One thing I've learned as a new homeowner is that finding a reliable contractor, at least around Norman, OK, is about as difficult as finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Nobody seems to rate contractors, making the situation a crapshoot if you need work done on your home. I am maintaining this list for my own future reference and thanks to help from friends and known acquaintances. Please E-mail me your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org and hopefully we'll avoid giving the rotten eggs our business. Thanks!
|General equipment & contracting|
850 Ed Noble Pkwy
-- We've had 10+ regular home deliveries ($25 per delivery) which have
always been right on schedule; lumber arrives in good shape.
Customer service at the store, overall, is courteous but lackadaisical.
-- On 4/13/01 I saw a furious customer at Home Depot customer service counter demanding to know why store was not properly coordinating with their subcontractor for a window installation. I left midway through, but the service person was not giving clear answers and the supervisor was not stepping in.
-- In 2002, delivery rates went up from $25 to $40. Geez! Unfortunately Lowes charges even more.
|Good, customer service leaves something to be desired|
-- On 4/16/01 Steve responded to a sign I posted at Country Boy offering
$100 to shovel about 2 cu yd of mud. He was quick, polite, and efficient.
Recommend for any difficult odd jobs, though didn't have opportunity to
get a good feel for his technical proficiency. Biz card lists plumbing,
carpentry, and electrical.
-- We had him come back 2/28/02 to fill some concrete block cores... he did this for $60 and cleaned up the work nicely.
-- Have not been able to contact him since that last visit. Phone is disconnected and pager goes unanswered.
|Very good, but nowhere to be found now|
|Sand, Gravel, Concrete|
|We've used them a couple of times to have truckloads of gravel hauled at $20 per ton. They delivered right on time once, and a few hours late 4 times. Darn reliable and good if you don't mind a 2 to 3 hour delay.||Good|
11401 Timber Trails Rd
|Their gravel is somewhat cheaper but you have to schedule well in advance (weeks). His gravel comes out of the Arbuckles, so that's probably why. The driver is pretty nice.||Good|
|Called 4/16/01 to get estimate for concrete job; had good impression. Individual said he'd return call in afternoon with estimate. No response. Called back 4/17/01 and he promised to return call by 1 pm. No response by 4/27/01. This service also seems to handle Metro Hauling (see below). Called 1/15/01, Boyd returned call in 20 minutes (caller ID showed C209-8705 and Debra Mattingly 329-8324)||Not sure|
|David Fries Roofing
407 Highland Pkwy
Norman OK 73069
When they have shown up they've done a good job at a reasonable price.
However their customer service leaves much to be desired as they
about us on their schedules, requiring persistent followups.
We may try a different place next time.
David Fries Roofing: I had one of his guys out to repair some shingles on my roof. The appointment was vague "we'll see if we can get someone out today", but a guy showed up with a couple of hours. The work was done in 20 minutes and at a very reasonable price. I recommend these folks for at least minor ("I could do that, but don't feel like it") roof repairs. -- Seth Noble
|Good work but appointment system is subpar|
Exterior Specialties Inc
|(Third party review) Quyen Arana (email@example.com) writes on 5/15/02: Craig Provost (Provost Construction) did a great job on the roof. Our wives know each other. He came out with two weeks to go. He is slow to respond to calls and sometimes takes 2-3 days to get back to you. Communication: Mediocre; Job: Excellent He works with Tim Taft (Exterior Specialties, Inc.) who set us up with siding. The crew came, took one look at our 1952 house, and left. Then came back the next day after thinking about it. Apparently, there is more then enough new homes to side and they are a whole lot easier than old homes. Despite the grumbling, and a small communication problem ("Tim didn't tell us to do the detached garage."... they came back the next day... "Tim said do the garage."), they did a fantastic job. Wow. Communication: Good; Job: Excellent The floors were done by Davidson Flooring. Family business and they seem pretty proud of it. Helpful in picking stains and very up-front about what was possible on old, water stained flooring. We were very pleased. I'd seen floors done 15-20 years ago by them. Communication: Excellent; Job: Very Good Here's some tips: Have a deadline. If you don't, make one up and make it sound important. Make up excuses to keep calling them (1-2 times a week) until they work is started. Then call every few days while the work is in progress. Stop by and tell the crew how great it looks. Thanks for your website, I hope it keeps growing!!!||See text|
1019 N University
Norman OK 73069
-- Friends DZ/JL said they were really good for a 1997 job.
"Very professional and quick
and barely left a shred of evidence behind."
-- Schaffner-Valouch forgot about an appointment for 6/15/01 that we had made on 6/11/01, saying they had no record of it. Rescheduled for 6/18/01.
-- Company forgot about an appointment for 10/1/01 to install a new meter box. Apparently this company is going downhill; no longer recommend.
