Positive

Paul M., Mpls Dec 2013

I’ve hired Paul for a couple different plumbing projects this year, and have been extremely satisfied with his work. He is very friendly and helpful, his prices are reasonable, and most importantly, he is extremely honest and trustworthy! I would highly recommend Paul for any plumbing projects you have.

Eric M., Mpls Aug 2013

“Masterful, an instant classic!!!” …. “Puts Pacific Toilet Rim and all those other summer blockbusters to shame!” …. “Absolutely flawless, worth every penny!” We were referred to Paul (AthenaCare) by “Ron the Sewer Rat” and could not have been more pleased. Integrity, friendliness, humor, great communication, excellent work and professionalism throughout … I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Paul and AthenaCare to anyone in need of a plumber.

Marc L., Minneapolis Sept 2013

Paul has done work at my personal residence several times. He has always done an outstanding job. Most importantly, it has been my perception that he has always been honest and fair, and at a reasonable price. I have always felt comfortable with him in my home. Trust is a big thing for me with someone providing a service of this nature, and I feel he has earned mine. He is also a very personal fellow and has provided timely service when I have needed it. Highly recommended.

Jenny B., Bloomington Aug 2013

Paul is not only a great plumber, but also a nice person. I originally met him when he repaired plumbing at a duplex I used to rent. He did all the plumbing repairs for my prior landlords. When I bought my own home and ran into some problems, I knew I was going to call Paul at Athena. He was always so helpful and considerate at my old rental. I had a shower drain repair gone bad and called Paul. He offered to alter his plans a bit and come that very same day. That didn’t work due to my work schedule, so we scheduled in the very near future when it worked for both of us. He came out and was able to remove a piece of PVC that was trapped inside a cast iron fitting in a very tight space. He then offered to finish putting the drain assembly back together. He also sold me this cool “water alarm” which is similar to a fire alarm, so I could tell is there were future leaks in this hidden area. He did this all at a very fair, competitive price. I wouldn’t hesitate to use him again for any plumbing needs!

Steve S. , Mpls Aug 2013

Paul Jursik at Athena Care is awesome. Here are a few reasons: 1) His honesty is without compare. He will tell you exactly what you need and exactly what you don’t, and he will explain precisely why. However, he always leaves the choice to you. He also explains things clearly and succinctly. 2) Paul has strong opinions, and this is a good thing – because he believes in doing things correctly. His opinions are informed. 3) However, “doing things correctly,” does not mean Paul is expensive. His fees are clearly competitive, but you’re also getting a very, very high commitment to doing the job well for the price of someone who’s services might be less dependable. He will charge you what it costs to do the job. It’s possible that this may mean it’s less than what another, less honest plumber would charge you. It may also mean that he will advise you to go for a better part that costs a little more. Again, his advice is good advice. 4) He works efficiently, is no B.S. kind of person, and is also very funny. We will probably never work with another plumber in the Twin Cities, unless we are forced to because he either hangs up his wrench or is hit by a truck. It’s good to find a service professional who does great work whom you can trust. End of story.

Gina M., Minneapolis Feb 2013

I can’t say enough good things about Paul! I live in a S Mpls house, built in 1923, and the plumbing is original. The Monday of Thanksgiving week, I came downstairs to discover that I had water all over the kitchen (which is directly below my one and only bathroom). I remembered that my parents had recommended Paul to me and I called him immediately. He answered his phone (this was around 7:00AM), talked me through the scenario, and although he had a full schedule that day, he moved things around to make time for me. He was quick, efficient and completely respectful of my old house (I have found in the past seven years that there are many service professionals who do not know how to treat an old house well.) Paul reset my toilet, which had become more and more wobbly over the last month, and billed me more than fairly. Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning to another soaking wet kitchen. Although the toilet had desperately needed resetting, the real culprit of the wet kitchen was my SHOWER. A frantic text message to Paul elicited another quick response and before long he arrived, along with a second plumber whom he sometimes calls for 2-person jobs (who was also amazing and friendly), they determined the issue, fixed it very quickly and two days before Thanksgiving, I had a fully operational bathroom and no more wet kitchen. There had been a small erosion in the shower’s waste water pipe that was allowing the bath water to flow freely out of the back of the tub’s plumbing (it’s an antique pedestal tub with some of the hardware above-floor), across the floor to a small gap in the edge where it meets the molding, and straight down the wall into the kitchen and further into the basement. Long story short (too late!), it’s been a month and everything has worked perfectly. When my old house decides to have another issue, I will not hesitate to call Paul immediately. He is honest and fair. He tells you exactly what he thinks instead of wasting your time telling you what you may want to hear (refreshing!) I found his billing to be affordable and more than fair. He’s speedy with a diagnosis and gets right down to business–no time wasted. And on top of all that, he’s a super-decent guy, SMART, he TEXTS (which is awesome!), fun to talk to and, I have to say, honorable–a quality that is hard to come by these days. I trust Paul and would recommend him completely (and I have!)

