Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Consumers

5 Ways to Prevent Data Loss on Your Home Computer

data recovery computers

If you have a seriously damaged computer, it’s best to find a data recovery firm to attempt repair work rather than relying on DIY solutions. Photo: DriveSavers, Inc. (2017)

We all know the paralyzing feeling of having a computer frozen on the “blue screen of death,” or worse, a computer that won’t turn on at all. Family photos, financial documents, novels in progress—our home computers often contain our most personal and valued information, which is why regular backups are important. If you realize something is seriously wrong with your machine, the next steps you take will make the difference between recovering data and losing it forever. To prevent potential data loss, Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Mike Cobb of DriveSavers, Inc. recommends the following:

  1. Pay attention to noises. It’s normal for computers to make some noise, like the hum of the ventilation fan. Other noises are certainly cause for concern. If you hear any grinding, clicking or whirring sounds from your machine, call a professional data recovery firm.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Prevent Data Loss on Your Home Computer” »

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Concentration Station: How to Create a Home Office

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to 25 percent of all employed Americans work from home at least some of the time. This is hardly surprising given increasingly longer commutes and the growth of the gig economy. If you’re part of this trend of telecommuters, you probably already know that working from home has its upsides and downsides. The key to staying on task while surrounded by the distractions of home is to create a home office where you can be your most productive. Let’s go through the steps.

home office interior design

As telecommuting gets simpler, dedicated home office spaces have become more important for homeowners. Photo: Closet Factory (2017)

Step 1: Establish Your Work Station

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated room for a home office, you’re already set. Continue reading “Concentration Station: How to Create a Home Office” »

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Industry Overview: Pest Control 101

pest control bay area

Pest control is a year-round problem for Bay Area homeowners. Photo: All N One Pest Eliminators (2017)

The Bay Area’s moderate climate and abundant green space make pest control a year-round problem. At any given time, residents may find their homes overrun with insects such as termites and fleas or confronting trespassing animals like mice and rats. While many are eager to eliminate potentially harmful pests, there are also concerns about the effects of pesticides on people and pets. In this article, we’ll demystify the pest control industry by defining key terms used by professionals, providing tips for a pest-free home and answering frequently asked questions about eliminating pests.

Key Terms for Pest Control

Broad spectrum: Something that affects a wide range or large number of organisms. In pest control, the term “broad spectrum” usually refers to broad spectrum insecticides or pesticides that kill a wide variety of insects. Continue reading “Industry Overview: Pest Control 101” »

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Promises Made + Promises Kept = An Extremely Satisfied Customer

I had such a seamless experience with a light installer a few weeks back, I wanted to tell you about it. My husband and I purchased two wall sconces that had to be installed in a stairwell. Once we realized that we didn’t have the right kind of ladder for the installation and weren’t sure how complicated the electrical work would be, I started looking for a provider. After a few false starts, I found a local lighting company that suggested making an installation request through an online form.

People remember when they’ve had a great experience with a contractor. Photo: Roberts Electric Company, Inc., 2017

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had mixed success with requesting a quote this way. Often, you never even hear from the company—it can feel as though your request for service has gone into a black hole. Continue reading “Promises Made + Promises Kept = An Extremely Satisfied Customer” »

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

Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy

When it comes to filling a rental vacancy, a preventative approach can help you avoid future problems. Photo: The Dave Keefe Real Estate Team (2017)

While part of preparing a rental property for market is getting the physical space move-in ready, the other part is addressing non-physical details such as tenant screening. Due to the potential consequences of oversights or poor decisions in this area, it’s important to take a meticulous, preventative approach. To learn a few critical steps, read the following tip sheet by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Sam LaPlaca of CM Property Management Inc.:

1. Verify income. Accepting a tenant who can’t afford the rent is a mistake that can cost you a lot of time, money and frustration. That’s why, in addition to asking for pay stubs and bank statements, you should run a credit check to further verify an applicant’s income. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy” »

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How to Prepare a Rental Property for Market

