Diamond Certified Blog

by James Florence
December 08, 2016

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on mold prevention and remediation. One of the aspects mentioned was the rigorous procedure that remediation professionals follow when removing mold. To learn more about what this procedure entails, watch this informative video by Terri Barlcai of 911 Remediation LLC, speaking on behalf of Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Erez Gilad.

 

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by James Florence
December 06, 2016

Silent, it grows undetected. Hidden, it lurks beneath your floors and inside your walls. No, it’s not some alien from a science fiction movie—it’s mold! While less terrifying than an extraterrestrial invasion, mold is nonetheless a pervasive problem found in homes throughout the Bay Area. Due to its potentially serious health repercussions, combating mold requires a proactive approach, both in terms of prevention and dealing with it remedially. To shed some light on this important subject, we’ve asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in with their professional knowledge of mold prevention and remediation. Read more

by James Florence
December 01, 2016

’Tis the season to be jolly, but for many people, the holidays are more synonymous with stress than merriment. From checking off your gift shopping list to getting your home ready to accommodate guests, the nonstop pace of the “holiday hustle” can eventually dim even the brightest of spirits. That’s why, in the interest of avoiding a yuletide meltdown, it’s important to be proactive about self-care in the weeks leading up to your seasonal celebration. Consider the following ideas for busting your stress buildup:

Practice simple stress-managing techniques. You may not realize it, but the power to alleviate stress is literally in the palm of your hand. For example, placing your palm to your forehead has a legitimate physiological effect. Read more

by Chris Bjorklund
November 29, 2016

I’ll never forget the time I was walking my dog the day after Thanksgiving and she got into a neighbor’s garbage bag that was full of turkey bones. First she started chomping and then she started choking. Luckily, the mail carrier was passing by and knew exactly what to do: the Heimlich maneuver. The partially chewed and splintered bones popped right out. We avoided an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital on a holiday weekend.antioch-dog

According to Dr. Howard Schutzman, owner of Antioch Veterinary Hospital, a Diamond Certified practice, we were fortunate. “The main problem with bones, especially turkey bones and chicken bones, is they splinter easily,” he explains. Read more

by Jennifer Chan
November 24, 2016

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude. So, we put the question to some of our Diamond Certified Experts: What are you thankful for? Here’s what they said:

sergiu-deac

Sergiu Deac, president of Best Construction: “I’m thankful for this country adopting me. I’m thankful for every day that I’m an American citizen. I can do what I like and I’m thankful for being healthy. I thank God for my family.” Read more

by Jennifer Chan
November 22, 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. Read more

by Joy Lanzaro
November 17, 2016

Mediation is a self-directed process that’s designed to co-craft solutions. In matters related to contract performance, it can reduce the cost and time required to reach a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator uses shuttle diplomacy to de-escalate tension and remove obstacles to agreement. We have found it to be a very effective way to get parties through a rough patch in a way that preserves each side’s autonomy.

Here are a few questions to help decide if mediation is right for you:

  • Is the dispute about performance of work on contract?
  • Have you attempted to resolve the dispute through direct communication with the service provider?
  • Do you need to take a break from direct communication?
  • Read more

by Joy Lanzaro
November 17, 2016

“Don’t make assumptions.” This piece of wisdom is perhaps the most powerful guiding principle in conflict prevention. I picked it up from a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz long before I was a mediator. Over the past 10 years, I’ve witnessed that nearly every conflict can be traced back to an assumption.

Assumptions are normal. Our brains are wired for efficiency. So, we naturally, don’t stop to question and analyze the same sequence of events over our entire lifetimes. Eventually, we stop requiring evidence that A leads to C. However, when you use mental shortcuts to interpret other people’s actions, there’s a big risk of being wrong. Because conflict costs time and money, Read more

by Joy Lanzaro
November 17, 2016

Be willing to be satisfied. It’s strange but true. Small-business owners and their staff really like making their customers happy for its own reward. They’ll go the extra mile for customers who will be satisfied with a job well done. Yes, it’s a monetary transaction, but sincere appreciation is an intrinsic reward and can grease the gears of good will. And, because reasonable people tend to have reasonable friends, company owners will make a reasonable effort to earn your trust and referrals. It’s an investment and a reward in itself.

Unfortunately, there’s an erroneous idea that service providers are desperate for business and have to accommodate any type of demand to get future referrals or avoid bad press on social media. Read more

by Greg Louie
November 17, 2016

When you work with a local company, it’s ultimately their responsibility to perform a thorough and complete job, but you play a big part in the success of your project, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be their favorite customer:

  • Be clear and upfront with the company representative.
  • Outline the problem, the outcome you’re expecting and specific ways the company can satisfy your expectations.
  • Restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the company representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems occur because of a breakdown in communication. Being clear about the expectations you and the company have can help you avoid most conflicts.
  • Read more