In a period of 2 months, I I hired Tim Walsh, thru his contracting company, Premier Hardwood floors for two flooring jobs.
House 1 - $2900 contract to buff and coat 1412sf of oak, and 52 open stair oak treads in my own home (I'm also a contractor). This home is a 2400sf urban loft style row home where one can see from the basement thru the second and third floor skylights in various place (very open). There is 1500sf of exposed brick, and 1200sf of original exposed wood beams and dust management was a major concern, as I wanted to minimize the detailed cleaning of walls and beams after the work was complete. The primary reason Tim was contracted for a quote and subsequently hired for the work is because he had used commercial grade dust management systems in the home of a friend, and Tim promised to use the same equipment in my home.
Tim was late for the quote appointment, but he seemed very knowledgeable regarding the work. He was very flexible with regards to scheduling. His pricing was high but acceptable assuming he delivered on what he promised, so I contracted with him and we broke the job into a two day job for logistical reasons.
Day 1 - His guys arrived 2 hours late. Other than plastic over items (which they did a nice job with) it turned out there was NO dust management systems in use when the work was performed. I walked into an area after they started sanding, and it was a dust cloud. No vaccuums of any type in use during sanding. No reason to stop them at that point as the damage had been done (in my case, dust damage could be remedied with a lot of vacuuming ..no other major devices were affected due to the plastic.....so not the end of the world....but NOT close to what I had been promised). Tim was notified immediately of the improper equipment in use, and all he could say was that his subs had been instructed to bring in the proper equipment. No apologies nor mia culpas (which seemed a little odd...and turned out to be the first of many flags....). Tim was instructed to have his crew bring the proper dust management systems for day 2 of the job.
Day 2 - His guys showed up over an hour late. They had buffers that connected to back pack vacs..which is better than day 1...but NOT CLOSE to the dust management systems Tim had promised..... at that point I had 2 days to get out of the home, and no time to find someone else with the proper equipment or the ability to manage their subs better.
The work was finished, and quality of the work it's self was very good, and after having one of my employees spend 8 hours vacuuming beams and brick, my house was whole again with nice looking floors. Although Tim displayed total lack of control over his subs with regards to the equipment he had spec'd and promised start times, the quality of the finished work was good...perfection in this business is hard to find...and in this case, the late meetings and wrong equipment created nuisance factors and some additional cost, but not the end of the world.
Three weeks later, I had another job where dust control was not as critical. Upon completion of the first job, Tim had indicated he had sourced another crew that he felt more comfortable with from a management perspective, so I thought I'd try him one more time.
House 2 - $2600 - This job was in my clients home. 274sf of oak flooring (butterscotch stain) and 3 sets of stairs. Tim quoted the job and his price was high...but I was assured a turn key job...and that's all I was looking for.
Tim never got a written quote to me before starting the job, but I trusted him on our pricing agreement. Tim was very flexible with scheduling on short notice, and once the job was ready, Tim had guys in there within 3 days or so and the work was complete in two days (almost complete, that is).
I walked the job after completion, and an otherwise great looking job looked incomplete because the top edge the stringers had not been done. I walked the job with Tim and he meekly tried to question whether the tops of the stringers (which were never specifically discussed) should have been included in the price. I told him I didn't care if they were in the price or not...but that they needed to be done...and to that he agreed. I also asked him if that 20 minutes worth of missed work would have been completed had he been on the job managing his subs, and he indicated it would have been...and I asked him if he'd have charged extra at that time, and he said no..that would have been something that just got done because it was small and needed to get done...so we agreed on that. Tim went on to tell me 'dont worry, I'll take care of it...it's no big deal'. He then detailed how he personally was just going to lightly sand the edges, and apply one coat of poly with some stain mixed in...and having done that myself on other jobs, I knew that to be a short cut that would work great. Tim indicated he'd personally be in on Saturday to complete the work.
