Adam Carolla is best known for his various talk shows. His current show focuses on punishing contractors who scam people out of their money. The series aims to resolve issues with these lazy contractors and gets them to finish the work they started on their customers’ homes.

The concept of the show

Adam combines his comedy experience with his construction experience to deliver a reality show that helps people avoid shady contractors. After a thorough investigation is completed at the work site, Adam lures the contractor to a sting house.

This house is set up for the contractor to land another job. When Adam and his crew pop up out of nowhere, the contractor is caught. Adam’s crew involves a MMA fighter to keep the contractor in line.

The contractor is offered three choices. He can finish the job under Adam’s supervision, give the customers their money back, or fight the case in court. Most contractors finish the job rather than risk blackening their name any further.

The main lesson taught here is to avoid giving money to a contractor before it does the work. Many of these contractors just run or do shoddy service after getting paid.

Lessons learned the hard way

In addition to avoiding payment up front, people who are searching for the right contractor should ask for references. Those are meant to ensure the contractor has done good work in the past. Homeowners should verify that the contractor is licensed and insured.

If the contractor asks you to pay for the parts up front, beware. No money should be paid in advance, before any work is done. Parts such as door closers are not expensive, but the money adds up if the contractor has a lot of people lined up.

A verbal agreement is another thing to watch out for. Always get a contract in writing for evidence if the matter ever ends up in court. A written contract will describe all the work that needs done and might even include an estimate of the time it will take.

If the job isn’t completed within a reasonable time frame, you could take the contractor to court.

Public views of Catch a Contractor

Catch a Contractor is the name of Adam’s reality show. It takes a few ideas from the hit show Catch a Predator.

The first episode attracted 1.2 million viewers from around the world. It depicted a couple who had to live on the living room floor after a shoddy contractor destroyed part of their home. They were temporarily left without a bathroom.

Experts have said that the 1.2 million viewers broke a record for the largest audience in a series debut on the Spike cable channel since the premiere of Coal in 2011. One expert feels the show could do a little better job in some areas.

Brian Lowry, a TV columnist, described Adam’s show as watching a bazooka kill a cockroach for half an hour. This might be due to Spike TV’s reality formula, though.

The aim is to help people avoid bad contractors, but Brian believes that the show focuses too much on the punishment of the contractors. He might like it better if it actually described more ways that people can find good contractors, instead of punishing bad ones.

Adam’s show does provide some insight on avoiding bad contractors. Then it proceeds to punish the bad contractors for the public’s entertainment. This might be why it has captured an audience of more than 1 million viewers.


As the employment sector grows more competitive, employers are looking for innovative ways to entice the best candidates for their open positions. There may be 20 people applying for the new IT position, for example, but most of them are not qualified to do the work.

Several unusual perks might encourage the right candidates to apply and score that dream job.

Not just a walking lunch date

Corporations are looking to lower their health insurance costs by motivating employees to take care of themselves. Wellness programs are steadily becoming a norm in many companies.

But they’re taking on a new flair with gadgets given away for a discount or time off to go to the gym. Employees invigorated by exercise and good nutrition are happier with themselves and their health partner, the employer.

You can hire and maintain the best workers with a wellness plan that goes beyond just handing out healthy food flyers.

Bonuses are normal

Employers have recognized that it’s not just top management that makes a new client sign on or a hesitant customer purchase thousands of dollars of products. Every employee, down to the shipping department, plays a key role.

Bonuses need to be given out when employees meet their performance goals. Understanding that they are part of a unified team, employees feel more loyal and want to work harder for next season’s bonus.

Money is certainly motivation in itself, but it also signifies that the employer recognizes true contributions in the workplace.

Pets and children are welcome

Employees may feel compromised when they are at work, especially if they worry about pets or children. Some employers can set up an actual day care for pets, as well as a separate space for children.

