I am very happy for the price and service that Ron’s Plumbing Company has provided. Thank you Nate and Jose for your hard work, and thank you Ron for your clear communication!
I must be honest that initially I was very skeptical, and was judging them because I had a previous bad experience with a small business. The few bad reviewers on Yelp and Thumbtack made me even more uncomfortable. I asked lots of questions, and Ron answered all of them patiently, without getting offended. He explained to me that many years ago, the company was bigger and some of the employees were not doing their jobs as they were supposed to, hence the bad reviews. Since a year ago, Ron has decided to size down the company because of his health. He only hires people that he trusts, and since then all reviews have been positive. Finally, it was the big discount that convinced me to give them a try. I had another company from Chesapeake coming over, quoting $1500 more than Ron’s company for the same project. That company is bigger with all the inspectors wearing professional uniforms, but I thought I should not pay that much money just for the uniforms.
My previous bad experience was with T&C Maintenance. In April of 2015, I had a blockage of my laundry drain. It was through Thumbtack that I hired Tom from T&C Maintenance to fix the problem. Tom came 2-3 times, and finally was able to make the gray water run again with his mechanical snakes. He was very courteous and charged me less than $100. I left a great review for T&C Maintenance. However, just after 2 usages, the laundry drain became clogged again. Since my family was traveling out of the country in the summer, I did not contact Tom until August. Tom (the father of T&C) said the cast iron pipes may have become too old, and it was likely that the pipes were rusting from inside out. He offered a great price to replace ~25’ of pipes with PVC for $275. When I called T&C again for the project, it was the son Chris who picked up the phone. He looks exactly like Tom. He explained that Tom has decided not to do any crawlspace work because he has got prostate cancer. Instead of $275, he charged me $660 for the work, saying that materials alone would cost more than $300. Being a first time house owner with no idea what could be going on in the mysterious crawl space, I trusted him. Five months after, I started to smell something foul from the crawl. The bad odor comes and goes, so I did not pay too much attention until my termite inspector noticed me the problem in Late June. When I called T&C again, without knowing who I was Chris said he would come to my house the next day at 6:00 pm. When I texted him my address and explained that he was here last November, however, he never showed up. When I texted him more, he blocked me from his phone. I finally decided that I should venture to the crawl myself, so that I will not be fooled by dishonest people. What outraged me is that when I was there, I saw the cast iron pipes that T&C has replaced, my dryer vent cap that disappeared since T&C visited, a water bottle, and some random garbage. I did ask Chris to take out the replaced cast iron pipes, to which he responded it was not standard for plumbers to take them out, and there are a lot of other parts in the crawl. The truth is, I could find no other trash other than the ones I have mentioned above. If I could review T&C again, I will give it a big thumb down. Don’t get fooled by the innocent looking faces.
When I first met Nate from Ron’s company, as I said, I was not trusting him very much. For one, his name never appeared on Thumbtack. For another, I thought he talked too much for Jose, who I was told speaks perfect English, has good reviews on Thumbtack, and was supposed to be the team leader. I was under the impression that Nate was taking advantage of him, with him doing the sweet talks to get my money, while Jose does the dirty job. I was wrong. They both worked very hard, and very often it was Nate who crawls under there to do the difficult jobs. Eventually they charged me $1100, which included installing an additional 10’ of PVC pipe (because apparently the entire length has become rusty, fragile or with holes), and cutting up and removing the cast iron pipes left by T&C. Nate took a lot of pictures to show what it was like in the crawl space after the work was done. He also showed me the holes on the cast iron pipes he has replaced. I also appreciate him giving me professional advices a few times. For example, I wanted to keep the replaced sand for my garden, but he said that sand is contaminated with the mold-killing chemicals and bad for plants. I would have never thought of that. I have full confidence that they have done a great job. I will hire them again in the future.