|Can't keep their appointments|
|OG&E (Oklahoma Gas & Electric)
321 N Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City OK 73102
|Friends DZ/JL report OG&E lied about the fact they had a choice in their electric utility. Their contact with the company told them that since the builder had chosen OG&E, they had to, too. In fact, Oklahoma has a law specific to the circumstance which says otherwise!||See text|
|In January 2000 we got prompt next-day service for an electrical problem (intermittent light fixture that I couldn't isolate). They got it working for $60 but I discovered later that they basically wiggled some wires to get it working again and did not fix the underlying problem. I guess for $60 this was ok -- would probably use again.||Uncertain|
|Huffman Plumbing||(Third party review) Vincent Deberry (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports their work was horrible, they were late, were underqualified, and let water run through the second story floor and ruin the ceiling below. They did pay for damages. Did not follow through on other items they were supposed to accomplish.||See text|
|Pest Arrest||The same day that I discovered damaged shingles, I also discovered termites. I ended up doing a lot of research on termites and got three quotes: Pest Arrest, Atlas Termite, and Arway Termite. Pest Arrest had the lowest price and the best quality treatment. They use the (relatively) new Termidor, which is extremely effective against termites and very safe for humans. The technician who applied the treatment was very thorough and left everything he touched in as good or better shape than how he found it. Treatment took just under eight hours. I highly recommend these guys, and the Termidor / Fipronil treatment. -- Seth Noble See footnote||See writeup|
850 Ed Noble Pkwy, Norman
|-- For a January 2001 Pergo installation items arrived about 2 weeks late. Home Depot did not call to update us about the delay, and proved to be incompetent in the store in resolving the problem. Would NOT use again. -- Subcontractor for this job was Total Tile, 787-3255. It was difficult to get hold of to arrange scheduling but they did an EXCELLENT job and went out of their way to do quality work.||Home Depot was just interested in our money; Total Tile aimed for satisfaction|
|Beverly's Carpet & Interiors|
2260 West Main Street, Norman
|Teacher804@aol.com writes on 7/18/02: We had Beverly's tile our kitchen. It was fast and they did an excellent job. The tile was even reasonable. Then we needed our bathrooms and entry tiled. The owner's son was rude and seemed bothered by our small jobs. He even sent out the wrong tile to be tiled. Beverly took over and the job was completed quickly. Then we needed our island tiled. After a month of contacting them and them telling us they were running a little behind, we had to finally give up.|
|Teacher804@aol.com writes on 7/23/02: We just had James from James Tile, tile our island in the kitchen. He was very precise and we are very happy with his work. We will definitely use him again. I found him in the online white pages under James Tile. He is in Norman. He was very reasonably priced and agreed to do our tile job immediately because we needed it done quickly.|
|M & M Mowers & Automotive
905 S. Green Ave
|May 2000. The owner (Jim) is pretty good, though the woman that usually answers the phone has a snippy, unhelpful attitude. This is the only place I've found so far that could work on Craftsman mowers that we formerly owned, however they incorrectly tensioned the drive belt the one time they worked on our tractor. There are probably better choices.||Average|
|Precure Nursery & Garden Center
8125 W. Reno
Oklahoma City OK 73128
P.O. Box 92
Norman OK 73071
|Did not answer on a Monday at 3 pm. No further contact.||Could not reach.|
2710 36th Ave NW
Norman OK 73072
|Had answering machine going on a Monday at 3 pm. Did not call back.||Does not return phone calls|
|Grissoms Landscape Nursery
408 N 2nd St
Noble OK 73068
|Called 3/5/01 at 3 pm to schedule a job, person on phone did not sound proficient, said someone would call us back. Eleven days later we had not been contacted.||Does not return phone calls|
Boyd Opperman, 209-8705
Company also runs Metro Concrete (see above).
||Reliable but pricy|
|Mike's Hauling & Mowing
1001 Barbour Ave
Norman OK 73069
||Good work, but unreliable and does not return calls.|
|CJH Tractor Service
|Charles I think is a retired farmer and is very experienced in field work. Approx. 2/01 Charles came out to look at our fields and suggested we wait a month for the ground to dry and avoid ruts as his tractor equipment weighs 4 tons. We did as recommended, and on 3/01 Charles remembered us and showed up on his own to check the fields again. He showed up on time and did excellent work. Cost $180 for 5 acres of fields. Recommend for any sort of field mowing work.||Excellent|
|Tom's Tractor Work
|In January 2001, called to have brush hogging done. Tom did not show up at appointed time to look at the field, nor did he call back.||Does not keep appointments|
2451 E. Imhoff Rd.
Norman OK 73071
|Rented a Case backhoe from them a few times in October-November 2000, and after taking care of paperwork they were great about delivering the backhoe with one phone call (delivery was $30). Mainly this good service was due to the guy that is usually there (not on Fridays). The equipment pickups are usually late (5-6 pm) with no penalty so you can usually get some extra work in. Dealing with other employees however is a bit problematic as I can't just phone in the order and have to drive to town to arrange it. You can get them to deliver equipment but only for overnight rentals.||Good|
2213 E. Lindsey
Norman OK 73071
|An alternative east-side rental place with good rates on Ryder trucks and lots of smaller garden-type items.||Good|
|Welch Auto Repair
922 Flood Ave
Norman OK 73069
|Roger Edwards recommends this shop. No further info.||Very good|
2922 Willow Creek St
Norman OK 73071
|Travelling mechanic who does good work; business card says "I will come to your home, business, or location, and service or repair it there. Specializing in "no start" situations; a qualified and experienced Christian technician.||Very good|
Here's a few of the things I learned about termites: In Oklahoma we mostly (only?) have subterranean termites. The colony lives in the ground and sends workers up into the house to forage for food (wood, paper, etc.) Up until the early 80's, a chemical called Chlordane was used to try to create a poison barrier around houses. This stuff killed termites on contact, but it also was extremely toxic and if there was a break in the barrier termites could find it and get in.
Once Chlordane was banned for being too toxic, there was pretty much nothing effective until baits came along in the late 80's or early 90's. Baits work by tricking termites into taking poison back to the colony. They are relatively safe, but can take years to work and are very expensive, requiring service as often as every month for many years.
In the late 90's came Termidor. It is a slow acting poison that targets a neuro-transmitter specific to termites an ants. They can't detect it so they crawl right through it. It takes a couple of days to kill each termite, so it spreads the poison back to its colony. Supposedly Termidor can wipe out an entire colony in two or three months, compared to two or three years for a bait system. While Termidor itself is more expensive than other chemicals, the treatment seems to be cheaper than the high-maintenance bait systems and much more fast and effective too. It is also oderless and is not highly toxic to humans. Google searches on "Termidor" or the active ingredient "fipronil" yield much useful information.