Trade and civic organizations are organizations of certain kinds of merchants, or of merchants and professionals who all belong to a nationally recognized organization that sets standards for the types of work they do or products they sell. Most health-care providers, for example, have state and county professional boards that might be able to match you with a provider. This is the case with many other service providers as well.
Communities also have Better Business Bureaus, which businesses may join if they wish to build their reputation in the community. Listings of these kinds of organizations can be easily found in the public library or on the Internet. They are a good starting point if you are new to the community and need to find professional services or sources of products. The Better Business Bureau also puts out its A to Z Buying Guide which gives excellent guidelines for informed shopping. The Bureau fills the important role of processing any complaints that may come in about one of its members.
Nearly all communities, large and small, run consumer help bureaus and complaint offices, most with significant online presence. Their task is to help you sort the good from the bad. They can be excellent resources if you are new in the community.
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