Nathan H., Mpls, Jan 2013

As a first-time customer with a plumbing emergency, Paul was very accommodating and was able to fit me into his schedule on short notice. Not only were his rates quite reasonable for an emergency service call but he was also very professional and did excellent work. I will definitely use AthenaCare for my future plumbing needs.

Elliot R, Dec 2013

My upstairs shower was dripping through the 1st floor ceiling, and Paul gave me some helpful advice over the phone to help diagnose the problem before having him come over. No charge! Thanks, Paul!

Lois T, Mpls, Sept 2012

Paul the Plumber is a great professional – super courteous and easy to get a hold of. I had an emergency plumbing need and called Paul, got him right away and he told me that he was busy with another customer, couldn’t get to my emergency right away and selflessly referred me to another plumber so I could have my bathroom working and in order again! Talk about putting the customer first! I highly recommend Athena Care and Paul the Plumber!

Kyle K., Richfield Aug 2012

I’m a young homeowner who has very little experience with plumbing and upkeep of the home. Just recently, I had a pretty common problem with a leaky faucet that ended up causing a puddle of water underneath my sink. Being the oblivious homeowner newbie, I freaked out calling my local Hardware Store for advice. They recommended that I call Paul Jursik, stating that he was a no nonsense plumber who tells it like it is. I took their advice and was extremely pleased. Paul helped me diagnose the problem over the phone and helped solve my problem with relative ease. Best yet, because he was able to diagnose the problem via phone and he saved me $100 for a service call. In a day and age of greedy human beings, Paul Jursik clearly defies that notion. I am very pleased with his straightforwardness and overall service, and will definitely call him in the event of futher plumbing issues.

Other Reviews:

Paul came out to look at what I thought was a leaking toilet. Once taking a look he assured me that resetting the toilet was not necessary and explained why the warping wood floor was not due to a water leak. Since I already had him at the house I inquired about low water pressure and he gave his professional advice on an option that will hopefully save a ton of money. Paul was extremely knowledgeable, thorough, and honest in his assessment of both of my inquiries – and completely low pressure in terms of scheduling a follow-up regarding the water pressure. I would highly recommend Athena Care if you are looking to get honest and professional plumbing service at a great price compared to some of the major plumbing companies in town.

We have used Paul for plumbing services at least four times and have always been very pleased with his skills, prices, friendly attitude and excellent workmanship. He is very, very good at what he does, and always takes the time to explain what he’s doing. He also has tried to save us money by making suggestions for how we can avoid or fix a problem ourselves. If we have a plumbing need, Paul is the one we call.

We were extremely impressed with the services provided by Paul Jursik at Athena Care Inc., and would strongly recommend him to anyone. He responded to our call for help in a timely manner and immediately helped us sort out the necessary repairs and provided a spot-on accurate estimate for what it would cost. He generously explained at every turn what he was doing, making his decisions clear and demonstrating the necessity of the choices in terms of practicality and safety, while avoiding unnecessary ones and saving us a *lot* of money. He was also clearly conscious of working as efficiently as possible so as to not add unnecessary time to the clock. He was friendly and trustworthy, his estimate was accurate, and there were no surprises. One doesn’t see this level of excellent service everyday and we would not hesitate to use his services again or recommend him to others.

I really appreciated how Paul clearly presented the options to me for fixing my plumbing problems in my old house. He was willing to work with me to stay within budget and still provide a satisfactory solution. I have used his services twice because I was so pleased with his quick response, effeciency price and honesty. He also is very knowlegable and was willing to answer all my questions even on how to repair things myself. I highly recommend him.

