5 On Your Side

Choosing a Contractor Can Make or Break Projects

Posted July 16, 2007 8:42 p.m. EDT

— 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."