HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) – One Hopewell woman’s backyard is a disaster and she wants her money back after a contractor began a project in her backyard and never finished the job.

Natalee Murphy is out $1,745 after paying a handyman company she thought she could trust to put a privacy fence in.

“It was supposed to be something so beautiful, so exciting and now it’s like I have more to deal with on top of everything else,” she told 8News in an interview Wednesday.

The contractor left holes in the ground, toppled over fence posts and piles of dirt strewn about her yard.

It wasn’t how Murphy pictured her first few days as a first-time homeowner.

“I was super stoked, super excited. Definitely a milestone in my life,” she smiled.

She wanted a privacy fence, paying a deposit in several parts for the installation to Roger Haggerty over CashApp.

Jack’s Handyman Service was the company, and Jack Collins asked her to pay Haggerty, a co-worker, more than $1,700 at the end of November.

The price of the deposit was originally $1,120 for a down payment, but it was later decided Murphy wanted to add a gate, so Collins asked for $175 more for the installation and materials for the gate.

Another $450, according to Collins, was for half of the labor.

“He was a small business and I completely support small businesses so I was like, yeah, let’s, you know, everyone has to put food on the table,” she said.

Collins and a buddy came to put the fence posts up, but didn’t secure them, so days later, the wind knocked them over. Murphy said Collins never came back and she couldn’t believe it.

“I really didn’t even know. I still haven’t heard from him and the last text message was last Friday,” she explained.

After not hearing from them, her mom called Collins’ assistant, who told them Collins had high-tailed it to Florida with Murphy’s money.

“My mom, you know, handled that for me asking all these questions like what is going on here,” Murphy said.

8News tried calling Haggerty and Collins too, with no luck. The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation got back to 8News, confirming Haggerty, Collins and Jack’s Handyman Services haven’t been licensed since the early 2000’s.

For now, Murphy said she’s learned her lesson and has someone else coming soon to clean the mess up.

“You just got to be careful,” she warned others.

A license is required with DPOR if a contractor like Collins is performing jobs above $1,000.

If a homeowner is looking to have work done around the house, the Better Business Bureau suggests getting everything in writing and never paying in cash.

The organization recommends getting multiple quotes and research the company or contractor on the BBB’s website. If a check is written, the BBB said to make it directly out to the company.

The BBB said contractors must have building permits before starting certain projects.

It’s also recommended to pay with a credit card in case something goes wrong.