I called Paul as a result of a referral in order to replace a leaking T & P relief valve on my water heater. As advertised, he gave me an estimate up front and stuck to it on the bill. Paul explains what he is doing the whole way and tries to educate customers on the important points of home plumbing. I had put in an extra anode in the heater when it was installed 5 years ago so we pulled it out and inspected it – normal wear. He recommended checking it again in a few years, which I am now confident I can do myself. I will replace the anode when needed (6 inches of bare wire showing anywhere) and this can greatly extend the lifetime of the heater. Ask Paul about anodes and he will explain them to you. I would use AthenaCare again.

Negative

Micki C., St. Louis Park  2013

I was disappointed with my experience with Paul after all the glowing reviews.  Paul was a bit gruff on the phone–he asked where I got his phone number, which felt like an accusation, and made me feel like I was bothering him by calling to make an appt.  After outlining my plumbing needs, he proceeded to tell him things I needed to do to save him time so he could get to his next job (I don’t know anything about plumbing–that’s why I’m calling and offering to pay someone else to do it!).  Because I live in a condo I had to arrange to have the water turned off in my building.  After making these arrangements, Paul sent me a text message later (good thing I had a cell phone and a text message plan) saying the job sounded like too much of a hassle so he was cancelling.

I appreciate that he can choose his jobs and run his business as he sees fit, I just felt like he was rude and dismissive and not at all what I was expecting after reading his other 5 star reviews.  Bottom line, I wasn’t impressed and was borderline offended.  Maybe he’s too busy with an existing customer base to take on new business.  I would have just asked him to be even a little courteous in our dealing, even if he didn’t want my business.

Company response:

Caller indicated early in the discussion that she was concerned about cost. She described work which involved needing to turn off the water supply to her unit.

Several challenges (read: increased cost) were immediately apparent; Condominium (service parking usually much further than for single family home), Not a townhouse (need to contact other residents that water is being shut off), first floor unit (need to gain physical access to units located above). Typically with a condo the owner calls maintenance (authorization), and maintenance shuts off the water (saves time and cost) and accesses other units (critical responsibility).

Then additional difficulties arose. This owner wanted me to contact building maintenance regarding the location and using of the building shut off. When I contacted the maintenance person how to locate the building shutoff, they didn’t know because “every building is different”.  So I would have to find it on my own (read: increased cost). Secondly maintenance said it is up to the resident to contact her neighbors regarding water shut off and access. Caller did not know her upstairs neighbors. (More time and difficulty).

It appeared that this project had little probability of ending with a happy, satisfied customer (sorry, too late). I texted her that “the complexity if getting into your building and dealing with the water shut off, means I think you’ll pay less if you can find a plumber that’s already familiar with doing all of these things.” This entire process happened in the span of a few hours on the same day she initially contacted me.

I try my best, but unfortunately I cannot accept every job that is presented to me. As a result of this experience I will be changing my procedures to help avoid another disappointed caller.

Clay K, Minneapolis, November 2013

Inspected for leak and isolated to toilet.  No work performed. Discussed follow-up call to fix an older top fill toilet later in the week. Charged for call.

He did identify and isolated the problem.  The initial plan to research find parts and return fix the toilet did not work out.  The plumber called back and offered other options (not to me).  When I called back to clarify exact plans, instead I got a lecture about how valuable his time is. And unless I agreed that his time on the phone was billable we could not discuss his options. Since I hadn’t talked to him yet, I considered it an unreasonable request and decided to find another provider.  Overall, what was most puzzling on the phone and in person was the amount of time spent pontificating about how valuable his time is.

Company response:

Let’s start with a few observations. Subsequently, if the reader is interested, the play-by-play details follow. I performed an initial service visit as requested (emergency leak evaluation). This review (and my response) is about the subsequent phone conversation. I have been reminded of a few valuable lessons as a result of this visit and interaction;

1)         At times like this I wish I was ½ as good at dealing with difficult people as I am with difficult plumbing repairs.
2)         The customer did not respect his wife’s analytical skills, why would he treat me differently? (See follow-up research and fateful phone conversation)
3)         If a customer perceives a non-emergency as an emergency, don’t just walk away, run.
4)         If a customer has a wall hung tank toilet, or other very unusual repair request, my only response will be “replace it or you’ll need to find a different plumber”.
5)         Keep it short, Paul. Let the customer decide if they want more information.