Later in the week Tim confirmed the punch out for Saturday, and I told him I'd leave his check in my mailbox for him....and here's where things took a dark turn. Tim picked up the check and cashed it, but he hadn't stepped foot back in the home to finish the work. Two weeks later when my client asked when the flooring guy was coming back to complete the work, because it didn't appear to him as if anything had been done. I sent Tim a text and an email asking if the work had been completed...and he never responded to either. I then personally checked the job to find out Tim had never returned to the home. I sent more text and emails, and got no response from him. I used an old trick I have for engaging others in conversation when they aren't being cordial, and like others, Tim began to respond. He gave no excuse for avoiding calls and emails. He indicated the work was on the list of 'one of his guys' and that he'd personally go down and check on it over the weekend and whatever wasn't done would be done while he was there.
Following Monday I sent Tim text and email confirming completion of work and got nothing in return. With an incredible amount of threats and foul language I was able to engage Tim in a dialogue..at which point he started down a very childish path of excuses for incomplete work. I told Tim if he hadn't completed the punch out by 5pm Friday, that I would do it for him, and that if I did it for him, he'd wish he had done it himself. By 5pm Friday, Tim had not shown up to complete the work (hence, this very detailed review of my experience with Tim and his company).
Ironically, at 5:30am Saturday morning, I got a childish email from Tim indicating he'd be there in a few hours to finish. At 10am he texted indicating work had been done. I walked job an hour later to discover he had nicely completed 80% of the punch out, but he had missed the two most obvious parts right next to the front door. Sent Tim text asking if he'd like opportunity to finish the parts he missed and two hours later....the punch out was finally complete.
Tim is a very charming and charismatic salesman. But Tim is a Salesman. No one walking this planet should have had to work as hard as I did to to get Tim Walsh to finish this job. I made the mistake of trusting Tim with access to a check when work wasn't complete...and Tim took advantage of that in a way seldom seen by a 'professional' contractor. Tim's voice mail is frequently full. Tim only responds to text messages when he feels like it. Tim seldom responds to emails. Tim is running a flooring business with no full time employees, and in my experience he doesn't manage his subs properly nor does he walk his own jobs upon completion. Tim also has what I considered to be an incredible unprofessional habit of asking his customers to take their time to go into Bank of America and deposit their checks into his account instead of just mailing him his checks. From my perspective, Tim's behavior was completely illogical....try to make sense of it if you'd like, but I couldn't. I'd just take this testimonial for what it is....the testimonial of a very bad experience with a guy who cashed a check he should never have taken until the work was completed, as he had promised.
Just before submitting this I found reference to a complaint against Premier Hardwood Flooring dated 9/7/2012 at www.bbb.org. That is the same general time frame when I had problems with Tim, and that report has nothing to do with me nor my experience with Tim...so it would appear someone else had enough problems with Tim they deemed it necessary to file a claim with the BBB. ( http://www.bbb.org/greater-maryland/business-reviews/hardwood-floor-contractors/premier-hardwood-floors-and-contracting-company-in-woodstock-md-90229671/complaints#breakdown )
I also just read Tims bio on his website prior to submitting this (http:www.premier-hardwoodfloors.com) It was my understanding from Tim that he was a Salesman for IBM until around 2004. So while the 30 years of 'sales' experience may be accurate....I'm not sure how much of that transfers to residential contracting and the rest of the info he describes. I'd also whole heartily disagree with his 'genuine commitment to customer satisfaction'. Furthermore, based on his NHIC contracting license number of 103975, it would sure appear his experience in the residential contracting (as a provider) didn't start until sometime during or after 2006.
During our brief time working together, Tim told me he was managing a $250,000 construction project in Virginia and that he had just purchased a puroclean franchise and that he had a large portfolio of rental properties that he owned that he was managing without property manager...and all this was being handled without any direct employees....
I'm an ambitious person myself, but to me, Tim's ambitions make Superman look like a kindergartner in the world of mortals. I believe Tim thinks he handles it all almost flawlessly....but the info above is a testimonial to Tim's execution. Tim proved to be untrustworthy by missing almost every deadline he set and by cashing a check for work which was not complete, and breaking promises to remedy on several occasions.
There's no doubt in my mind that Tim has likely satisfied clients and customers in the past...and I'm sure he'll do the same for some in the future....but in my opinion, if you work with Tim...you are taking a heck of a gamble that he stays focused on your work long enough to get it complete, and obviously, be very careful with making any final payments to Tim without checking out all the work in entirety.