Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Diamond Certified Extras

(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday

Shop small, shop local on small business saturday

Ocean Avenue in San Francisco is home to many small shops and businesses, including Miracle Cleaners, a Diamond Certified company. Photo: Miracle Cleaners, 2016

by Jennifer Chan

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” -Joni Mitchell

Welcome to November: the start of shopping season. Whether your holidays include hot cider, tamale-making or Chinese food on Christmas, they probably also include spending. In 2015, the United States spent more than $630 billion on holiday shopping (about 20 percent of the retail industry’s total sales for the year). American shoppers spend around $900 on gifts alone every holiday season, plus more on food, entertainment and travel. Continue reading “(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday” »

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Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , , ,

What Happens in Vegas…

A panoramic view of Creel Printing. There are more then 800,000 prints of the Diamond Certified Directory here!

A panoramic view of Creel Printing. There are more then 800,000 prints of the Diamond Certified Directory here! Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2016

We’ve just completed the massive distribution of the 2016 Diamond Certified Directory, with more than 800,000 copies reaching homes and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. (If you haven’t received your FREE copy in the mail yet, click here.) April distribution marks the end of a season around here. Every year, we spend six to eight months producing the Diamond Certified Directory. In the final stage of the production process, Director of Production Char Leary and her team head off to Las Vegas. Continue reading “What Happens in Vegas…” »

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Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Diamond Certified News | Tags: , , ,

Spotlight: The Mediation Process

Nearly all disputes that are mediated under the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee are resolved with a mutually agreeable solution. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015

Nearly all disputes that are mediated under the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee are resolved with a mutually agreeable solution. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015

When working with a service company, sometimes a dispute arises from an unmet expectation or a simple misunderstanding. Many disagreements are resolved after the parties work with each other using the contract for guidance. Sometimes people find it difficult to resolve a dispute on their own. The Diamond Certified Resource is here to help. Our mediation department helps people craft their own agreements. Diamond Certified dispute resolution is always free and we back it up per the terms of our Performance Guarantee. Continue reading “Spotlight: The Mediation Process” »

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Spotlight: The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

perfWe believe every consumer deserves superior performance, so we back each transaction with a Diamond Certified company with our mediation services and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s how it works:

The Performance Guarantee is designed to help you in the event that you have a dispute with a Diamond Certified company. This dispute may arise from an unmet expectation or a simple misunderstanding. Many disagreements are resolved after the parties work with each other using the contract and industry standards for guidance. Continue reading “Spotlight: The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee” »

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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.

1. APPLY
The company must apply to begin the rating process.

2. SAMPLE
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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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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NEW in the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory: Expert Tips

2015 directoryThe Diamond Certified Directory has long been a valuable resource for Northern California consumers—in addition to full-page profiles of top rated companies across a wide range of service industries, it features a Consumer Help List with contact information for various consumer agencies, a detailed explanation of why the Diamond Certified Program is more accurate than most review sites and much more.

This year, we’ve included a brand-new section that makes the Diamond Certified Directory even more valuable: Diamond Certified Expert Contributor tips. Continue reading “NEW in the 2015 Diamond Certified Directory: Expert Tips” »

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Prepare to Prepare: Getting Ready To Do Your Taxes

Advice and resources for preparing my 2014 tax return.

Deduct tax preparation from your to-do list so you can enjoy a day out. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015

Like house painting, preparing to prepare your tax return comprises the bulk of the work. With good preparation, actually completing your tax return is a piece of cake. If you’re one of those people who carefully manage tax documents all year long, pat yourself on the back. If you’re like those of us who find tax preparation painful at best, read on.

First: Organize
Whether or not you’re using a tax preparer, having organized paperwork will make all the difference. As your W-2s, mortgage interest statements and bank paperwork arrive, put them in a large, well-marked envelope. Ideally, throughout 2014, you’ve done the same with all of your receipts for tax-deductible expenses (if you haven’t, don’t worry—we’ll cover that in a minute).
Continue reading “Prepare to Prepare: Getting Ready To Do Your Taxes” »

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Customer Service, Diamond Certified Extras, Savvy Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s That Time Again. What’s Your New Year’s Resolution for 2015?

We are very curious.

Maybe your New Year’s resolution relates to services that Diamond Certified companies provide: you want to remodel your bathroom or get your teeth cleaned more often. Or, instead, maybe you just want to finish that novel or lose 10 pounds. Either way, we want to hear about it. Write it on a piece of paper (like we did below) and send us a selfie. You can also write your resolution in the comment section below.

Thanks for sharing and good luck!

While we wait to hear from you, here are some of the things we came up with:

New Years Resolution Post v2

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Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Diamond Certified News, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , ,

A Field Trip to the Food Bank

2015 update: ‘Tis the season once again! Add a food bank, a shelter or another other worthy cause to your list and experience the fun of playing Santa.

‘Tis the season! Ashley and I dropped off the bounty collected from our holiday food drive at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank  yesterday and were lucky enough to get a private tour.  Given that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the country, I was shocked and saddened to learn that 25% of the residents of San Francisco and Marin are in need of food assistance. Consequently, I’m so grateful that there are organizations like the SF-Marin Food Bank. While they might not completely eradicate hunger, the 47 million pounds of food they distribute a year must make a dent. Continue reading “A Field Trip to the Food Bank” »

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Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Diamond Certified News, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , ,