If you've ever used Craigslist before (and who hasn't?) then you know it can be amazingly useful for some things and a terrible waste of time for others. If you're a small business looking for an accountant or the best and cheapest way to outsource your HR, for example, then Craigslist might be asking for trouble.

Austin-based startup BidModo is launching a public beta today that hopes to simplify this process for small businesses and provide them with better information to make better decisions, instead of simply relying on word of mouth referrals.

BidModo is a bit like the offspring of Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and Craigslist, but much shinier. In reality, comparing it to Craigslist is a bit of a disservice, as it offers so much more than text classified ads and email responses.

Instead of just putting an ad out there and getting back simple replies, the responses come from registered companies and are organized on a dashboard. Each company has an on-site profile, containing contact information, a company history, provided services, previous clients, certificates and licenses, and a list of references. Each company also has a rating card, which shows how that business rates with its clients on ten different characteristics, from bid timeliness to industry knowledge.

If you've ever used something like Craigslist, then you realize how hard, or even impossible, getting all of this information would be. You would practically need to hire a private investigator.

For end users - those posting the job - the service is entirely free and provides the user with information about bidders, vendor ratings and a dashboard comparing bids. Vendors only pay for selected leads. A vendor dashboard provides information on ROI, monthly sales data, ratings feedback and industry stats. And part of BidModo's focus is on local business, so service requests only come from the region, which is something we think people, wherever they are, will stand behind.

"Prior to BidModo, I ran a video production company," said founder Toby Schwartz in a press release. "I would regularly hear of companies in town turning to New York or San Francisco to hire for their video needs. And I can't tell you how many times I'd meet people in Austin who would comment that they wished they knew I was here."

Currently, BidiModo is live nationally, with over 80 cities and connections in more than 100 different categories.