies, and they wanted thousands of dollars," the Tampa member says. "I figured Tom would know what to do. He recovered all my data for $70 and saved me thousands of dollars."

Elaine Silliman has used Hernden's services for many years, most recently to repair her Internet connection. "It wasn't an easy fix, but Tom finally found the source," the Tampa member says. "There's no one better than Tom."

Professional Window Installation and Doors | New Port Richey

Jeff Tyszko says he aims to earn a thumbs-up from all his clients. (Photo courtesy of Professional Window Installation)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • Praised for pet friendliness
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Praised for child friendliness
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Look on Jeff Tyszko's website, and you'll find an enthusiastic video endorsement from none other than wrestling star Hulk Hogan. Tyszko says he got Hogan's endorsement with the same go-getting attitude he applies to the window business. "We met him at a boating show, and my son didn't think I could get it, but I told him, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to,'" he says. "So I told [Hogan] I was a little guy running a small business trying to make it happen for my family, and Hulk wouldn't even let me pay him."

Tyszko says this approach has served him well in his business, in which he's done everything from windows to roofing to general contracting since 2001, through both boom and bust times.

"I learned a lot about what not to do when the construction boom ended; when I found out salesmen weren't giving homeowners good information," he says. "So I learned how to do it all on my own — how to sell, how to market, how to do everything."

Members enthusiastically endorsed his work with 18 Page of Happiness nominations in the last year. "I was a little sad when all of my windows were replaced, because then I had no reason to have contact with Jeff!" says Land O' Lakes member Peggy Steele.

Tyszko holds the required state license and county registrations for his work. He occasionally donates services to charities and organizations such as local Buddhist temples and says his windows are energy efficient. Members also noted how well his crew worked around children and pets.

His trademark may be the hundreds of thumbs-up videos and photos he's collected from happy clients. "Sometimes people are a little nervous, but I get into their comfort zone when I ask for the thumbs up," he says.

"I always make sure to ask, ‘Did I do everything I said I would do?'"

Tampa Bay Pest Management | Land O' Lakes

Owner Kurt Dimeler has 13 years of experience in the field. (Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Pest Management)
  • 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

Owner Kurt Dimeler worked for nearly a decade for two other pest control companies before striking out on his own in 2009, treating homes for rodents and insects.

"I apply what's called integrated pest management, which is about minimizing the amount of chemicals being applied and monitoring and treating as needed," he says. Members noted how pleased they were that his methods were pet-safe.

Grace Hutchinson of Tampa has maintained his services for years and says he always comes through. "I recently called him to treat the house when I discovered fleas on my cat, and he called me back within an hour and did the work the next day," she says in one of the 19 Page of Happiness nominations he received in the last year.

Dimeler uses green products upon request and does charity work, including donating financially to schools and working for local churches.

Frogs Floor & Upholstery Care | Lakeland

Geoffrey Odermatt says his company's name stands for "Fully Relying On God." (Photo courtesy of Frogs Floor & Upholstery Care)
  • Charity work or cummunity awards
  • Praised for pet friendliness
  • 2013 Super Service Award eligible
  • Praised for child friendliness
  • Nominated for Pages of Happiness
  • Green products or work practices
  • Licensed or licensing not required

Geoffrey Odermatt, a 21-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, says he's done everything from basic carpet cleanings to scrubbing crime scenes, and particularly enjoys the long-term relationships with clients. "I like the chance to get to know them and what they expect and require in their homes over the years," he says.

Odermatt, whose work doesn't require a license, uses green products in all of his work and donates his services to churches and other nonprofit groups. Members noted how well he worked around their children and pets.

Member Miranda Niemoth hired him twice when she first moved to Lakeland, and filed one of the 12 Page of Happiness nominations he received in the last year. "He was very careful in my home, laying out corner bumpers, wearing booties and working efficiently," she says. "He cares about the work, and it shows."

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.

Tampa, Fla. Worst Contractors

December 27, 2013 by Paul F. P. Pogue

Nationwide Pools | Based in Pompano Beach, but with Tampa offices

Clayton Evers says Nationwide Pools abandoned his pool midway through the job. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Evers)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced civil lawsuits or penalties
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile
  • Illegally unlicensed

In 2013, the Florida attorney general filed a lawsuit, which remained pending at press time, seeking to put Nationwide Pools permanently out of business. The AG's office received 250 complaints from consumers, many of whom say they lost tens of thousands of dollars on the company's shoddy or unfinished work, according to Broward County court records and interviews with complainants. The AG filed suit against Nationwide Pools, which also has offices in Tampa, and several of its subsidiaries, as well as president Keith Stuart and corporate officers Lynn Stuart and Felicia Mallia.

According to the AG, Nationwide — which operates around the state — went out of business in May, but company officials knew months beforehand that it was going under, and continued to collect payments and begin work on projects they knew they could not finish. The AG seeks to permanently ban Nationwide from doing business in Florida and to compel the company to pay full restitution to consumers and civil penalties of $10,000 per violation.

