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General Contracting reviews in Monona

  • F
    Let Mikey Do It
    I called the first time and got him, he said he was busy, call back & leave my number on the voice mail and he would return it. I did this, no return call. Called two other times, never received a reply.
    - April W.
  • A
    Larson Builders LLC
    We have a small 1940s-era bungalow, and the tiny cramped bathroom was becoming a real problem as we got older and creakier. We literally had 10" of space between the front of the toilet and the edge of the tub, making it nearly impossible for someone with severely arthritic knees to use the toilet, and the vanity cabinet for the sink made for such cramped quarters that it wasn't possible for a crutch-user to get into the bathroom at all.  Even using a cane in that room was difficult. 

    We didn't want a designer appearance, and we weren't trying to put a modern contemporary bathroom into a 70-year-old home; our priorities were function and accessibility.  We talked to several different contractors, and Rick Larson was the only one who really listened to, AND heard, what we were saying.

    Rick started by bringing out several of his subcontractors to see the job, discuss alternatives with us and explore the most cost-effective quality solution.  It did take a while for him to compile the data and put numbers together, but it was clear in examining the incredibly detailed proposal that a great deal of thought and care had gone into it.  After some questions and answers, and a few changes, we met with Rick to sign the contract, and work commenced in early September.

    The bathroom that was remodeled is the only one in the house.  We have a toilet in the basement, but no other bathing facilities, and Rick told us that he had been losing sleep over worrying about what we'd do for a shower during the project.  What he did was to contrive a shower-surround with plastic sheeting and drywall poles, so that with the exception of one overnight when the tub had been removed but the shower base was not yet in, we were able to shower all the way through the entire project!  We were incredibly grateful for his extra care (and I am sure that our coworkers were as well). 

    Not surprisingly with a 70-year-old house, there were a few surprises lurking below the surface.  There was some water damage to the plaster around the tub.  The light fixture we liked turned out not to fit very well with the cabinet we had chosen.  Rick addressed each problem that emerged with creativity and artistry, and the solutions he came up with were both practical and elegant. 

    Each of the subcontractors on the job showed up promptly on the date they were supposed to, and they all did superb jobs in their respective trades.  Rick did an heroic job of scheduling them all around each other, and it went very smoothly.  He also kept us updated on the results of each of the city inspections throughout the project (there were at least six or seven, for different phases of the work), and every inspection was passed with flying colors. 

    One of the most incredible things about our experience with Larson Builders was the level of communication we received throughout the entire process.  We got daily emails, often more than one, occasionally with photos, updating us on what had been done, any issues encountered, plans for the days to come, and anything else pertinent to the progress on the project.  When we asked questions, we got prompt and very informative responses. 

    Another thing that we were continually astounded by and tremendously grateful for was the attention to detail that was shown throughout the project.  Rick would vacuum the bathroom, the hallway, and part of the living room at the end of the day - then he'd get out his leaf-blower and clear off our driveway at the end of each week!  He asked for and wrote down the names of our two cats, and asked how they interact with strangers.  He checked in with our neighbors to be sure that his vehicle wasn't in their way.  He noticed that the bathroom floorboards were creaking (not surprising in a house this old) and offered to put extra screws in to stop the squeaking.  He even noticed that our front door needed a hard push to open or close, so he took off the door and adjusted the hinges so it would fit better!  The little extras, the attention to every last detail all through the entire project, were just incredible. 

    The project was finished well within the overall time estimates.  Due to issues like the hidden water damage in the plaster that could not be foreseen ahead of time, the final total was higher than the initial estimate - but it is important to note that every single change throughout the entire process was clearly communicated as it emerged, with the cost impact it would have.  I am an accountant, so I spent quite a while reviewing and analyzing the final bill in comparison to the initial estimate and the change orders that had been approved during the project, and I was pleased to discover that there were no surprises, nothing that we were not expecting based on the changes we had authorized. 

    The actual bathroom is so incredibly much easier to navigate than it was before the project that it doesn't even feel like the same house.  It's not fully ADA-compliant; nobody will ever get a wheelchair through that bathroom door.  But then, neither is the rest of the house; they just didn't build them that way back in the 1940s.  Within the limitations of a small, basic 70-year-old bungalow, Rick did an exemplary job of making the most of the available space, and in doing so, he has made a profound difference in our quality of life.  The bathroom unquestionably looks better than it did before, but the real gift is in the vastly improved usability and accessibility. 

