Are You Really Saving Money with that Cheap Background Check?

We get it; the need to save money on every line item is very real for small business owners. That survival instinct for penny-pinching kicks in whenever making every business decision, including pre-employment background checks for new hires. We applaud you for not skipping the background check entirely, a choice that, sadly, many small businesses make. Still, before you choose the cheapest vendor, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the hidden costs of cut-rate employment background screening services. 

How Do Background Check Vendors Save Money?

There are only a few ways your background check vendor can save money. Their options include the following:

  • No calls. Lots of records can be checked digitally online, including court records, professional references, and motor vehicle reports. It’s totally possible to complete some background checks solely on the computer. However, picking up the phone will often speed up the process and is sometimes essential to verifying certain types of information. Many background check vendors have a “no-call” or “limited call” policy to save money and offer a low price so that turnaround times will be slow, and some searches will come back unverifiable. 
  • Database only searches. Here’s an important truth to remember: there is no such thing as a national database containing every criminal record. Many companies tout database searches as a valuable selling point, but they are using a database created to run background checks. These databases are rarely up to date, often miss critical data, and regularly contain old info that shouldn’t be reported. Doing an indexed name search of these artificial databases yields far from ideal results. 

While it takes more time and effort, accurate, reliable results can only be obtained by going to the primary sources for criminal records, some of which are searchable online. However, many still require a phone call to access. 

  • Incomplete services. In order to cut costs, some inexpensive vendors don’t include a full complement of services, meaning that your HR department will have to make up the slack in order to get a complete report. Are you saving any money if you have to pay your team to check employment references or do other checks?

Go with a Pro

Rather than looking for the cheapest background check, go with a vendor specializing in small business background screenings. These vendors will bring their expertise and economies of scale to the table, allowing you to get the high-quality screens you need at a price you can afford.