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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.

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.

Adam Garza Owner
San Jose Plumbing, Inc.

Bill Shepherd President
Shepherd’s Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

Cindy Faulkner President
Valley Heating, Cooling and Electrical

Michal Johnson Owner
Grout Works Bay Area

Dane Marcy Service Manager
Kelly’s Appliance Center

Eva Kissova Owner
Kiss Painting

Dr. Alfred dela Cruz Owner
Alfred B. dela Cruz, DDS

Francisco Cortes President
Green Environment Landscape, Inc.

Hung Tu President
An Ky Construction Inc.

Janet Thrasher President
Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, Inc.

Jerry Allison President
Jerry Allison Landscaping, Inc.

Amie Prendergast Owner
Precision Door Services of the Bay Area


Video: The Proper Way to Disinfect a Surface

SAN JOSE — Sandy Willis: So, we want to clean and disinfect your house. The most important thing to do first is you must clean the surface first. So, because if you don’t clean the surface first with soap and water, the disinfectant’s not going to work. Most likely when you clean it, use soap and water, and that will get rid of like 97 percent of all the germs. And then when you disinfect, that will get up to the 99.99 percent.

So, after you clean it with warm soap and water, you will spray the area with your disinfectant. And let it sit. You need to look at your instructions. Read more

How to Properly Disinfect a Surface

SAN JOSE — When disinfecting surfaces inside the home, many people simply spray a disinfectant product on the surfaces and wipe them with a cloth. However, this neglects an important part of the process. Before applying disinfectant to a surface, you should clean it with soap and water. If you don’t do this, the disinfectant won’t be as effective. This initial soap-and-water cleaning will get rid of most of the germs before following up with disinfectant to finish the rest of them off.

Another important part of the disinfecting process that people often neglect is giving the disinfectant time to set. Most people wipe off the surface immediately after spraying the disinfectant, but this doesn’t give the product time to fully break down and eliminate all the germs. Read more

Firescaping Your Property

Posted on September 08, 2020 by Suzanne Carroll

The Bay Area has already seen numerous destructive wildfires in 2020, and there are still several weeks of hot, dry weather ahead of us. As wildfires become an increasingly common threat to the region, many homeowners are turning to “firescaping,” which is the coordinated use of fire-resistant plants and building materials around the home. With the right plants and hardscaping features, you can make it harder for wildfire to take hold and spread. Firescaping is a type of landscaping, which means you still have many options to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Aside from improving safety and adding beauty, firescaping can increase the value of your home. Read more

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Watch this video to learn Chris Bjorklund's Top 10 ways to be a savvy consumer.

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


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

Highest Quality and Helpful Expertise

Posted on September 17, 2020 by Jim Stein

Your team is competing for the hearts, minds and budgets of local families. You’ve done well so far. If you qualify for Diamond Certified, your award will be proof. Most companies can’t qualify, and even some that do can’t maintain the standard of Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise®. In these stressful times of COVID-19 and wildfires, people want reassurance. They genuinely want helpful expertise—help that’s customized to their situation and personality. Once the job begins, they want an empathetic relationship and a quality outcome. Read more

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Where Status and Belonging Overlap

Posted on August 03, 2020 by Jim Stein

Feeling like you belong. Belonging. It’s a sense of acceptance in a group. Your self-identity is derived from being a member in many groups. You have a role, sometimes several, in each group—a position. You may be a parent in a family group, a business manager in a company group, a friend in a bowling group and so on. As your activities and thoughts change during a single day, you jump from group to group, filling different roles in each. You’re inclined to think about and engage more often in groups where you feel a greater sense of belonging.

You have status within each group. Status is our position relative to others. Read more

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Posted on June 27, 2020 by Jim Stein

Your company is engaged in a battle of suppliers. It doesn’t create demand; it competes locally to supply demand that already exists. Many of your competitors are striving to win a bigger share of this demand or trying to capture its most profitable segments. What happens when market demand is suddenly changed by the shelter-in-place (SIP) order and gradual reopening?

Playing for a bigger piece of a (sometimes) smaller pie.
As your neighbors come out of hibernation, in some industries total demand will lag behind pre-SIP levels while others will be strong due to pent-up demand. If you’re in a lagging industry, you’re competing for your share of a smaller pie…for now. Read more

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Thinking for Reopening and Beyond

Posted on June 04, 2020 by Jim Stein

What’s going to happen after our local economy mostly reopens? Everybody has a prediction, but nobody knows for sure. We can only guess how things will play out during the rest of this year and the next. Your guesses are actually valuable. Organize them to help you think through high, medium and low future scenarios. Then, create strategies for each scenario so you’re well prepared for an uncertain future. Here’s how to do it.

Think in three time periods—we’ll use Red Phase for the time we’re in Shelter-in-Place (SIP), Yellow Phase for an Assessment period and Green Phase for the New Future. Think about each of these time periods and plan your company’s actions based on an Optimistic, Read more

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