After deciding to relocate permanently to Southwestern Virginia we toyed with building a new home on farmland we own in Carroll County but, instead, purchased an existing home near Floyd. After watching the trials and tribulations of David and Gretchen St. Lawrence with their homebuilding project we’re damn glad we did.

All the project planning experience that both David and Gretchen possess could not offset sloppy contractors, broken promises and the intervention of weather. The shoddy and indifferent customer service and installation performance from Blue Ridge Heating and Air in Christiansburg was not only unacceptable but downright criminal. Stay away from these people. David and Gretchen’s experiences with these shysters reminds me of a similar nightmare we suffered with McGhee Plumbing, the so-called contractor who installed a replacement water heater when our existing one failed in the dead of winter earlier this year. Their service was so bad that GE called in a real plumber from Roanoke to fix the problems caused by McGhee.

For the most part we’ve been lucky with contractors, especially the local ones: Robbie Robinson of Locust Grove Plumbing, Jim Leamon of Leamonstree Electrical Services, Sam Hancock of Highland Hardwards and tree suregeon Craig Knapp have provided excellent, reasonably-priced service. Likewise, we enjoyed excellant customer service from Hot Tub Heaven from Smith Mountain Lake. They delivered our hot tub on time with a no-glicthes installation.

David and Gretchen have also had good luck with local contractors, including Michael Shortt for the excavation work on their new home site and contractor Bob Eich who built their garage/workshop and is completing a number of other projects on the site.

But a lot of con artists dot the landscape, ready to take the unspecting for a ride. Let the buyer beware.