In This Issue
Diamond Certified Resources


Savvy Consumer Tips

Dear Savvy Consumer,

Do you ever approach a home improvement project or a major purchase with fear and trepidation? Right now, my husband and I are talking about making some changes around the house and we need a new car and he also wants a big screen television. We both dread the prospect of spending precious weekends at the mall or at automobile dealerships, and that’s after you invest time in figuring out what you want.

If you’re a savvy consumer like me, I do my homework, but streamline the process. For starters, I only go to trusted sources for information on products. Consumer Reports magazine is always my first choice when it comes to finding objective and independent ratings for most things. For example, I will use it in the coming weeks to select a fuel-efficient car and also to negotiate the best price on the car. For local companies I first go to and read the profiles and rating results on top-rated companies in my area.

Another short cut is to talk to the experts, but come prepared. I was looking for new kitchen cabinets recently, and in a just a few hours, several knowledgeable salespeople gave me a crash course on the subject. You might be surprised at how much you can learn by not only asking good questions, but also openly acknowledging their skill and expertise.

You will save yourself a lot of hassle by going back to a business where you have had a successful experience in the past. Every time I need my carpets cleaned for instance, I call the same Diamond Certified company. The job is perfect every time, and I look forward to seeing the owner, who does the work himself. My little black book is full of great businesses and wonderful service people.

If you’re just getting started developing your “A” list of local companies to do business with, I recommend that you start with  And by the way, if you want to recommend a company that you think should be able to earn Diamond Certified, send the name to me at (Remember, each company must qualify by scoring over 90 on a 100 scale on customer satisfaction and pass all of the credential rating steps to earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award.)


Chris Bjorklund
The Savvy Consumer

Grilling the Green Way

It’s summertime and that means more cooking outdoors. Reduce your carbon footprint by retiring your old charcoal grill and replacing it with a gas grill. They’re not ideal, but they do burn cleaner. If you stick with charcoal, the Daily Green ( recommends using all natural charcoal briquettes, which don’t contain additives, or environmentally certified wood briquettes, made from sustainably farmed hardwoods. Use a chimney starter—a tall metal cylinder—to get the fire started with fewer CO2 emissions.

While you’re greening your grill, why don’t you go all the way and use biodegradable plates and utensils ( when you can’t use the real stuff. And don’t forget to compost ( the leftovers.

Beware When Contractors Come Calling

When the doorbell rings, it’s not always the Avon lady. Be on the alert for scams involving unscrupulous contractors who come to your home uninvited. In some cases, the unethical contractor does a job for a neighbor and then goes door to door collecting deposits for jobs he never intends to start. In other cases, the dishonest contractor says he’s offering free inspections. Not surprisingly, he finds something seriously wrong with every property he inspects. Then he offers to make the unneeded repairs at what he says is a bargain price because he’s doing a number of homes in the neighborhood.

The safe way to handle home repairs and improvements is to determine what you want to have done and then contact one or more contractors you choose from a list of ethical contractors. The best place to start your contractor search is in the Diamond Certified directory (

Kudos from Diamond Certified Customers

I'm very pleased with the work I've had done by William Gotelli Plumbing in San Rafael.

I’ve used Gotelli twice in the past few years and they've done a great job on my repair and remodel projects.

I’ll be checking your listings for other types of contractors for my other projects in the future.

James M., San Rafael

Companies Recently Earning
Diamond Certified®

Alameda County
Best Tree Service
, Newark

Marin County
Terra Teak & Garden, Mill Valley

Monterey/San Benito Counties
Barry's Carpet Service Inc., Monterey
D. Cook Construction, Seaside
Disaster Kleenup Specialists Monterey Bay
, Sand City

J.R. Rouse Real Estate, Pacific Grove

San Francisco
Metro Dental Group, San Francisco
P. Langan Construction, San Francisco
The Garden Route Company, San Francisco

Santa Clara County
GIC Emission Control, Inc., San Jose

Santa Cruz County

Clean-Tec Restoration, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Rug, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners
, Santa Cruz

Solano County
All Access Landscape, Richmond

Sonoma County
All Weather Heating & Cooling, Santa Rosa

Read this newsletter and prior issues at