Before starting, let me say that I recognize that my extremely negative experience with John is an outlier compared to every other report he's received on Angie's List, which have been glowing. I’m not sure how to explain it, and can only recount the experience. We hired him based on his record here, and everything I am about to describe seems like it relates to a completely different person. This review is quite long, but I really needed to lay it all out to explain why I was so shocked by my experience. We emailed him on January 13 from Angie's List and got an immediate response. On email he was pleasant and responsive, and we arranged for him to come look at the stairs that weekend. He came out and professionally and pleasantly surveyed the site, explained his thoughts and said he would send a proposal shortly. He sent a proposal and pictures of options on January 18th. We responded, didn't hear anything back, and resent the email on January 30. On Feb 7th, I still hadn't heard back and called him. He was very apologetic and polite and said that he had unexpectedly had to manage the accounting and paperwork for the business and was overwhelmed. I told him I understood completely, and he agreed to send the quote. We heard nothing again for several weeks, so I called him on March 7th. He said he thought I had hired someone else for the job given the delay. I replied that we were waiting for his response and were committed to him due to his Angie's List reputation, but if he preferred to decline the job to just let me know and that it was no problem. He said that he had been hired onto the DC-Dulles Metro extension project and had been absorbed by this new position, but had hired some assistants and could now do other jobs. On March 9th he sent the final proposal. We accepted it on March 10th. On March 12th, he wrote to say he had to order some special parts and would be ready shortly thereafter...and then everything turned bad. He called in the late afternoon of March 20th to say that the specially ordered parts had arrived and he wanted to come out the next morning (21st) to show them to me. I said that I was planning on being out the door at 5:00 am but was available in the afternoon on the 21st or Friday all day. He suddenly became irritable and said he didn't want to drive around in his truck all day and burn diesel and wanted to get started. I replied that I wasn't asking him to, but was just proposing alternate times and was happy to work with him on a time that was best for him. He somewhat angrily replied, and quot;I already told you what works for me.and quot; A bit taken aback I said that I didn't understand why he was being so aggressive and was simply trying to find a time, but calling the evening before and then being upset that I wasn't available at short notice was unreasonable - particularly given the long delays overall. He replied that and quot;this isn't even a large dollar amount project,and quot; to which I responded that he had agreed to take it and that nobody had forced him. We then had a disjointed conversation which ended with him saying, and quot;Yes, yes, all I can say is yes,and quot; in response to my pushing back about his aggressiveness. He then grumpily said he wanted to find an and quot;agreement positionand quot; with me. I replied saying that I was happy to meet with him at a time that worked Wednesday afternoon or Friday, but had to be at work the other times. I was also available the next week or over the weekend. He then again mentioned not wanting to spend his time burning diesel in his truck. I said I wasn't asking him to and didn't understand why he was being so aggressive. He then very strangely responded, and quot;I just need to make my point directly. If I was a soldier in Afghanistan, I would be driving around saying 'I don't want to be shot' to make my point directly.and quot; I ultimately changed my schedule around and agreed to be there on Wednesday morning between 7:00 and 7:30, which is when he said he wanted to come by. From the moment he arrived the next day, he was belligerent and insulting. He was intent on discussing politics almost from the moment he stepped out of his truck. I was so stunned I just mumbled along for most of it. He asked if my next-door neighbor's car (which bore the license of the federal agency he works for) was mine, then sarcastically said that he and quot;protects the neighborhood, eh?and quot; He then sardonically said that my neighbor and I (also a Federal employee) were a and quot;mighty team.and quot; He also started commenting on, and criticizing, how all the cars on the street were parked. He then started talking about a piece he'd heard on the radio about a man arrested for making fun of then VP Cheney several years ago, whose case had hit the courts. Then, as he was reaching into his truck to get the pieces to show me, he said, and quot;with a name like yours I thought you'd be down in the Supreme Court arguing cases.and quot; Having no clue what he was talking about, I asked him what he meant. He replied, and quot;You know exactly what I mean.and quot; I again said that actually, I had no clue. He replied in the same way, then said it's all fun and games until someone says they don't know what you mean then it all goes to ****. At that point I cut him off and turned to the task. We went through the parts he'd brought. I asked him how deep he was going to anchor the posts. He said about a foot. I expressed concern about the shallowness and wondered if they had to be below the frost line. He immediately became very angry and retorted, and quot;I've never heard of anything like that in my entire career, even in Europe. The frost won't eat the cement, it just needs to support the post.and quot; Again, somewhat taken aback, I replied that when I was an Army engineer we always had to bury our fence posts and pickets below the frost line. He then replied, and quot;Well, you all waste money. You just waste money in the Army. What do you know?and quot; He then went on, saying, and quot;You're a strange one, I don't understand you.and quot; All the same, I asked him to bury them below the frost line. Shortly thereafter, he discovered that the long piece of railing he had picked up from his supplier was 4 feet shorter that what he had ordered. He went to get another piece, and I went on the Arlington County website and found code information stating the frost line was 18 inches and that posts should be buried 24 inches. I also checked with our General Contractor who agreed. When John returned I passed that information on to him in as respectful and non-confrontational a manner as I could muster. He again became upset and said, and quot;Those contractors are worse than the government, they'll tell you anything. They don't know what's going on.and quot; I again reiterated my desire to bury them 24 inches deep. I then went off to work and returned in the late afternoon. He had gotten some holes partially drilled but, since he was using a water-cooled drill, was waiting for the plumbers to complete a job inside (which had been scheduled weeks prior) and turn the water back on. I told him that he shouldn't feel he had to wait around and waste his time. If he needed to do another job or had other things to do, he should feel free to finish up another day. Again, out of the blue, and quot;well that's how they do it in America, isn't it? They just send the workers home.and quot; At this point I was beginning to lose patience. I told him that, once again, I didn't know what he was referring to, so he repeated himself, adding, and quot;I am just trying to educate you and inform you about labor practices in other countries.and quot; He then went on to discuss some radio shows he had heard, and political arguments he'd had. I told him to do whatever made sense to him based on his priorities and went inside. He decided to come back the next day and we made arrangements for him to have access to the power and water he needed. He returned the next day to finish the job. The task itself was adequately completed. The join welds are ground down, but still look rough. At one spot, the top part of the railing has unsmoothed gouges from the angle grinder and the bottom decorative element is a little out of alignment, but overall the quality is good. The structure is solid and supports weight well. It doesn’t wobble at all. Since I wasn’t here when the holes were finished and the posts anchored, I can’t know for sure if they are 24 inches down, although he says he placed them at that depth. John had had some of the worst and strangest customer service skills I have ever encountered. There were times when I had to remind myself that I was hiring him for a job, and not the other way around. I can't explain why my experience was so different from everyone else (maybe he was going through a rough patch or maybe I rubbed him the wrong way), but I truly can't recommend him.