Diamond Certified Blog

Industry Organization Spotlight: I-CAR





Formed in 1979, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) is an international nonprofit that’s dedicated to promoting high standards of quality among professionals from all segments of the collision repair industry. By pursuing its mission to “deliver increasingly accessible, on-demand and relevant education, knowledge, services, and solutions for the collision repair industry,” I-CAR’s vision is that all professionals will possess “the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe, quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.” Continue reading “Industry Organization Spotlight: I-CAR” »

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Tech Support: How to Care for Your Computer

In today’s world, computers have become integrated into nearly every aspect of life, from entertainment and education to finances and even relationships. While we’ve yet to reach a futuristic reality where our devices have literally become appendages, when it comes to characterizing the role computers play in our everyday lives, a term like “sidekick” may be apropos—after all, does a day go by that we don’t spend time on our computers? And how many of us never leave the house without our smartphones, laptops or tablets? You might start to think of your devices as programmable pals, binary buddies, computerized companions…you get the idea.

Considering the pivotal position they inhabit, it seems only fitting that our computers should receive the utmost care; and yet, we tend to forget that they, like ourselves, have needs and vulnerabilities that require ongoing support. To keep your computer happy and healthy, as well as avoid common pitfalls like malware and data loss, consider the following tips: Continue reading “Tech Support: How to Care for Your Computer” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: How to Find a New Doctor

Watch this video for some helpful tips on choosing a new doctor.

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Diamond Certified Experts: Dental Tips


From orthodontics to cosmetic and restorative dentistry, today’s dental industry encompasses a wide variety of specialization. Photo: Isaac Lin, DDS (2015)

Most of us would like to think maintaining good oral health is as simple as brushing and flossing, but in reality, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The true complexity of the matter is reflected in the wide range of specialization comprising today’s dental industry, from orthodontics to cosmetic and restorative dentistry. When it comes to navigating such a diverse domain, a little helpful expertise can go a long way, which is why we’ve compiled this sampling of useful tips and essential practices from six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors.

1. Floss first, brush last: Dr. Isaac Lin of Isaac Lin, DDS
To maximize the effectiveness of brushing, make it the final step of your oral hygiene routine. Always floss before you brush—it’ll remove food particles from the spaces between your teeth and allow for better brushing coverage. If you use mouthwash, do so in between flossing and brushing. Ideally, there should be a small amount of toothpaste in your saliva when you go to bed, which will allow its effects to extend beyond the bathroom. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Dental Tips” »

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Have a Nice Day, Y’all!

chris-image-bon-appetitI was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago for our son’s wedding. Everywhere we went, we encountered warm hospitality. For example, one morning in the hotel, as I left my room and walked toward the elevator, I heard the maid down the hall call out, “Have a nice day, y’all!” I turned around to see to whom she was speaking…and realized she was talking to me! I heard that phrase again and again during our stay.

People of all ages held open doors for each other and offered unsolicited help with directions. The waiters and bartenders spent extra time explaining local foods and menu recommendations. They seemed to enjoy and took pride in offering quality service and making a connection with customers. I don’t know when I’ve seen so many smiles all around town. Continue reading “Have a Nice Day, Y’all!” »

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Keeping Your Cool: DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance in Five Steps

Performing seasonal maintenance will help keep your air conditioning system running optimally. Photo: Kelly Plumbing & Heating (2015)

Performing seasonal maintenance will help keep your air conditioning system running optimally. Photo: Kelly Plumbing & Heating (2015)

Your central air conditioning system is designed to keep your home cool during the summer, but like any system or appliance, it requires intermittent maintenance to stay operating at peak efficiency. While certain aspects are best left to an HVAC professional (such as handling refrigerant), there are several steps you can take care of yourself. Here are five ways you can independently improve your air conditioner’s performance:

1. Clean the condenser unit. Since it’s located outside, an air conditioner’s exterior condenser unit tends to accumulate dirt and debris, which can inhibit efficient operation. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do some basic cleaning before turning it on for the summer. After shutting off power at the electrical disconnect, remove the fan cage on top of the unit and use a broom or compressed air source to clean out leaves, cobwebs, and other debris. You can also open the unit’s control panel and lightly clean around the inner components. Continue reading “Keeping Your Cool: DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance in Five Steps” »

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School’s Out: Here Come the Kids of Summer

Parents, get ready, for they are coming.

Best summer tip: throw cranky children in water. Photo: Royal Pools, 2015

Best summer tip: throw cranky children in water. Photo: Royal Pools, 2015

Remember last September? Just after Labor Day, you sent them off with new lunchboxes, pointy pencils and extra-long pants. The classrooms unto which they were delivered smelled of fresh paint. They cried a little, and so did you. You went home to an empty house and drank a well-deserved, oddly uninterrupted cup of coffee.

Well, parents…eight PTA meetings, seven slumber parties, four music recitals and one soccer tournament later, your precious bundles of joy are coming back. Continue reading “School’s Out: Here Come the Kids of Summer” »

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Spotlight: The Diamond Certified Ratings Process

LgSign03-10You already know you can use diamondcertified.org and the quarterly Diamond Certified Directory to find all types of service companies that have been independently rated Highest in Quality…but do you know how a company becomes Diamond Certified in the first place? Here’s a breakdown of our 12-step certification process and what it means for you, the consumer.

The company must apply to begin the rating process.

A random sample of typically 400 past customers is collected from all customer files of the applicant company. Continue reading “Spotlight: The Diamond Certified Ratings Process” »

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When in Drought, Californians Can Turn to Solar Energy

Skiers Avoid dry patches at Squaw Valley during drought

Skiers avoid dry patches at Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Photo: Max Whittaker/Getty Images/New York Times via Sungevity, 2015

This article originally appeared on the blog of Sungevity, a Diamond Certified company.

Guest post by Leslye Penticoff

In April, California’s Governor Jerry Brown imposed mandatory restrictions on the state’s water use for the first time in history. The announcement coincides with the end of another disappointing winter season for local skiers, who looked on enviously as snowfall set records in New England. The evidence is clear: the drought in California is serious, and it’s getting worse. So, why is solar energy making us hopeful? Because solar energy requires little to no water to generate electricity, unlike other energy sources, and it’s growing like gangbusters across California. Continue reading “When in Drought, Californians Can Turn to Solar Energy” »

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Meet the Team: Jim Stein

Jim Stein is founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Program.

Jim Stein is founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Program.

After more than 30 years as an entrepreneur, Jim Stein’s passion for improving local commerce through innovative means hasn’t dwindled in the least. It all started in 1983, when he founded Northern California’s first multi-language Yellow Pages, which produced more than 20 directory titles in four different languages. Yet despite its value as a consumer resource, Jim perceived that his product was missing an essential element. “During this time, I had the opportunity to study how consumers used information to find local companies,” he explains. “I found that while our phone book helped connect consumers with businesses, there wasn’t a concrete way to determine which companies actually provided the high customer satisfaction they claimed to offer.” Continue reading “Meet the Team: Jim Stein” »

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