Knowing that their loved ones are safe and enjoying themselves gives your employees the focus they require to finish a project. This perk also saves them substantial money for outside day care. Employers will find that workers have better concentration and less absenteeism.

Paid charitable work

There never seems to be enough time in the day to complete every chore or job. Reserving time for charitable work is almost impossible. Companies that offer paid time off for charity work are finding that quality people are vying for their jobs.

Employees want to help out, but they can’t afford to take a no-pay day off. Offered a paid salary, employees take several days a year to help others. As a result, the employer sees higher morale and loyalty from the employees, and it gives your company a good reputation in the community.

Negotiations aren’t unheard of

If the right person is interviewing for a position, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You could offer casual Fridays or an extra vacation day each year, if the person is valuable enough to hold onto.

The prospective employee may have a counteroffer during negotiation. For the right person, negotiations are normal and healthy. With a happy employer and employee, the business can only improve.

Health insurance and vacation days are no longer the only perks in the private sector. As an employer, take a look around the industry to find the right perks for the perfect employees. Your business will flourish.

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Business owners often focus solely on their company and services when it comes to helping customers. One issue that many company owners face today is the fact that potential clients don’t know what they’re all about.

This is what happens when marketing and advertising have not been incorporated into the business. Marketing and advertising can be done both locally and on the Internet. These two approaches should be made to complement each other so that your company is able to promote itself to people everywhere.

From those who are using the Internet to learn more about the firm to those who live nearby, marketing can be the saving grace if you’re a new or struggling company.

Local marketing and direct mailing

Local marketing and advertising refers to the process of promoting your goods or services to people who are located near your business. This could include having professional business cards made up and handing them out to both customers and other business owners who might be interested in the services of your firm.

Another way that businesses implementing local market of their company name is by making use of direct mail advertising. Direct mail advertising refers to sending out pamphlets, brochures, and booklets via local mail to a variety of different clients.

Even individuals and companies that have not yet done business with the your company might be interested in what they can learn from direct mail.

The reason local marketing and advertising is so vital to the life of a business is because it lets people know that your firm exists and what it has to offer. For example, a brand-new company might not attract the customers it needs because it simply hasn’t notified enough locals about its presence and potential services.

By sending out direct mail advertising, putting up signs in the area, and giving out business cards, you get the name of your company out there for people think about and possibly investigate for themselves.

Online marketing and advertising

Just like local advertising, but possibly even more so in this day and age, online marketing is essential to the life of a new or struggling business. Many people nowadays do their initial research of a company on the Internet.

This means they might try to look up your business before they even contact you or visit your local office. Having an informative, professional, and easy-to-navigate website is vital because you offer a place where clients can easily go to learn more about the company.

Also, creating social media pages specifically for your business can help to get the name out there and cater to clients who might have questions or inquiries about whatever you do. Making use of online marketing with social media pages and a professional website can bring in a different audience than you’ll get through local marketing.

Since you’re bringing in a different crowd online, it’s a great way to develop more clients so that your company can truly do well for itself in the long run.


While computerized appliances have been available for kitchens, living rooms, and cars for years, they’ve lacked an important feature: the ability to communicate across proprietary platforms.

A new protocol in development plans to remove that shortcoming, so a slew of new tech inventions can bring smarter electronic devices not only to homes, but hospitals and the front lines of war zones.

In hospitals, doctors have been able to synthesize simple living tissue to use when treating burns or during organ transplants. Until today, however, complex organs were too great a challenge. New 3D printing technology may enable scientists to grow living organs with computers.

Soldiers fighting overseas have relied on bulky night-vision goggles to be able to see at in the dark, but the Pentagon has recently learned of high-tech night-vision contact lenses that could replace goggles within a few years.

A universal language for home appliances

Cars, toasters, thermostats, and toothbrushes that communicate with people over the Internet can potentially make life more convenient for many of us. Many brands already produce these devices and sync them together with a computer language that extends only to products of the same brand.