The details:

Initially the customer called at 8:18AM, I returned the call at 8:25AM. He said he was leaving town in about 3-4 hours and was very concerned about a leak and did not want to leave it with his wife to deal with while he was gone. Since it was an emergency, I was there within 1 hour, as promised. I have explained hundreds of times; the first visit to a customer, the majority of the cost for a short service call is the drive to the location, the evaluation/discussion and the drive away. My normal, scheduled in advance, non-emergency minimum is $125. I explained this over the phone, before this customer agreed to my visit (and any payment), that this would be an evaluation visit only, no tools, no repair, but they would get a professional’s information and hopefully some peace of mind. Not promising any work or repair was due to the location and nature of the leak (first floor ceiling) and that I had previously scheduled work filling the remainder of my day. He agreed. In addition I always inform a customer that the evaluation today has a financial reward in that if you have me back to do further work, the evaluation phase is already done (what I refer to as the “yakking and talking part”). It appeared the leak had been going on for at least the span of several days if not longer (Warning sign; procrastination on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part).

Second and most importantly, the water volume was so minimal there was a plastic cup on the floor with about a teaspoon of water in it (Further evidence of a non-emergency).
Even though this customer classified his situation as an emergency and I arrived immediately, I charged $90, significantly less than my normally scheduled, in advance pricing. The customer showed me HIS analysis, that it was a waste pipe inside a common wall between two bathrooms on the second floor. I determined that it was a leaking wall hung toilet tank (not “top feed”) in an adjacent bathroom. Wife was with us the whole time and laughed saying “that’s what I tried to tell him”.

I showed them an easy way to contain the leak by using a towel on the floor (no more cups in the middle of the front entryway/living room) until his return. In a little bit of foreshadowing, she was amused that my evaluation was the same one that she had, but he would not accept. I warned them both (as they were both there the whole time) that these types of toilets are not trivial to repair. In my view repairing one is probably the worst investment of all in residential plumbing. Except if you are fanatical about original stuff, then original is worth the cost. He suggested that I fix the toilet by dealing with his wife in his absence.
I made a special trip to the only local distributor that has parts for this 1920’s era toilet and they did not have a component (tank to bowl tube, his was very corroded) that I felt was key to a successful repair (trip: about 30 minutes). I then went on the internet to locate the part (30 more minutes). I even discussed the situation with another customer who is a vintage plumbing enthusiast for more information (another 10-15 minutes). After all this I spent about 10-15 minutes on the phone with his wife explaining my efforts and the recommendation that the repair will cost hundreds of dollars more than the cost of replacing it with a new toilet. She liked the recommendation of replacement. I explained that first we must determine if a new toilet will fit the location and if so, which one. To start this process I suggested watching my short toilet reset video that helps explain what information they could provide to determine the answer. When I had that information I could determine which new toilet would be appropriate and provide further dimensions to ensure that it would fit their bathroom. I really like dealing with her, she was a normal, typical customer.

He left a message upon his return from a business trip that seemed to indicate that he had not spoken word one to his wife. I returned his call, having only their home phone number. And she answered. I asked if she could relay the information she and I discussed, to him. She said that he was more interested in saving the old toilet than she had thought and told me that I would need to review the information with him and then gave me his cell number. I contacted him a few hours later and he had not spoken word one about the situation with his wife This required me to start the discussion as if he never involved his wife, while rare, is that he certainly doesn’t respect his wife nor does he respect my time and expertise (See also: Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!).
He is absolutely correct that I informed him that my time is billable whether on the phone or in person, but I DID NOT require payment at that time. Nor did I ask for payment before continuing. All I asked was that we had a gentleman’s agreement that my time was valuable. I was about to describe my research and conversations and suggest ways that he might save his toilet AND several hundred dollars. Further I would have explained that the repair would be at the risk of using his existing deteriorated parts or an unknown antique parts supplier on the internet. Either one may have been successful, but not guaranteed in advance. And even then, as I clearly stated at the first visit, these toilets are, in my experience, the most difficult in the world to repair due to their design and age. There may very well be another plumber that does not share my hesitancy, but here we are.

