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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: , , ,

Meet the Team: Greg Louie

Greg Louie is co-founder of the Diamond Certified Program.

Greg Louie, co-founder of the Diamond Certified Program, is Vice President of Service at American Ratings Corporation.

Long before he was promoting the Diamond Certified Resource, Greg Louie knew the value of differentiating quality for consumers. “Before I got into the ratings industry, I was in the sports equipment business—specifically, manufacturing custom golf clubs,” he explains. “Since I was competing against major manufacturers, I was always looking for ways to differentiate my company. Later, when I got an opportunity to join a ratings company, I knew it would be a good fit because I had a firsthand perspective of how differentiating quality could benefit consumers and businesses alike.”

Today, 14 years after co-founding American Ratings Corporation, Greg continues to derive enthusiasm and gratification from his professional role. Continue reading “Meet the Team: Greg Louie” »

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Posted in Personal Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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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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: , , , , ,

Residential Solar Power: The Basics

With California experiencing one of the worst droughts in recorded history, it’s a great time to explore converting to solar. Not only can solar power help put the brakes on climate change, it’s also one of the least “thirsty” methods of generating electricity. According to Diamond Certified solar company Sungevity, coal-fired power plants require 100 to 1,000 gallons of water to generate one megawatt-hour of electricity. Solar, by comparison, requires zero gallons of water to produce the same amount of electricity (more details). With this in mind, we’re re-posting this timely article on how to get started with a  residential solar power system.

Solar panels are low maintenance.

Keeping your solar panels in good shape is actually relatively simple. Photo: Synapse Electric, 2015

People have many reasons for switching to solar power, from rising electricity consumption and energy costs to growing concerns about the environment. Regardless of why you want to install a solar system on your residential or commercial property, there are numerous factors to consider before making a final decision. To ensure you’re as knowledgeable as possible when going through the process, consider the following tips and information:

Continue reading “Residential Solar Power: The Basics” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Solar Power | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Industry Overview: Real Estate 101

real-estate-basics

Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic real estate concepts and terminology. Photo: The Bower Cole Group (2015)

For the uninitiated, real estate can be like learning a new language. In this article, we cover some of the basics, from key industry terms to commonly asked questions.

Distinguishing Designations
With all the different titles in real estate, it can be hard to keep track of who’s who. Here’s a simple breakdown of the main real estate designations:

Realtor: A realtor can be an agent, broker or other real estate professional. What defines a realtor is not their designation, but their adherence to the Code of Ethics set forth by the National Association of Realtors, which you can read here.

Agent: An agent possesses a salesperson license with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). In order to practice real estate, agents need to associate themselves with particular brokers (known as “hanging a license” in the industry). Continue reading “Industry Overview: Real Estate 101” »

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Posted in Consumers, Real Estate Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

How a Bedtime Story Inspired Me to Get Organized

One of the best ways to increase comfort and functionality in the home is to implement organizational measures. Photo: PremierGarage (2014)

One of the best ways to increase comfort and functionality in the home is to implement organizational measures. Photo: PremierGarage (2014)

Continue reading “How a Bedtime Story Inspired Me to Get Organized” »

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Posted in Home Tips, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | 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: , , , ,

Replacing Windows in San Francisco

Save Energy Diamond Certified Company Report

Save Energy Company recently completed this window installation project in San Francisco featuring ogee lugs. Photo: Save Energy Company (2014)

When it comes to retrofitting and renovation, San Francisco homeowners face challenges as unique as the city itself. One issue that many homeowners face is how to make their older homes more energy efficient. A great way to increase energy efficiency in any house is to upgrade the windows and doors. However, according to John Gorman of Save Energy Company, swapping out old windows for new ones isn’t always a simple task in San Francisco. Continue reading “Replacing Windows in San Francisco” »

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Posted in Window Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 2014 Diamond Certified Directory is Here!

The massive distribution of the 2014 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!2014 directory

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. You can even order an extra directory to give to a friend or family member! Continue reading “The 2014 Diamond Certified Directory is Here!” »

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