For example, the Nest thermostat tracks users’ energy usage and automatically adjusts the temperature, but it doesn’t communicate with other smart devices. As demand grows for a universal protocol for smart appliances, research and development firms are working on a solution.

Qualcomm, SmartThings, Lowe’s, and Revolv have all attempted to unite appliances with a single language. Past attempts have mostly relied on a central physical hub to join devices, but a new open-source language called AllJoyn could sync devices without a hub.

In order for AllJoyn to succeed, appliance makers would have to be willing to work with each other. IEEE Standards Association President Karen Bartleston thinks consumers will eventually convince manufacturers to make their devices more open to communication.

Devices in critical situations offer new advantages

Advances in medical 3D printers may empower doctors to regenerate complex organs for patients who desperately need a transplant. Current technology allows doctors to replicate thin layers of one type of cell, but 3D organ printers would be able to produce complex living tissue with many different types of cells and structures.

For example, current technology doesn’t allow doctors to grow new skin for patients because it includes many types of interdependent cells and veins. Herriott-Watt University researchers developed a 3-D printer that can grow embryonic cells.

Cornell University engineers and doctors have replicated a human ear using 3D printing technology. NASA paid $100,000 for innovations in 3D printing of biomaterials in 2013. Previous biomaterial printing has been restricted to bones, teeth, and other simple structures.

War zone app

University of Michigan researchers have developed infrared-sensing material that’s as thin as an atom. The microscopic film can be applied to contact lenses and used to replace night-vision goggles in war zones.

Officials at the Pentagon have shown interest in the technology and may partner with the researchers to continue development.


As previous generations did, adults of today look at the youth and shake their heads. With the explosion of technological gadgets and the Internet, some grownups fear that young people are caught up in a universe of electronics that stifles their imagination.

Fantasy is still alive and well, though, showing up in blogs and more unusual places. Kids still love to let their imaginations soar. It’s simply a matter of expressing themselves in different ways and exploring new alternatives.

The rich landscape of gaming

There’s no doubt about it: Video games are here to stay. While some may argue that the electronic age is detrimental to the health of the nation’s youth, others disagree.

Video games are seen as an outlet, or escape from reality. It’s possible to enter new worlds at the click of a button. Suddenly, children can navigate a completely different universe or at least get away from their normal lives while they play the game.

They can take control of their character, build the person they want to be, and see where their adventure will take them. Every time kids play a game, they are using their imaginations, pretending they are in a completely different place.

With the assistance of graphics and video game designers, kids can go places they never went before.

Fantasy and science fiction is big in literature

One need only look at the most popular books in recent years to see that kids love to visit new worlds through literature as well. From the Harry Potter series to Twilight and the Hunger Games, the most popular books in modern times have taken readers into the unknown.

When children dip into a book, they find themselves transported into new realms or discover that fantastic creatures and situations intrude on the everyday world. It’s a benefit for children as they learn how to look at the world through someone else’s eyes and broaden their horizons.

Art is another means of expression that expands a child’s mind

In addition to using books and games to travel into the unknown, children often use art to go on a journey into the mind. It’s a simple process.

When children have paper and a variety of art supplies, they can go anywhere they want to go, transferring their ideas to their canvas through the magic of their fingertips. It’s an excellent way to be expressive and creative at the same time.

The fact that for many children, a stylus and electronic tablet have replaced pencil and paper hasn’t altered the activity of creating something from nothing but one’s own mind.

Imagination is far from dead. Children of today still love to pretend and have flights of fancy. They’re simply using different methods to achieve the same goals that their parents did.

Grownups would be wise to embrace the many ways in which young people can explore their emotions and use their minds to pretend, dream, and create. When our youth are exposed to many different influences, they’re more likely to develop into critical thinkers who can look beyond four walls to see endless possibilities in their surroundings.


