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    Diamond Certified Expert Contributors
    Read topic-based expert articles and watch informative video tips by Diamond Certified Expert Contributors, each of whom manages a local company that has been independently rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise®.

    Diamond Certified Consumer Blog
    The Diamond Certified Blog is updated bi-weekly and features helpful articles and videos on a wide variety of topics. Read blogs about home, health and auto maintenance; learn about industry-leading organizations; stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the Diamond Certified Resource; and much more.

    Savvy Consumer Tips
    Read the latest consumer advice and tips from Chris Bjorklund, a Bay Area consumer advocate with more than 35 years of experience. You can also access archived Savvy Consumer Tips and contact Chris about consumer issues in your area.

    How to Be a Savvy Consumer
    Watch a video and read informative articles to learn how you can be a savvy consumer and get the most out of the consumer experience.

    Local Company Owner Blog
    Read our comprehensive series of business-to-business blogs to gain valuable insight into topics like customer retention, brand building, improving market signals and more.

DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS
Helpful Expertise® From Owners of Top Rated Companies

If you want to gain knowledge on specific local services and become a more savvy consumer, we encourage you to access the Diamond Certified Expert Reports through the search options on the right. These mostly industry-specific articles, tip sheets, videos and blog entries are created for consumers by local experts. The authors know what they’re talking about because they own or manage local Diamond Certified companies that have been independently rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise®. Each has contributed their expertise to create these reports for you and other consumers as a way to give back to their community.

Albert Nahman Owner
Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating

Barbara Ragsdale President
Knights’ Electric, Inc.

Cameron Radonich Marketing Director
Los Gatos Roofing

Debby Benson-Miller Real Estate Agent
Prime Real Estate Services

Geoffrey Kulik Partner
Sterck Kulik O’Neill Accounting Group, Inc.

Dr. Jag Dhesi Owner
Springtown Wellness Center – Jag Dhesi, D.C.

Andrea Vernerova Property Manager
CM Property Management Inc.

Rolf Bell Principal
Green Living Builders LLC

Alex Nunez Manager
B & J Transmissions

Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Owner
Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro DDS

Bill Place Owner
Nor Cal Glass Products, Inc.

Soumil Amin Owner
CertaPro Painters of Berkeley

RECENT DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT REPORTS

Pre-Tax Premiums for Small Employer Health Groups

MENLO PARK — A Section 125 Premium Only Plan (POP) is an essential part of any employer group health insurance and ancillary benefit program. Section 125 is a part of the Internal Revenue Code that legally allows employees to make their benefit contributions with pre-tax dollars. A Section 125 POP can benefit employers and their employees alike.

How Employers Benefit From a Section 125 POP

A Section 125 POP can save an employer money in a couple of ways. First, it reduces the amount employers must match of their employees’ Social Security and Medicare Taxes. Additionally, it can lower an employer’s workers’ compensation premiums.

How Employees Benefit From a Section 125 POP

Employees avoid paying any income tax on premiums they pay through POP. Read more

Video: Proper Technique for Resetting a Circuit Breaker

AMERICAN CANYON — Host, Sarah Rutan: Resetting a tripped circuit breaker can be surprisingly tricky. Today we’re in American Canyon with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Lamine Elabed of LW Construction & Handyman Services to learn the proper technique.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Lamine Elabed: Today I wanted to show you how to reset a simple circuit breaker when it’s tripped. A lot of times it’s not completely off or not completely on, and a lot of times, especially the old circuit breaker, sometimes it’s in between and you won’t even see it, but the only thing you see is that you don’t have power someplace, no lights or something is not going on in your house. Read more

DIAMOND CERTIFIED CONSUMER BLOG
Blog
Diamond Certified Experts: Insights for a Kitchen Remodeling Project

Posted on January 15, 2019 by James Florence

A kitchen remodeling project is an exciting venture, but as most homeowners soon discover, the actual process can be dauntingly complex. To ease your apprehension about starting your own kitchen remodel, we’ve asked our Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to break down the essential aspects of the process and provide some helpful insights. Read more

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Posted in: Home Remodeling, Appliances, Diamond Certified Experts
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Avoid Space Wasters in Your New Kitchen (And Replace Them With Space Savers)

Posted on January 10, 2019 by Jennifer Chan

Back in 2011, Chris Bjorklund, the Savvy Consumer, wrote the original version of this article. Kitchens have changed since then, but the sentiment is timeless: for those of us who live in the Bay Area, there simply isn’t room for space wasters in the kitchen. With that, read on to learn how to replace those space wasters with space savers.

Out: Kitchen desks

In her original post, Chris mentioned that the only family member to ever use her kitchen desk was the dog. Even in 2011, laptops and cellular devices were making traditional desks obsolete. Read more

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Posted in: Home Remodeling, Home Organization, Home Improvement, Savvy Tips
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HOW TO BE A SAVVY DIAMOND CERTIFIED CONSUMER
Watch this video to learn Chris Bjorklund's Top 10 ways to be a savvy consumer.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE COMPANY YOU CHOOSE

Your Role in Creating a Win-Win Relationship

Many consumers find that it helps to know the scope of their jobs and their overarching goals before talking to a local service company. By knowing what you want to accomplish… Read more

How to be Their Favorite Customer

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… Read more

Best Practices for Communicating with a Company

Delivering feedback to a company is like landing an airplane on an old runway—it can be bumpy or smooth depending on how much work has been put into maintaining the area… Read more

WHAT TO DO IF THINGS GO WRONG

How to Develop the Relationship to Prevent Problems

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… Read more

The First Steps to Problem Resolution

“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… Read more

Go to Problem Resolution and Mediation Hub

This informative page will teach you what to do when you have an issue with a local company. Read more

LOCAL COMPANY OWNER BLOG
Blog
Level Up!

Posted on October 14, 2018 by Matt Solis

The other night, I was watching one of my new favorite TV shows, “Black Mirror.” If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it features stories that explore the social implications of how technology might be used in the not-too-distant future. Usually, it’s about how certain technology can lead to disastrous situations when misused, but some episodes take a more optimistic perspective.

The episode I watched, “Nosedive,” is about a society where every individual gets rated on an app based on each encounter they have with a person or business. Their overall rating dictates their socioeconomic status and allows them to earn certain benefits. The main character is a woman who wants a high score in order to qualify for a luxury apartment, Read more

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The First Four

Posted on September 15, 2018 by Matt Solis

One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-one thousand. That’s how quickly prospective clients judge your company. In just four seconds, your company has made a first impression, and after four minutes, that impression has solidified. And although this impression can change during the course of an interaction, getting the first impression right gives you a huge competitive advantage. In the first four minutes, your potential customers are quickly answering these subconscious questions about your company: Read more

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Making the Grade

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Matt Solis

In my family, August has always meant “back to school” time. Now that one of my daughters is in college and on the quarter system, she doesn’t start until September, but that doesn’t change the fact that August is still a great time to plan for the rest of the year. I think this is common for most families. People are back from their summer vacations and starting to plan their projects for the upcoming months. Whether it’s major car repairs, home remodeling jobs or health checkups they’ve been putting off, this is the time of year when people make the calls.

If you qualify for Diamond Certified, you’ll be in a unique position because you’ll have access to tools that make your company stand out from your competitors and help you capture the best consumers who will keep you busy through the typically slower months of the fall and winter. Read more

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