Diamond Certified Blog

The 2015 Diamond Certified Directory is Here!

2015 directoryThe massive distribution of the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory has begun, with more than 800,000 copies reaching homes and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. Your FREE copy should be arriving very soon (if it hasn’t already), so keep your eyes on your mailbox!

If you’re new to the Diamond Certified Directory and would like to receive a free copy for your local area, simply visit www.diamondcertified.org/directory and fill out the required information. Continue reading “The 2015 Diamond Certified Directory is Here!” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Getting Good Customer Service

Good customer service isn’t always a given, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure you receive it. Watch this video to learn more.

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Tree Service Overview: Q&A with Justin Greer

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Justin Greer is an 18-year veteran of the tree service industry and Director of Operations at Western Tree Removal Specialists, a Diamond Certified company. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

Justin Greer has been servicing trees for Sonoma County residents since he was a teenager, and today, he’s the director of operations at Western Tree Removal Specialists. We took a few minutes to speak with Justin about his field of expertise and gain some helpful knowledge.

Q: Do trees really need to be serviced? Can’t we just let them be?
A: There are a couple reasons why trees need to be serviced, both of which are tied to changed environmental factors. Before humans came on the scene, trees grew in fierce competition for resources, which kept growth in check. Picture a forest where not a drop of light gets through the broad canopy and the trees grow so close together that they’re practically holding each other up.

Flash forward to today, where the circumstances are reversed: Trees are often situated alone or in small groups, and they’re able to get all the water and sunlight they need—not to mention the synthesized nutrients we feed them via fertilizers, which are basically plant steroids. Altogether, this causes trees to grow much faster and larger than they had under previous circumstances. Continue reading “Tree Service Overview: Q&A with Justin Greer” »

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Posted in Consumers, Landscaping Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Experts: Home Maintenance How-To’s

While some aspects of home maintenance are best left to a professional, there are many you can address yourself. Photo: Duncan Plumbing Ent., Inc. (2015)

While some aspects of home maintenance are best left to a professional, there are many you can address yourself. Photo: Duncan Plumbing Ent., Inc. (2015)

Owning a home requires a fair amount of maintenance to keep things looking and functioning optimally. While some maintenance tasks are best handled by professionals, there are plenty of others you can perform yourself, even if you’ve never done them before. To highlight a few of these, we asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to share their tips on DIY home maintenance.

How to fix a swinging door: Dennis Thompson of Thompson Construction
If a door in your home tends to swing open or closed, you might be surprised to learn that a simple adjustment can make a huge difference. First, remove a pin from one of the door’s hinges. Place it on a hard surface and hit it with a hammer to give it a slight bend in the middle. When you return the pin to its hinge, its bent angle should create enough resistance to keep the door from swinging. Be aware that you may have to repeat this step with two or even all three pins to completely resolve the problem. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Home Maintenance How-To’s” »

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Consumer Response to the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory

We’re so excited about the publication of our 2015 Diamond Certified Directory! (If you haven’t received your FREE copy in the mail yet, click here.) The 11 county-specific versions began arriving in Bay Area mailboxes last month, and the response has been great. “It arrived the same day that a tree fell in my yard,” writes Louisa K. in Albany. “I found a tree service professional who came out right away.” Calvin G. in Palo Alto keeps the Diamond Certified Digital Directory on his smartphone so he can always find a quality service provider, and Cassandra C. from San Francisco says, “I love the directory. I don’t trust anybody but Diamond Certified to work on my house.”

Tip Rated Local Businesses Continue reading “Consumer Response to the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory” »

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Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Customer Service, Diamond Certified Experts, Diamond Certified News | Tags: , , , , ,

Shake It Up, Baby: Consumer Benefits and Pitfalls of Market Disruption

Alternative taxi services are one of the most popular market disrupters in recent years. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015.

Alternative taxi services are one of the most popular market disrupters in recent years. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015.

For years, I’ve lived in a San Francisco neighborhood where you can’t get a taxi without a long and frustrating wait. The taxi phone number is always busy, and when you finally get through, you’re on hold for 10 minutes…and it might take another 30 minutes for the driver to arrive! You’ll never find a taxi that’s just waiting for a pick-up.

Now, thanks to alternative taxi services, I can hail a ride with my smartphone and it arrives in less than 10 minutes. Continue reading “Shake It Up, Baby: Consumer Benefits and Pitfalls of Market Disruption” »

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How to Have the Wedding You Want

Wedding Planning

Congratulations, you’re getting married! Now it’s time to get to work.

Unless you’re headed to the courthouse, weddings are complicated events. Maybe you spent your childhood dreaming of tulle, or maybe you’ve never really thought about it before. Either way, it’s important to start your planning process off right. Before you start selecting cake fillings and dress colors, use the information below to help you understand what you really want out of your wedding day—and how to turn those wants into reality. Continue reading “How to Have the Wedding You Want” »

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Posted in Consumers, Health Tips, Home Tips, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Shop for a New Credit Card

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The good news for consumers is that it’s much easier to shop for credit cards than it used to be. First, consider how you plan to use the card. Most cards fall into one of three categories: cash back, travel and low interest. If you pay your balance in full every month, you should consider a cash back card with a higher interest rate. If your goal is to rack up frequent flier miles, get a travel rewards card, and if you can’t pay your balance in full every month, shop for a card with the lowest possible interest rate.

While I haven’t found an objective review of credit card comparison sites, you might look at these: lowcards.com, bankrate.com and comparecards.com. A friend recently recommended a new site called nerdwallet.com—it’s easy to navigate and claims to compare 1,714 credit cards at once. Make sure you check several sources before picking your new credit card.

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Party on the Patio: How to Get Your Yard Set for Summer Fun

summer-garden

With summer fast approaching, you’ll want to prepare your outdoor living space for optimum enjoyment of the warm, sunny weather. Photo: Hansen Landscape Contractor (2015)

If you’re like most Bay Area residents, as the long days and balmy evenings of summer set in, you’ll want to be spending as much time as possible outside. An outdoor living space can serve a variety of functions, whether an ambient setting to entertain guests or a relaxing oasis for lounging during your annual staycation. In order to get the most enjoyment out of your space, however, you’ll first need to get it clean and functional again after having sat unused all winter. Here are a few aspects likely to require your attention:

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Proper swimming pool maintenance consists of two essential aspects: cleaning and sanitation. Photo: Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc. (2015)

Swimming Pool
Following its winter dormancy, your swimming pool needs a bit of maintenance to get it ready for summer use. According to John Pittman of Roger’s Pool and Spa Service, Inc., it’s best to start by getting the pool and its filter cleaned. You can clean the filter by disassembling it and using a garden hose to wash off the individual parts. You’ll also need to adjust your filter’s run time, from the minimal off-season setting up to 6-8 hours a day during the summer. Continue reading “Party on the Patio: How to Get Your Yard Set for Summer Fun” »

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Industry Organization Spotlight: National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

NARIOverview
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the only independent national association dedicated solely to the remodeling industry. By providing helpful resources for remodeling professionals and consumers alike, NARI seeks to fulfill its stated core purpose: “To advance and promote the remodeling industry’s professionalism, product, and vital public purpose.”

NARI’s roots go back to the Depression Era, when the Northeast Roofing, Siding and Insulation Contractors Association (NERSICA) was formed as part of President Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act. After changing its name to the National Remodelers Association (NRA) in the mid-60s, it merged with the National Home Improvement Council in 1983 to become NARI, which continues to flourish today with 58 chapters nationwide. Continue reading “Industry Organization Spotlight: National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Vial of Life

Watch this video to learn how the “Vial of Life” program can help you effectively prepare for a disaster.

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