Homeowners enjoy several key tax benefits simply by owning their home. They may deduct the interest off their mortgage, points they paid as part of the loan process, interest on loans taken out for the purpose of home improvement, loans that are subsequently used for capital improvements, or ones that actually increase your home’s value.

The actual cost of an improvement is not allowed to be deducted from your taxes, although it may have a tax benefit. Here’s how.

Home improvement vs. home repair

There’s a big difference between home improvements and home repairs. Home improvements add value or prolong the home’s life. This is what the Internal Revenue Service considers a home improvement as opposed to a home repair.

A home repair is more along the lines of maintenance as opposed to improvement. So fixing a leaky roof or painting are both considered repairs, but installing a brand-new roof or adding on a room are actual improvements.

Other examples of home improvements include installing new wiring or plumbing, repaving your driveway, or finishing a basement.

Tax basis

The expense of implementing home improvements can add a great deal of value to your home. Usually, it’s the cost of an asset that’s the basis for taxation.

However, when you purchase a home, this also includes any improvements you incorporate along with the original price you paid. The actual amount of money you spent on the improvements, including hired labor and materials, is added to your tax basis.

Because you added value to the home, the improvements may reduce your taxes if you sell your home and make a profit, since they reduce the amount you made selling your home. It’s inaccurate just to subtract the original price you paid for your home from the amount you made selling it.

Instead, you add the home improvement costs to the original price you paid for your home, and then subtract this figure from the price you receive for selling your home.

The tax laws usually allow a profit by as much as $250,000 for a single person when he or she sells the main residence without counting it as income. If you’re married and also file jointly, the amount goes up to $500,000.

Cost depreciation

If you use a part of your home for any reason other than your personal abode, you might also depreciate home improvement expenses or deduct them over the course of several years. An example would be if you work from a home office or rent out a room.

The IRS has certain criteria for what qualifies as a home office. The person must have a legitimate business and regularly use that specific part of the home just for doing business. The taxpayer must also prove that the home serves as a headquarters for the business. Obviously, this mostly applies to those people who are self-employed.

An exception to the rule

There are certain circumstances when a home improvement may indeed qualify for an instant tax benefit. If the home improvements were geared toward energy efficiency, they can count as a tax credit. A tax credit, as distinguished from a deduction, is directly subtracted from how much you owe the Internal Revenue Service.


Simple and inexpensive home improvement projects will not only increase the value of your home, but raise the “wow” factor as well. Each of the following DIY projects can usually be done in less than a day and save you a great deal of money.

1. Add a backsplash

A simple way to add panache to your kitchen is to add a new backsplash. Choose a style and color that complements other elements such as cabinetry, wall color, lighting, and other appliances.

If your budget is somewhat tight, consider using a peel-and-stick option. They’ll do the trick as well as please the eye.

2. Replace the kitchen sink and faucet

Since your kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s important to make it shiny and functional with a high-quality sink and faucet. This is one of the first items a potential homebuyer will quickly notice if it’s not up to par, and replacing it is easier than you think.

If possible, buy a low-flow model that reduces water usage by as much as 30%. Today, energy efficiency is critical, whether you’re selling or staying in your home. Replacing both the sink and faucet should take only a few hours.

3. Update your front door

An elegant front door adds class and charm to the entire façade of your home. It’s the first element people see and should therefore be showcased, preferably by using a complementary color.

Expect to recoup a big chunk of your investment if you buy a new one, especially if it’s steel (over 120%). However, you can still punch up the pizzazz by refinishing your existing door with either paint or stain. Add fresh hardware to your refurbished door and you’ll be the envy of your neighbors.

4. Install stylish crown molding

Crown molding is like the “icing on the cake” when it comes to finishing touches. Although you might not recoup your investment, it’s still a feature that adds both value and interest. Most potential homebuyers appreciate attractive crown molding when they’re looking for the perfect home.

5. Declutter and get organized

Decluttering, cleaning, and reorganizing your home can be just as valuable as improvements that make it look great. Prospective buyers need storage and like to see space for their possessions.

