Diamond Certified Blog

by Suzanne Carroll
May 18, 2017

What’s the perfect accessory to go with a cap and gown? A set of car keys. With graduation season upon us, many young people will be getting their first cars before heading off to college or starting their first jobs. A car allows a young person to experience freedom and independence, but it’s also a serious responsibility. School may be over for your child, but the life lessons are just about to begin. To learn how you can help teach your child to be a responsible car owner, read these tips provided by five Diamond Certified Experts.

 

How to buy a car

For many young people, an auto dealership may be where the car of their dreams crashes into the reality of their bank accounts. Read more

by Jennifer Chan
May 16, 2017

Last month, we mailed the brand-new 2017 Diamond Certified Directory to more than 810,000 households throughout the San Francisco Bay Area (if you didn’t get your FREE copy, click here). Whether you already rely on the Diamond Certified Directory to find top rated local companies or you’ve never heard of it before, we figured it’s a good time to get (re)acquainted.

Every April, American Ratings Corporation publishes 10 versions of the Diamond Certified Directory, covering all of the Greater Bay Area (including Monterey). Read more

by James Florence
May 09, 2017

Despite being the largest of all plants, trees are surprisingly easy to overlook. Maybe it’s because their serene, stationary disposition causes them to blend in with their surroundings; maybe we just don’t look up often enough. Either way, like any plant, trees require water, nutrition and ongoing maintenance, so it’s important to take care of the ones on your property. To learn about some tree care basics, we’re joined by six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors in the tree service and landscaping fields. Read more

by James Florence
May 04, 2017

When it comes to window cleaning, nothing compares to a professional’s touch, but if you ever have to do it yourself, it’s helpful to know the proper technique. First, however, you’ll need the right tools, including a strip washer (sort of like a mop that’s used on windows) and a squeegee. You’ll also need a cleaning solution that repels (rather than attracts) dirt, whether a store-bought product or a homemade mixture of vinegar or ammonia and water.

Once you’ve assembled your tools, follow this simple window cleaning technique as explained by Eric Kennedy, co-owner of Smart Window Cleaning: Read more

by Jennifer Chan
April 27, 2017

Throughout April, the 2017 Diamond Certified Directory has been arriving in mailboxes all around the Bay Area (if you haven’t received your FREE copy yet, click here), and we’re thrilled with the responses we’ve been getting. Our ratings team spends 100 percent of their time conducting stringent customer satisfaction research to identify companies that qualify for the Diamond Certified award. The Diamond Certified Directory is our opportunity to present these top rated companies to consumers, so we love hearing from people who are using the directory to find new companies to meet their needs. Here are some samples of what we’ve been hearing:

“I engaged Westward Builders this year because I got a reference from you,” says Catherine C. Read more

by James Florence
April 25, 2017

In terms of sheer scope, few enterprises are as exhaustive (or exhausting, for that matter) as moving. From the basic tasks of packing and transporting your belongings to more technical aspects like hiring a moving company and getting insurance, there are a lot of bases to cover. To “unpack” some of the complexities involved, we’ve curated the following collection of information, including key terms, helpful tips and answers to frequently asked questions.

Key Moving Terms

Bill of lading: The standard form used by the United States shipping industry to acknowledge that a carrier has received a shipment. The bill supplies a list of goods included in the shipment and specifies the terms of the shipping agreement, Read more

by Suzanne Carroll
April 20, 2017

There’s usually a sign. Maybe your mother had a bad fall, forgot to pay her bills or is unable to keep up with her medications. Whatever the reason, nearly all families will come to a point when they realize a loved one can’t fully or safely take care of daily tasks. With the first wave of baby boomers entering their 70s, elder care is a growing need for Bay Area families. Understanding the care options that are available can help families make choices that will bring everyone comfort and peace of mind.

In-Home Care
If your loved one needs some assistance with chores, errands or self-care, in-home care may be the best fit. Read more

by Chris Bjorklund
April 19, 2017

I’m frustrated right now because I’ve been calling several local companies for service and haven’t heard back from any of them. I’m trying to get on a schedule for tree pruning, and I’m also attempting to schedule a furnace cleaning and fireplace inspection. I’ve left four voicemail messages for one of these companies over a two-week period. I’ve persisted because I’m a repeat customer and was satisfied with their services in the past.

I understand that small businesses can get overwhelmed with consumer demand. Severe storms like we had this winter mean tree service companies, plumbers, and roofers are working overtime and can’t keep up with all the requests. Read more

by James Florence
April 13, 2017

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips about swimming pools. One of the aspects mentioned was new pool construction, which entails a long and detailed process (not to mention a major financial investment). To learn more about how to prepare for a pool project, watch this informative video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Marc Hannigan, Vice President of Royal Pools of Santa Clara, Inc.

Read more

by James Florence
April 11, 2017

When it comes to surviving the summer heat, there’s nothing quite like cooling off in a pool—especially when it’s in your own backyard. Whether you’re thinking about installing a swimming pool or you’re interested in improving your current swimming experience, you can benefit by gaining knowledge about pool building and maintenance. In the following article, we’ll dive into some of the basics with four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors as our guides. Read more