From basic maintenance to upgrading outdated features, there are several steps involved in preparing a rental property for market. Photo: Howard Blood – Intero Real Estate (2017)

If you own a rental property that has recently been vacated, you’ll need to prepare it for going back on the market. While this primarily consists of cleaning and basic maintenance, a vacancy also provides an opportunity to increase the property’s value and maximize your investment. Here are some steps to consider:

Address maintenance needs. Four to six weeks before your intended market date, make a list of maintenance items that need to be addressed. This should include standard maintenance measures like cleaning the carpets as well as deferred tasks such as fixing a roof leak or broken window blind. It’s also a good idea to have preventative HVAC, plumbing and pest inspections performed during this time. Continue reading “How to Prepare a Rental Property for Market” »

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Is there a “Right Way” to Give Feedback?

Delivering feedback isn’t always easy. Before deciding to speak up, you may wrestle with competing goals of personal and social responsibility versus a desire to avoid conflict. At some point, every service provider has needed constructive feedback to better serve their customers. In speaking to thousands of consumers over the years, I’ve found that some people prefer to silently move on and not use that company’s services again. In those cases, everyone loses. Armed with the following tips, you may feel empowered to turn an unsatisfactory situation around and experience increased goodwill and satisfaction.

Talk to management before posting on social media.

Bob had a puzzling exchange with an electrical technician who charged him to flip a breaker. Bob and the technician couldn’t reach an agreement. After paying his bill, Bob posted a lengthy narrative of his experience on Yelp. He also contacted Diamond Certified and the Better Business Bureau. Continue reading “Is there a “Right Way” to Give Feedback?” »

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Seven Summer Scams

If you’re adopting a pet this summer, stay alert for online scams by fraudulent sellers. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2017

Along with rising temperatures this summer, we’re going to see a rise in seasonal scams. I’ve been getting warnings from consumer protection agencies about what to watch out for, and I want to pass them on to you. You may have heard of some of these rip-offs before, but be aware that new variations always pop up and can catch even the savviest consumers off guard.

1. Magazine scams
This scam ramps up in the summer with young people going door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions. They claim they’re working their way through college and need to make a certain number of sales to earn points for scholarships. That’s not true. Most of the time, the orders are never placed with the publishers, and even if your order is fulfilled, you’ll pay too much for the subscription. Continue reading “Seven Summer Scams” »

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Fire-Safe 2017: Defending Your Home Against Wildfires

With fire season in full swing, California residents need to be vigilant about maintaining fire-safe conditions on their properties. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

This year’s ample rain brought relief from the longstanding drought, but its deferred aftereffects have many California residents feeling an opposite sentiment. Following a profusion of spring growth, the onset of summer heat has transformed the landscape’s verdant splendor into a dry tinder, setting the stage for what fire authorities predict to be a harsh wildfire season. So far, this forecast appears to be accurate: According to a recent CNBC report, as of June 24, the amount of California acreage burned by wildfires is up threefold compared to this time in 2016.

While most of the fires thus far have taken place in Southern California, the state’s northern regions have an equally incendiary potential, with wildfires having ravaged Lake and Mendocino Counties in recent years. That’s why Northern California residents—particularly those situated in the wildland-urban interface—need to be vigilant about maintaining fire-safe conditions on their properties. Continue reading “Fire-Safe 2017: Defending Your Home Against Wildfires” »

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Happy Customer Highlights

While we love receiving all kinds of feedback from consumers about Diamond Certified companies, we particularly love hearing the kudos! Here’s what some happy customers have to say about their recent experiences with Diamond Certified companies.

Consumers are saying great things about Atlas Landscapes. Photo: Atlas Landscapes (2017)

Linda emailed to tell us she’s been using the Diamond Certified Directory for years. She hired Atlas Landscapes last fall and says “…they were exceptional in every way and truly surpassed my expectations. The customer service and quality of work were what I thought I’d get and more.” Continue reading “Happy Customer Highlights” »

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