Even if you plan to live in your home for a while, taking the time to organize it will revitalize it, give you a sense of accomplishment, and create a harmonious atmosphere.

6. Freshen up the landscaping

What is the first thing people see when they look at your home? The landscaping. A well-manicured yard makes a great first impression and can either lift or depress the entire look of your home. In other words, if the outside looks shabby, everyone will assume the inside’s a dump as well.

A basic landscaping project shouldn’t cost more than $500 to get it into tip-top shape, including planting and fertilizing. Use colorful plants and shrubbery in key spots throughout the yard to highlight certain areas such as along the walkway to your front door or around a tree.

Consider planting the “endless summer” variety to get beautiful blooms nearly all year long. With just a little money and creativity, adding value to your home is a shopping trip away. Whether you’re planning to sell or stay, boosting the equity in your home is always a justifiable expense.


Are you tired of your outrageous utility bills? Do you cringe every time you get one?

By making a few simple energy-efficient upgrades, you’ll be amazed at how much energy and money you can save. The best part is you don’t have to spend a lot of money up front.

Here are the top seven ways to make your home more energy efficient for less than $50.

1. Upgrade your light bulbs

The new energy-efficient light bulbs can outshine traditional ones by at least 10 times and save as much as 75% on your electric bill. Some energy-friendly options include halogen bulbs, LEDs, and CFLs. However, be aware that not every light bulb will work correctly in every fixture, especially in older homes.

2. Wrap your water heater

An energy-efficient blanket for your hot water heater will set you back about $20 — a small investment that will have a big impact. They are incredibly easy to apply and keep the water warm inside the tank, which means it doesn’t have to work as much.

3. Install a door sweep

A door sweep is one of the easiest, cheapest, and quickest ways to save money instantly. It costs just a few dollars, quickly attaches to the bottom of a door, and keeps more of the cold outside where it belongs. You can choose one that attaches with either self-adhesive tape or hardware screws.

4. Reset your thermostat

Purchasing a thermostat that’s programmable will cut your utility bills by as much as 10%. They can be programmed to adjust the temperature whether you’re at home, working, on vacation, or asleep. Over time, the savings really add up.

5. Modify your fireplace

Is your fireplace more for looks or function? Consider using a chimney plug to stop warmer air from escaping from your home. The plugs typically cost about $50 and only take a few minutes to install and inflate. Santa will understand.

6. Hang out your laundry

Clothes dryers are one of the biggest energy consumers in the home. Though much better than older models, even modern-day clothes dryers use their fair share of energy.

If possible, hang your clothes out to dry on a clothes line. It may seem a bit old fashioned, but once you see how much you save on your utility bill, you won’t mind.

If you live in an apartment or there’s no room for a clothesline, there are many indoor clothes drying options you can choose that will hold an entire load of clothes.

7. Use power strips

Do you have masses of electrical cords, especially in your office? Any device that has a continuous, remote display or a charging cord will continue to drain power even when you’re not using it.

Over time, that can result in a 10% increase in utility bills is entirely avoidable. Some electronic devices, such as alarm clocks or DVRs, require continuous power. All other electrical devices should be plugged into an energy-saving power strip that has a convenient on/off switch.

This is the best way to separate the devices that need constant power from those that don’t.

Small modifications in your home such as these will make a huge impact in terms of both energy and money savings.


Many families have made the decision to settle down with a real estate purchase in Oceanside over the years, but the residential needs of a family can change over time. For example, a couple may be fine in a smaller home before they have children, but a growing family may force them to look for more space or a different home layout.

Other families may simply have lived in a home for so long that the structure’s style or décor has become outdated. You may feel the desire to tackle some home improvements in your Oceanside family residence now, but you may also be wondering how you can make the process faster to complete and easier on your family.

There are a few key tips you can follow to enjoy excellent results from your project and place minimal stress on your family.

