It's that time of year: Outdoor concerts, movie nights in the park, and the holiest of summer traditions: the home improvement project. If you're like me, you leave the big jobs to the pros, but how do you know which companies you can trust? Should I take my chances on Google, ask my neighbors who they use, or just go with the most eye-catching ad I find?
HomeAdvisor  makes it easy for you. The Golden-based company connects homeowners with home improvement professionals ranging from architects to landscapers, and everything in between. But the site also makes sure that each service provider has been through rigorous criminal and background checks, so you don't have to worry about who's entering your home.
Here's how it works: Just put in the parameters of your search—where you live and what type of service you need—then you'll be asked a few questions to ensure they have a pro that matches your request. HomeAdvisor will provide four matches based on availability, ratings, and location. Once your request is processed, your information is sent to the selected pros so that they can get in contact with you. (Or, if you prefer, you can contact them at your convenience.)
The site lists more than 2,000 service provider listings in the Denver area, along with 22,00o ratings from homeowners who have actually been connected with the businesses they review. You can also use the site's Cost Guide  to learn what others are paying for similar projects. And, with the company's Home911 smartphone app , you'll never be unprepared for emergencies. The app offers dozens of categories (like carpet cleaning, garage door repair, and handyman services) and suggests companies and contractors that can save you time and money. The best part: It's all free.
—Image courtesy of HomeAdvisor