Unfortunately, or maybe not, he cut me off before I could present any of these detail and ended the conversation. To many people I am a commodity, not a person. Paul, just shut up and fix it. I actually would have enjoyed fixing his weird toilet, but I need to get paid for my time. Unfortunately what has occurred in the past is that the customer leaves someone else in charge and then initiated a complaint due to what happened in their their absence. This is why I did not take more actions in his absence. More simply, I should have trusted my instincts and saw him for the man he is and simply said “I can’t fix it, only replace it.”

Annie H. Mpls Feb. 2013

Unfortunately, I had a very bad experience with this plumber. I emailed Paul to schedule an appt, giving my address, etc. He called me and left a phone message asking me to send a picture of inside the toilet tank. I did via my phone and then emailed him a day or so later to set up an appt.. He responded by email telling me to call him to set up an appt and he wrote, “This is the last email I’ll send about this.” It was also the only email he ever sent so his annoyance about it was strange. I ignored the rudeness (and red flag) and called him to schedule the appointment.
Long story short. Paul replaced the insides of the toilet and said the running was fixed. He left. I went into the bathroom later that day and the toilet was still running. I called Paul. He sounded annoyed, which I found annoying because I was taking off work to deal with this (twice) and why am I being treated rudely when I call a plumber about a plumbing problem? We set up another time for Paul to check why the toilet wasn’t fixed. When he did, he became less annoyed because he could clearly see that the toilet was still running. Yeah, I wasn’t making it up! Why he didn’t see that the toilet wasn’t fixed the first time is a mystery. He charged me for coming out a second time and for again fixing the toilet. Problem 1: If he didn’t repair the toilet the first time, but said he did, why am I paying for two service calls? Problem 2: The toilet is still running! The second time he “fixed” it, he brought out a part and said it was causing the leak. Stupidly, I believed him and paid for the second service call and “repair.” I learned a big lesson: never let a plumber leave without inspecting the work immediately. $250 and an extra helping of rudeness later and the toilet is still running. I never called Paul again because dealing with him was not worth it.

Company Response:

Every year I make or answer thousands of calls and visit hundreds of homes. I think I am good in both mechanical aptitude and interpersonal skills. I could not find an e-mail trail, but can only surmise that if I said, and I believe this is true, “This is the last email I’ll send about this.” This means that I asked her to call me in an e-mail and instead she sent me another text or e-mail. An integral part of my procedure is to talk voice to voice with a prospective customer prior to the visit.

Unfortunately I too had mixed feelings about the beginning of this relationship, the disjointed process of getting voice to voice. The reason she called me is to take advantage of a discounted, less than normal price service. So when she called for a revisit, I was disappointed, true, but a deals a deal so I went back.

Her symptom was the toilet tank refilling periodically (“running”). The refilling can be hours apart. The vast majority of the time it is fixed with a new flapper which was part of the deal. The added work at the second visit, that I thought would fix the problem, was not part of the deal: to remove the tank from the bowl and replace the flush valve assembly (the tube in the middle of the tank to which the flapper is attached). This is because the only other thing I have seen is that water is seeping from the tank into the bowl UNDER the flush valve assembly due to a loose assembly or a bad gasket. Very rare, But this approach has always solved this symptom.

Yes, at both visits I could have used dye to check the work, but the symptom was so routine, I did not. My mistake. She never contacted me after the second visit. The first I have heard about this issue is in this review. She could have notified me by text, phone or e-mail. It’s too bad she didn’t, it would have taken the same amount of time or less to contact me. If she had I am sure we could have come up with a better, more satisfying resolution than these two typed pages. Her mistake.

I did err in not testing the tank. At the same time I don’t recall seeing something as baffling as this. Too bad. I like to learn from the odd stuff, it helps me be a better service provider. I am changing my procedures as a result. My apologies to you.

