5 On Your Side

Choosing a Contractor Can Make or Break Projects

Posted July 16, 2007

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— Choosing a contractor for a remodeling job can turn the entire project into a pleasure or a nuisance.

Susan Hurley of Raleigh thought she had found a good deal when she hired B.J. Kiseil Custom Builders to build a front porch onto her home.

Her house's old front porch "... was really small. It was just a stoop, and we wanted to be able to sit out and enjoy the neighborhood," said Hurley.

In October 2006, she paid B.J. Kiseil $10,000 of the $18,750 total cost up front to complete the porch by Christmas. The contractor lived just down the road from her and operated a small business, which Hurley said she considered to be bonuses.

"He, in hindsight, told us everything we wanted to hear," said Hurley.

By Christmas, Hurley said she had paid Kiseil an additional $1,400 for bricks, but Keisel had not even poured the footings.

"He was just nowhere near done," said Hurley.

In January, Kisiel told her he was out of town after Hurley refused to pay him more money, said Hurley.

"We physically saw him in his yard. Mowing his lawn. Raking leaves. And so we knew he was lying to us at that point," said Hurley.

Kiseil poured concrete and put down foundation bricks, but 10 days later, his tools and permit box were gone, said Hurley.

Hurley has since hired another contractor to finish the job, but figured that Kisiel owes her around $8,000. She then contacted Five on Your Side to help resolve the situation.

Kiseil said that he left the job because Hurley questioned the value of the work he had done.

"Honestly, it was really an insult to me, so when I thought that was her position, I was really put off," said Kiseil.

Kiseil acknowledged the money that Hurley had paid him and said that he had also work invested in the project.

"I've got a lot of work involved in that whole project, and I don't think she realizes what it took to get to the point that we were at when I went ahead and stopped work," said Kiseil.

Kiseil agreed that he owes Hurley some money and promised Five on Your Side that he would call Hurley about it.

This Monday, Kiseil said that he and Hurley are negoting over her $8,000 figure and that he is working on coming up with a refund figure that he thinks is fair. He promised to have a check to Hurley within "a few weeks."


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  • flybirdy08 Jul 17, 2007

    He owns my parents money.. he tells the same story over and over again.. "I have to sit down and figure out how much I own them".. well, Brian... I am glad 5 on your side got the word out. You shouldn't do busniess in North Carolina anymore. You take peoples money and run..

  • little beaver Jul 17, 2007

    I live in the neighborhood of this case, and knew of the situation. His quality of work was bad, and quite frankly the scope of this job should should have been completed by the promised date. If he's saying this took a lot of work to do what he did, then he's incompetent. A porch job is about as simple as it gets for a contractor. The $8000 refund seems fair to me when you factor in the fact the he just up and split. Very unprofessional.

    A lot of contractors lose sight that they work for the customer paying for the job, and don't care about quality and satisfaction. Usually, it catches up with them, but unfortunately at the expense of many consumers in the process. There needs to be a better method for taking care of those that have bad track records that has the authority to strip their license.

  • sidneysgrl Jul 17, 2007

    If anyone needs a great contractor, I highly recommend RSJ Contractors out of Sanford. They do awesome work and are way less expensive than other contractors in the area. I had 4 quotes, and RSJ beat every quote by about $2,000. I have used them for the last 3 times I needed a contractor, and they were great each time.

    All of my jobs I had them do included the following:
    1. Installing and repairing hardwood floors
    2. Adding a concrete driveway outside
    3. Painting my entire house on the inside
    4. Replacing some bad masonite siding on my house and painting the new siding to match the house.
    5. Replacing my roof with new shingles and tar paper.

    In my opinion, you can't go wrong with these guys, but give them a call and check them out for yourself.

  • rah-rah-rita Jul 17, 2007

    It really is a shame that a contractor hasn't figured out how much money he could make if he completed the jobs he is hired for. Obviously a "good and honest" contractor is a rare breed. Word of mouth alone would garner big bucks!!

  • my5spuds Jul 17, 2007

    My husband had a bad experience with Brian Kisiel many years ago working as a subcontractor. I guess it always comes back around when your business practices are less than honest. Also, I want to know what kind of contract allows you to just pull off of a job because your customers are questioning your work.

    It's contractors like this that make all other contractors look bad. Always get references, good contractors NEVER have a problem with this.

  • instant_karmen Jul 17, 2007

    This is why I suggest using Angie's List, both when looking for a contractor and when something like this happens. https://www.angieslist.com/AngiesList/Login.aspx The homeowner in this case needs to do a report on this guy so no one else gets burned.

  • Stormy13 Jul 17, 2007

    Moral of all these stories - NEVER ever pay all monies up front. Wait until job is complete and done to your satisfaction and inspection before paying. If a contractor/builder will not agree to this then find another one.

  • SpiritWarriorCrackPot Jul 17, 2007

    It sucks when you hire bad contractors.
    I had BRADLEY CARPETS in Apex come in and put in hardwood floors. On the day of installation they're all scratching their heads wondering if they picked the right wood.
    In the aftermath: None of my AC vent covers fit anymore, they splashed stain all over baseboards and appliances/fixtures, and they broke my kitchen island.
    Throughout all of this they were unapologetic, stand-offish, and combative.
    There's no place for companies that treat the customer as the enemy.

  • Wake1 Jul 17, 2007

    This guy should have CROOK written on his forehead!!

  • Hey yuall Jul 16, 2007

    Oh PLEASE!!!! A homeowner questioned the value of Kisiel's work and he was insulted? Sounds like the homeowner had every right to question it when a job he started and contracted to complete in 2 months wasn't done! These jerks run rampant all over the Raleigh area and get away w/ stealing from homeowners because it is so easy for them to do it. I'll add a name to "contractors" to avoid....Jeffrey Eldon Barnett did the same thing to many homeowners in this area a few years ago... w/ a contract,took lots of $$, started jobs and then stopped showing up. He filed for bankruptcy so a lawyer gets some $$ for helping him out...he waits a couple of years and does it all over again. It's a shame that someone in a "high place" can't put a stop to this!! The attorney generals office couldn't do it! BEWARE of Contractors!!!!