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GoodHire Review: Best Background Check Service for Very Small Business

After much research and analysis of employee background check services, we recommend GoodHire as the best background check service for very small businesses. We chose GoodHire from a pool of the dozens of background check services we considered. To read our full methodology and for a more comprehensive list of background check services, visit our best picks roundup page here. If you're still trying to get an understanding of what kind of background check service you need, check out our guide on how to choose a background check service

GoodHire offers three levels of background checks that can be purchased on an individual basis. It has an easy-to-use online portal and provides outstanding customer service.

Out of all of the background check services we examined, GoodHire had some of the most affordable prices for the services provided. The company offers three different background check plans, as well as add-on services that can be tacked on to each package.

What makes GoodHire so appealing to very small businesses is that background checks can be ordered one at a time and there is no minimum amount that must be purchased. Here is a breakdown of the company's plans:

Basic

  • Cost: $29.99 per report:
  • Includes: A social security number trace and address locator for that social security number, a national criminal database search and a sex-offender list check. 

Standard

  • Cost: $54.99 per report
  • Includes: A social security number trace and address locator for that social security number, a national criminal database search, a sex-offender list check, a domestic terrorist watchlist check and a seven-year county criminal court check for up to three counties. (County court searches are conducted in person.)

Premium

  • Cost: $79.99 per report
  • Includes: A social security number trace and address locator for that social security number, a national criminal database search, a sex-offender list check, a domestic terrorist watchlist check, a seven-year county criminal court check for up to three counties, and employee and education verifications. (County court searches are conducted in person.)

Add-on services

  • Motor vehicle records check: $14.99 each
  • Drug screening: $59.99 to $74.99 each. Test for the use of amphetamines, phencyclidine, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxyphene.
  • Employment credit reports: $14.99 each. GoodHire representatives call the employers listed on a resume to verify employment dates, the position candidates held and their salaries.
  • Education verification: $14.99 each. This validates school attendance, major and degrees received. 
  • Professional license verification: $14.99 each. Verifies an applicant's professional license and whether the license is in good standing.
  • Global terrorist watchlist check: $14.99 each. This is an expanded most-wanted search to international criminal and terrorist databases.

Unlike many of the other services we examined, GoodHire does not charge a registration or set-up fee. The company also offers a discount to businesses that purchase background checks in bulk. If you purchase between five and 10 background checks, the cost per report drops by 5 percent, and if you buy between 25 and 50 background checks, there is a 10 percent discount.

Editor’s Note: Looking for a background check service? Fill out the form below to get free quotes from our vendor partners.

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We were impressed with how upfront and transparent GoodHire is with its pricing. While many of the other companies we analyzed required you to call for pricing details, GoodHire has all of its costs listed on its website. In addition, the website features a volume discount calculator to help you determine how much you can save by purchasing a bulk amount of background checks at one time.

Running background checks with GoodHire is very simple. After purchasing reports via the company's website, a one-time verification of your business is conducted to confirm your business is legitimate. In order to verify it, you must provide GoodHire with your company name, address, employer identification number and state of incorporation. You may also be asked, depending on the state you live in, for your business license. The verification process typically takes about one day.

Once your company is verified, you can log in to the system through the GoodHire website. When requesting a criminal background check, you provide GoodHire with the candidate's name, date of birth, Social Security number and address. When ordering employment and education verifications, the details about those topics are also needed.

In order to ensure you're complying with federal background check laws, GoodHire requires that a consent to conduct the check be obtained from the potential employee. GoodHire can handle that process for you with its e-consent option. You provide the job seeker's email address, and GoodHire sends the candidate a link to an online consent form to read and digitally sign. You also have the option of getting the candidate's consent on your own. However, doing so may delay how long it takes to get your final report, as the company must confirm that the consent provides the appropriate authorizations before starting the background check process.

Once the background check is started, it usually takes less than three days to complete. The process can take up to five days if employment and education verifications are being conducted. While the background check is being conducted, GoodHire sends email notifications as each phase of the report is completed. This allows you to review the background check as it proceeds, without waiting until the end of the process to review everything at once. Not all of the other providers we analyzed offered this feature.

We found GoodHire's background check reports to be extremely easy to read and navigate. After logging in to the system and clicking on the candidate's report, you are shown an overview page with details on the candidate and the searches being conducted, as well as information on specific counties that are being checked and on employers and schools being verified.

On the left-hand side of the report is each individual check being conducted, such as county court search and sex-offender-list check. Next to each item there will either be a green box with a thumbs up, indicating nothing negative was found, or a yellow box with an exclamation mark, indicating a status alert that should be reviewed. For example, there may be an alert notice for the national criminal search. You can then scroll down the page to read details on the criminal information discovered, such as when the incident occurred, whether or not the candidate pled guilty, the sentencing information and the severity of the offense.

After conducting the search, you have the option of purchasing additional checks, such as more employment verification or further county criminal checks. 

Once you have reviewed the report, you can have it immediately sent to the candidate. This step is required by law when the information discovered could negatively affect the candidate's chances of being hired at your company. 

When you are done reviewing the background check report, you have the option of printing it out or saving it to a secure location on your computer's hard drive. All of your reports are also saved in the online portal for you to review later.

One aspect of the system we found appealing is that there are three levels of GoodHire user access: "Administrator," "Read and Order" and "Read Only." This allows you to let other people from your company in on the hiring process. The three levels of access also ensure that the amount of access that those people have to the system is restricted.

Among all of the background check services we examined, GoodHire offered some of the best customer service. To test the level of support, we called the company on several occasions, posing as a new small business owner interested in background check services.

During our initial call, the GoodHire customer service rep seemed genuinely interested in speaking with us. During our conversation, we talked about the services the company offers, how much each costs, the add-on reports, how to use the system and how to access support, should we run into any trouble. The GoodHire customer service rep took the time to answer our questions in great detail and to ensure that we understood everything he was explaining.

He also walked us through the numerous sample background check reports that are available on the GoodHire website. He explained details on each and how easy they were to read and access.

During subsequent calls, we were just as pleased with the level of support offered. We talked about many of the same topics and received the type of detailed and thorough answers we were looking for.

What we really liked about GoodHire was that at no time did any of the customer service representatives we spoke to try to pressure us into signing up for the service immediately. Unlike at some of the other background check companies we talked with, these representatives seemed more interested in making sure our questions were answered than in landing a sale right then and there. Many of the other companies' agents gave short and unclear answers, while trying to convince us to sign up for the service during our phone call.

GoodHire offers several ways for you to contact the company. In addition to email and telephone support, GoodHire provides a live-chat feature. Support is offered between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday. Additionally, the company's website provides customers with a number of resources on background check and human resources laws, provides HR forms for employers and a detailed FAQ section about how the system works.

One downside of GoodHire is that, unlike many of the other background check services we investigated, it doesn't offer i9 and E-Verify management programs. These programs help confirm a job applicant's identity and that the individual is eligible to work in the United States. If these are services you need conducted as part of your background screening process, we would encourage you to consider another background check provider.

Another potential negative is that customer service isn't available on the weekends. If you like to spend time on the weekends catching up on administrative tasks, not having someone available to help you understand your completed reports could be a problem.

Ready to choose a background check service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor’s Note: Looking for a background check service? Fill out the form below to get free quotes from our vendor partners.

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Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.