“As a former contractor, I know that everyone has a nightmare story with their contractor. That story’s as old as the first time a guy paid another guy a couple shekels to build him a hut,” jokes Adam Carolla . The comedian, author, master carpenter and immensely popular podcaster’s latest gig is as the host of CATCH A CONTRACTOR, a gotcha-style reality show that premiered on Spike TV on March 9. In each of the 10 half-hour episodes, Carolla, along with contractor Skip Bedell and Bedell’s investigator wife, Alison, track down contractors who have done shoddy work, return them to the scene of the construction crime and get them to finish the job properly. None of the situations encountered, no matter how extreme, surprised Carolla. “I’m not amazed at how many bad contractors there are,” he says. “I am amazed at how long these people put up with it.”
He says homeowners who don’t want to end up like the ones on the show should do their due diligence when hiring a contractor — i.e., check references, make sure the contractor is licensed and, once settling on a contractor, draw up a contract that includes a schedule of payments along with a work schedule. Any changes made along the way should be added to that contract.
Oh, and should you be thinking of hiring the really-handy-but-unlicensed cousin of your brother-in-law: “If you go with a wink and a handshake, you’re complicit,” Carolla says. And you’ll have little legal ground should something go wrong. Even if there is a contract and you have an eventual dispute, Carolla says, going to court won’t necessarily solve anything. “You hire a lawyer and fill out all the paperwork only to find out this guy doesn’t have anything and you’re never going to see your money again,” he explains. “It’s like what the cops tell you when someone rips off a laptop from your car — ‘next time, don’t leave it on the passenger seat.’ ”