How Much Does It Cost a Company to Run a Background Check?

by / ⠀Startup Advice / November 20, 2020
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There’s no standard fee to run an employment background check, and most screening services charge per report. The type of searches you need completed determines the end price. Some services, such as CheckPeople, offer refunds on a case by case basis.   

There are background check service providers with bundled plans, which include a fixed number of checks and screenings you can perform. Providers that make preset screening plans available tend to offer a number of tiered options. We’ll go into the main types below.  

Premium Background Check Plans 

These are the most comprehensive, but also the most expensive plans. They offer advanced screening. Their price is $70 per report on average. They feature basic identity verification, a sex offender registry search, and national criminal database searches. They also include employment and education verification, criminal record search on the county level, and a domestic watch list search. To cover additional account verification costs, some services charge a single setup fee. Specific checks like employment or education verification, drug screenings, and court fees might incur a third-party fee. These fees vary by provider and state. 

Standard Check Plans 

Standard screening plans are mid-level and affordable, making them perfect for small and medium businesses. They cost $45 per report on average. A standard screening will cover most of what a premium one will except for employment and education verification. 

Basic Check Plans 

These low-cost plans will only confirm a candidate’s identity via social security number trace and the presence or absence of a criminal record. You can expect to pay around $20 per report. Many screening services don’t list their prices on their websites because you can combine different types of screenings. If this is what you want, it’s best to get in touch with the company for a quote.

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Bulk Discounts 

You might be eligible for a discount if your business performs background checks as part of recruitment and you order many screenings a year. The actual checks and costs per plan will differ depending on the provider. The values above are average. 

The Importance of a Reliable Background Check 

More companies find red flags than you may believe. According to a study from 2018, almost a quarter of employers reported that a check revealed embellished credentials, and 84% found false information on a job application or resume. 

Deciding on the Right Screening 

Some background check services are specialized or more limited in what they offer. Others have a large selection of background checks covering a number of different industries. A standard screening will suffice in the majority of cases. An exception is the transport industry. If you’re hiring for a transport company, you’ll need a broader look at applicants’ driving records. Another exception is the healthcare industry, where additional search types will often be in order.

When selecting a provider, ask the service if it has the capacity to perform all of the screenings your company requires.

Choose an Accredited Service 

Always make sure your service of choice is accredited. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners gives screening providers the opportunity to take part in a special program for screening agency accreditation. This program is highly revered as participating companies adhere to the strictest guidelines. The main areas in which the program reviews screening services include legal compliance, consumer protection, client education, verification service standards, researcher and data product standards, and general business practices. 

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Eliminating a Candidate Based on a Background Check 

Are companies allowed to eliminate a candidate if a criminal history check turns up a record on them? Only if the activity is related to their future job tasks. A recent DUI ticket would be a valid reason to disqualify someone applying to be a truck driver, while a speeding ticket from two decades ago would not. 

About The Author

Becca Williams

Becca Williams is the editor of