The right contractor

When you’re ready to get started on your Oceanside home improvement project, you’ll have to find a reputable general contractor as your initial step. The right contractor will probably be the one who has experience and a lengthy list of references.

Some builders have experience with smaller projects, and others have considerably more experience with larger projects. The best contractor for your needs is the one who has experience working on family homes and who can recommend strategies to minimize the inconvenience to your family.

The contractor may also have a solid reputation for completing work promptly, and that’s important because you don’t want your project drag out unnecessarily long.

Make a plan

Before you embark on a home improvement project in Oceanside, you would be wise to outline the scope of your project. This will help you to plan your project with your contractor and ensure that all parties proceed on the same page.

It’s also a good thing for you to define your own ideas, pick out supplies and materials, and think about smaller or side projects that you could have your contractor consider doing for you. Your plan may be rather basic, but you’ll find it’s more effective when it’s detailed.

Establish a budget

Another important step to take when preparing for your Oceanside home improvement project involves establishing a firm budget for your project. One of the events that can make your project take much longer to finish involves running out of funds or failing to budget properly.

When you create a detailed budget up front, you can ensure that you have all the funds necessary to complete the work in a timely manner. This will ensure that the project is performed in the most efficient manner possible.

The completion of a home improvement project in your Oceanside home will make your home more stylish and more functional, it is hoped, but the process of completing a project can be stressful on a family. You can take these initial steps to lay the groundwork for a fast and efficient home improvement job. These tips will help you to enjoy the end result of your efforts more quickly.


Follow these money-saving tips to beautify your home’s exterior without draining your wallet.

1. Turn your front door into a work of art

People’s eyes are automatically drawn to the front door. So adding a little pizzazz to it as well as the surrounding entryway is a great way to enhance curb appeal.

That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a new one. Try painting your front door in an exciting, trendy color that will complement the entire exterior of your home.

Ideally, the front door should contrast with everything else since it’s the star of the show. If the overall color of your home is fairly neutral, paint your door a bold contrasting color to set it off.

Add some unique, interesting numerals for the house address and beautiful potted plants, or update your exterior lighting, to enhance the appeal.

2. Wash your exterior

Once the inside is clean, you can start on the outside of your home. Grab your garden hose and turn the nozzle to its strongest setting.

Start blasting debris off the front of your home, driveway, and sidewalks. Don’t have your own power washer? No problem. You can rent one.

Also, be careful around windows and doorways if the pressure on the washer is particularly strong.

3. Make your windows shine

Washing your windows both inside and out will have a huge impact on your home’s appeal. Though it may seem like a lot of work, the end result might inspire you to maintain this level of clean.

Wash the outside windows with a garden hose in order to remove dirt and debris. Super-clean them with a sponge by using a mixture of vinegar and warm water, which will really make them sparkle.

4. Update your outdoor lighting

Little things like updating your light fixtures can really lift the look of your home and enhance its curb appeal. It might not seem like much, but little things like changing out a light fixture can make a huge difference.

If it’s not in your budget to buy new lighting, cleaning up what’s existing and painting the fixture may do the trick. Little touches like these speak volumes.

5. Tend your flower beds

Nothing says “home sweet home” like a well-groomed flower bed. It presents a lot of color, class, and appeal. However, if your beds are full of yard waste, weeds, or other unsightly debris, they quickly lose their charm.

Try adding a few bags of colorful mulch to your garden beds. Not only will that freshen up the beds, but it will keep the plant foliage moisturized as well.

6. Manicure your lawn

Maintaining a fresh-cut, well-manicured lawn is one of the top ways to boost your curb appeal. Take the time to fertilize and cut your grass properly on a regular basis.

If your home is on the market, and your yard is uncared for and full of weeds, it’s likely that any potential buyers will simply drive away. If the outside doesn’t look good, why would they care to look inside?

Incorporating a few of these budget-friendly projects will not only significantly enhance your curb appeal but add value as well.


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