    We are deeply grateful for the care, attention, creativity and thoroughness that Rick Larson brought to this project, and for the impact that it has had on our lives.  I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Larson Builders LLC to anyone who values quality, craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a highly ethical approach to remodeling work.
    - Karen M.
  • A
    Let Mikey Do It
    I don't have a whole lot to add -- dealing with Mike is how you would like all your professional interactions to work out.  He works with you, communicates superbly when it's necessary, is available when you need to talk with him, and completes the job in the timef rame he stated.
    - Michael G.
  • A
    basset renovations
    Their service was excellent. They had different subcontractors. The cost was $12,000 and it included carpentry, painting and electricians. It was fabulous. We thought the price was pretty competitive. Quality was excellent. They were here when they said they would be. They finished when they said they would.
    - Pam D.
  • A
    Adam's Handyman & Remodeling Service
    Adam responded quickly to my initial call. He came over and evaluated the work. He charged for materials and time at a rate of  $38/hour for all work. He is very attentive to the quality of work. (I was thinking "basement";  he was thinking "really nice basement.") He is very aware of numerous alternatives in wood. paint, accessories, and virtually everything else. He offered nice alternatives that enhanced the quality at a reasonable cost. He also has good taste.    One of Adam's strengths is his responsiveness. He never failed to return a call timely. This was quite helpful as I was standing in the tile store trying to decide which tile to choose. He is at all times appropriate and very respectful of the fact that he is in someone else's home. He accepts the adage "the job is not done for the day until the cleanup is finished."    Both he and sidekick Pat are good at what they do and easy people with whom to interact. The only problem that occured related to the fact that their third person left right when they were to begin the job. This left them short-handed. They did everything possibleto lessen the consequences. I suspect that they have now found a suitable third person. In that regard it is noteworthy that Adam was unwilling to accept anybody: he had to see the quality of their work and to get a sense of the person before he was willing to just grab another body to help.    I STRONGLY recommend Adam to anyone needing home remodeling.
    - Bill S.
  • D
    Rudy Rauben
    I am giving Rudy a D rather than an F because 1. He didn't charge me for the incredibly shoddy work he did, and 2. He had the integrity to replace the expensive special-order lumber he had ruined. The experience could have been worse, but it was very bad. 

    My first impression of the man was that he was arrogant and unlikeable, but the friend of a friend of a friend who recommended him said he does good work and I was concerned about getting the work done in the time frame (before winter). I convinced myself that I didn't have to like him as a person if he did good work. I had to ask him numerous times for a quote, for a list of lumber to buy, and for a drawing of the pergola. He always had numerous excuses that he would couch in vaguely new-age terms, hinting at his advanced spirituality and always indicating how good but incredibly busy he was.

    When he finally came to do the work, I arrived at home from my job to discover that he had decided to shorten the structure by 6 feet without consulting me.  In so doing, he had cut and therefore ruined all the expensive lumber I had purchased. He had sunk 6 posts for the pergola in a very sloppy, amateur fashion. The posts are not straight and big chunks of concrete were splashed everywhere. Apparently, Rudy does not know how to use a plumb bob, nor has he ever poured concrete before. He left scraps of lumber and junk all over the yard and tramped a fruiting shrub into oblivion.

    When I informed him that his decision to shorten the structure was not acceptable--and not in accordance to the drawing he made, the plan we discussed, nor the amount of lumber I had purchased, he was very contrite and said he would make things right. He then basically went missing. For the first couple of weeks, he would email me with increasingly elaborate excuses about other work that he had to get done. He did insist, however, that I was a top priority . He then ceased to communicate at all.

    When I emailed him and insisted that he needed to finish the job, he replied with a condescending message about how he had told me about his schedule and that I would have to live with how busy he is. When I pressed him further and insisted that he needed to return and finish the job, he quit. 

    I was able to get the wonderful Isthmus Handyman to finish the job. Although we had to contend with Rudy's crooked posts and mess, at least a competent carpenter was able to make this a decent-looking structure. I ended up with something that was not what I initially envisioned but that I can live with.

    The other parts of my complaint are not as objectively verifiable, but were important and disturbing aspects of why nobody should ever hire this person: He is hypocritical, manipulative, and appears to be out of touch with what he has said and done. He talked down to me and he lied to me. He brought his dog over and left the animal unsupervised and loose. I find this very disturbing because I am an animal lover and Rudy allowed the nice dog to roam all over--even in the street. The dog defecated on my next-door neighbor's lawn twice and Rudy did not clean up, even after the neighbor called him out on it. I smelled liquor on his breath at 4:30 p.m., and he and his co-worker (who never got paid for the job) made sexually suggestive comments to my cleaning woman. I have learned some of these things gradually long after Rudy disappeared.

    I felt unsafe having this man on my property and I hope I never see him again. 
    - Madelon W.
  • A
    Let Mikey Do It
    Our house was built with a sump pump but when we bought it, the builder took it with them as "it wasn't in the contract." 8 years later it's pouring rain, late on a Sunday afternoon and the crock is filling up. Called Let Mikey Do it, we needed a pump bad. They came over and installed a temporary pump and saved our basement, working until 11 PM that night. Back at 8 AM the next day and installed a new pump and flush piping. Quoted estimate was dead on for final bill. Our neighbor wasn't as lucky. 6" of standing water in their basement. When they saw Let Mikey Do It installing our pump, they came running. Let Mikey Do It installed the neighbor's pump immediately after ours. This is just one of the many jobs Let Mikey Do It has done on our home. Let Mikey Do It has been doing jobs around our home for over 10 years. We will continue to use them.
    - Debra A B.
  • A
    Dave charged us about half the going rate of a regular contractor. He allowed us to do some of the removal of old material and some of the flooring ourselves to keep costs down. He did a fantastic job even when the home improvement store gave us the wrong sized cabinets for our space. The work was solid and done on schedule and under budget. Dave and his sons are very hard working people.
    - Shahla W.
  • A
    Adam's Handyman & Remodeling Service
    Great They finished the job on time and under the estimate i was given. They kept me informed on every detail of the project.
    - chris o.
  • B
    Final Phase Home Improvement, LLC
    work is excellent but is proceeding rather slowly.
    - robert h.
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General Contractors in Monona

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