State and county licensing records show the company lacks the required contractor registrations in the counties where it was soliciting business, including Hillsborough and Sarasota. In mid-October, court records show the AG filed an amended complaint alleging the company owners improperly transferred money to a new entity, National Construction Group in Pompano Beach, and continued to advertise pool services. Records show the court issued a temporary ban on the company from doing pool or remodeling work.

Angie's List member Clayton Evers of Dover says he hired Nationwide's Tampa office and paid it $42,000 to construct a pool, but it abandoned the job in 2013 and left a half-finished mess. "They quit and closed their offices in the middle of the night," he says, adding that he had to pay off subcontractors and suppliers who placed liens on his home. Afterward, Evers says he joined Angie's List and gave Nationwide an F review. At press time, Angie's List members had submitted 10 reviews on Nationwide in 2013, nine of which were D or F grades. The company has a D rating based on 22 reviews.

Nationwide representatives could not be reached for comment, as eight phone numbers connected to the business are disconnected.

Orange Paving | Auburndale

Chad Lee Jr.(Photo courtesy of Polk County Sheriff)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile
  • Illegally unlicensed

Four workers face a combined 255 felony and four misdemeanor charges after the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested them and accused them of being traveling scam artists, sheriff's records show. Deputies arrested Jim Stevens, Richard Pierce, Chad Lee Jr. and Chad Lee Sr. in 2013 on charges including grand theft, unarmed burglary, obtaining property by fraud, theft from a person 65 years or older and exploitation of the elderly.

According to the arrest reports, the quartet traveled door-to-door in Auburndale, just 40 miles east of Tampa, offering to build driveways that would last 15 years, but used a mixture of sand and ground-up asphalt that instead quickly crumbled. The reports state they used a variety of company names, including Orange Paving, Power Blacktop Paving, and Richard's Paving.

Edward Lane of Auburndale says he hired them to install a driveway for $2,500 after workers knocked on his door soliciting business. He says he noticed the paving job used inferior quality materials when he inspected it. "They told me I needed to hose it down every day, but I know you're not supposed to water asphalt," he says. "I think they were trying to get me to compact the dirt and rock."

Lane says they were arrested the next day. "They had a thing showing they were licensed and bonded, but it was fake," he says. "From now on, I'm not trusting anybody until I see proof. I'm checking them out first." The police report notes the four men carried a business license containing a fictitious name and address.

Lane says he was fortunate to recover his money, saying he canceled the check before they could cash it. Nonetheless, he says his yard still bears the scars of the work. "I've got a driveway with holes sinking back into the ground," he says. "It's making big potholes in the yard and grass is growing up through it."

All four pleaded not guilty and remain free on bond, court records show, and the case remains pending in Polk County. Attorneys for the defendants did not respond to requests for comment.

Cavaliere Construction | Clearwater

Henry Cavaliere (Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Faces/faced criminal charges
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile

Clearwater contractor Henry Cavaliere was sentenced to life in prison in May 2013 after a jury convicted him of felony lewd and lascivious molestation, according to Pinellas County court records. Court records show Cavaliere has a history of arrests for sex crimes involving children, but was previously convicted for misdemeanor battery and possession of obscene materials.

Angie's List members in 2012 and 2013 reported they received shoddy and incomplete work and lost thousands of dollars paid to Cavaliere because of his arrest.

Nancy Zelman of St. Petersburg says she paid Cavaliere $20,000 for a kitchen remodeling project, but the F-rated company with five reviews did poor work and abandoned the job. "They [used] plywood boxes that weren't even smooth to the touch," says Zelman, who says she joined Angie's List after the experience. "I was told by my lawyer [afterward] that he was going to go to jail and [we] couldn't get any money from him." Cavaliere's attorney, Larry Sandefer, did not respond to requests for comment.

Floor Medix | St. Petersburg

Brenda Reamy says Floor Medix damaged her floor and cabinet. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Reamy)
  • Accused of shoddy work
  • Landed in the Penalty Box
  • Allegedly took the money and ran
  • Notice added to provider's profile
  • Illegally unlicensed

This floor refinishing company is F-rated, based on five reviews, and also went in the Penalty Box in 2013. Members say owner Brian Hall showed photos of work that wasn't his to convince them to make large down payments, then did shoddy work or no work at all. Sarasota member Brenda Reamy says Hall left gouges in her floor after she paid him $4,800 for a restoration job. "My floors were in better shape before they did their work," says Reamy, who joined Angie's List afterward and filed an F review on the company.

Floor Medix landed in the Penalty Box after failing to respond to Seminole member Debbie Miller's complaint that workers walked off the job with her $2,000 deposit and some of her equipment. Neither Floor Medix nor Hall, who did not respond to requests for comment, hold either the required state or Pinellas County license, state and county records show. Doug Templeton, chief investigator for Pinellas County Consumer Protection, confirmed his office had received a complaint about unlicensed contracting, but closed the case after the consumer received her money back through her credit card company.

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 Tampa 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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