Lynn S., Edina Jan. 2013

Description Of Work:

My experience was terrible! He wanted to diagnose problem over the phone when I suggested he needed to come by the house he was totally put off and said that was not the way he did business. When I suggested he charge me a small service fee to assess the faucet in person and to give me a quote to fix the leaky faucet, he finally agreed.  I do not know how he can provide a scope of work and a quote without seeing the problem! Anyway, when he finally did agree to come by the house, he took my credit card number and had me sign for a service charge of $150. I assumed he would put this charge toward the total for needed parts and labor. His recommendation was to buy new parts, though he did not know which parts he needed to order or how to estimate the cost of the new parts! He proceeded to call and email me different diagrams and cut sheets he pulled off the web. Though he continued to be unsure of what parts he needed to order. It is an expensive fixture and since he was not sure what parts he needed and he wanted me to sign off on parts before he ordered them, upwards of $700. As you might imagine I was exhausted by this process-I did not want to make the assessment of what the faucet needed. I decided to just call a local builder in town and ask for their suggestion of a local plumber. After I told Athena I did not want to use his services he still went ahead and charged $150 to my credit card . Totally disappointed in Angie’s List since this is where I got his name and recommendation.

Company Response:

Home Tax Value: $3.6 Million.

1st phone call: Customer knows make and model (Tara Classic, Manuf: Dorn Bracht $2,573 list). That’s all I need to order parts for a complete rebuild. Customer insists on a visit. I respond that I do not need to see faucet. I agree to visit, but tell her there will be a trip charge (like every customer visit). In this case I will not do any disassembly (too risky without repair parts in hand). Customer insists that I look at faucet and unfortunately the conversation was somewhat contentious but ended in an agreement for a visit, the scope of services (evaluation only) and the charge. I thought.

Prior to visit: Located and contacted distributor (Fantasia) obtained parts diagram (the only diagram I ever supplied to her) and brought it to the visit. Looked at faucet, she signed the invoice at my arrival stating the cost and scope of work. After we talked she agreed to the $150 trip charge. She mentioned that other companies wouldn’t even schedule a visit without prepayment by credit card.

After visit could not get a return call from Dealer/Fantasia to order parts. E-mail: From: Nicole J. Young [mailto:Nicole@fantasiashowrooms.com] Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 3:48 PM To: athenacare@msn.com, Subject: parts . Paul, I am having trouble getting a hold of the rep that was helping me with this parts request. I continue to bug her and will get back to you as soon as I can.

There is a second dealer in Minneapolis, but could not get a response from them either. On my own initiative, called Dorn Bracht (Manuf) HQ in Georgia. I found out why the rep would not get involved. It took 30 minutes getting twenty three (23!) 11 digit part numbers for a complete rebuild of the faucet. Every part had an individual price so to save time I chose to make an estimate of the total cost. I wrote these into a spread sheet (another 15-20 minutes invested). The list was marked as the full rebuild or a partial (just to correct current problem). I e-mailed this to Lynn and recommended ordering everything, using what she needed and saving the rest for later. I copied Fantasia on customer contact information and parts list. Both customer AND Fantasia had complete information about each other, the faucet, parts list, names, phone numbers, and addresses. Why? Due to the fact I was leaving for a week I tried to help the customer by keeping the process flowing. All she had to do was call Fantasia with her credit card number and which parts group; all or partial. Parts orders go from Minneapolis to Georgia to Europe. Then parts are shipped from Europe.

On Jan 12, 2013, at 2:45 PM, “Paul Jursik” <athenacare@msn.com> wrote: Lynn, To me this is the simplest due to being out of town until 1/21. These are the part numbers I received from Dorn Bracht (USA) in Georgia. They confirmed the parts are for a Tara Classic (chrome) 33880888. You make the decision; you’ll know the actual costs. You have my input. Order per the attached. Let me know if/when you want me to install the parts.

From Lynn (on my return) Yes, please go ahead & order parts. (My thought on receiving this e-mail: ?!)

From: Paul Jursik [mailto:athenacare@msn.com] , Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 7:05 AM, To: Lynn, Subject: Order Approval for Faucet parts: Text or e-mail me: (1) approval for which parts set $75 or $400? Any overpayment will be applied at the time of install. (2) approval to charge the credit card ending in 5594 prior to the parts order.

From:Lynn. Thanks, but I am feeling a bit too frustrated with your handling of this. I will go to our builder to find the parts and labor we need for the faucet. Thanks for your efforts but I am not happy with how you “manage the process”. I hope you understand I do not expect any charges made to my credit card.