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The Best Background Check Companies of 2021

By
Skye Schooley
,
Business News Daily Staff
| Updated
Aug 13, 2019

We researched and analyzed the best background check services for small businesses. Read our reviews and discover which service is right for you.
Best for Small Businesses
GoodHire
Cost: $29.99 to $79.99
Best for Very Small Businesses
AccurateNow
Cost: $29.95 to $74.95
Best for Household Employers
eNannySource
Cost: $24 to $94
Best Technology
B&B Reporting Inc.
Cost: Customized for each business
We researched and analyzed the best background check services for small businesses. Read our reviews and discover which service is right for you.

Performing a background check on a potential employee can reveal important information about that person so you can make the best hiring decision for your business. Background check companies use online technology and in-person searches to discover the details of someone's past, including if they have any felony convictions, misdemeanors, etc. The results of these checks are then compiled into easy-to-read reports.

Many background check companies offer preset packages, or bundled plans, so you can conduct multiple types of searches in one plan and at one price. Many services will let you add on additional screenings; however, some offer strictly a la carte options.

There's a lot that goes into choosing a background check agency for your business: the specific searches you need, your budget and your allotted timeframe (how quickly you need the results).

To help you find the best employee background check services, we researched and analyzed several companies. Our top recommendations for background check services are below, but to learn more about the ins and outs of pre-employment background checks, read our guide to choosing a background check company.

Find the Right Background Check Service for Your Business

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Our Reviews

GoodHire: Best for Small Businesses

GoodHire has everything a small business could need from a background check provider, offering comprehensive reports at affordable rates. Its online portal allows users to quickly and conveniently access their background check reports in one place. GoodHire serves several industries, including construction, healthcare, nonprofits, retail, staffing and technology.

This agency offers three preset search packages. Pricewise, packages vary from $29.99 to $79.99 per check. The searches performed in each plan are tiered, with the most advanced package including a Social Security number trace (and associated counties, if applicable), national criminal databases search, sex offender list search, domestic watch list search, a county criminal court search (which examines the past seven years), education verification and employer verification. Users can add on extra searches, such as professional license verification, employment credit report checks, drug screenings, healthcare sanctions checks and motor vehicle records checks.

GoodHire has a one-time setup fee; it does not hold you to a monthly minimum. Background checks take, on average, one to four days to complete, which is in keeping with industry standards.

Registering your account with GoodHire is a simple process. After your business is verified, you can order as many or as few screenings as you need. Reports can be viewed in GoodHire's online portal. GoodHire is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Read GoodHire Review

AccurateNow: Best for Very Small Businesses

AccurateNow, a division of Accurate Background, offers affordable background check services and caters to small businesses. Its low rates, pay-as-you-go plans and no monthly minimums make it ideal for owners of very small business owners to use for pre-employment screenings. AccurateNow offers background checks for virtually any type of industry available.

It offers three tiered plans. Costs range from $29.95 per report for the Basic plan up to $74.95 per report for the Premium plan. The Premium plan includes a Social Security number trace and address history check, current county criminal search, national criminal check with county verification, national sex offender registry search, global watch search, one education verification and one employment verification. You can add supplementary searches for additional fees. These searches include professional license verification, motor vehicle reports, education and employment verification, and federal criminal searches.

AccurateNow has a one-time setup fee ($25), and each plan is subject to additional fees like county and state statutory fees, international searches and third-party verification fees. (These fees are standard with background check services and should be expected when you conduct certain types of checks and within certain states, counties, etc.)

After your account is approved by the agency, you can begin ordering screenings. AccurateNow has mobile-friendly candidate and recruiter portals, and the background check reports are easy to read and evaluate. AccurateNow is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Read AccurateNow Review

eNannySource: Best for Household Employers

eNannySource is an online platform for people to screen caregivers and nannies, as well as household employees. Although eNannySource is not a service one would use for pre-employment screening in the business sense, it is a great resource for people looking to hire workers in their homes. eNannySource takes extra measures with its background checks to assure you of the character of the household employee you are considering hiring.

The mobile-friendly platform offers three plans, which range from $24 to $94. The searches performed for each plan vary, with the most comprehensive plan searching more than 300 million national criminal records. In addition, it conducts a Social Security number trace, national sex offender registry search, county court records search for the most recent county the individual has lived in, additional county court records for prior counties where the employee has resided, a national alias search, and a driving record report. There are some search stipulations; for example, New York searches cost an additional $95, and a driving record report is unavailable for Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

eNannySource background checks are highly customizable ‒ you can tack on supplemental searches (additional fees apply). These include county court record searches, reference checks, degree verification, driving record reports and personality assessments. Turnaround times are typically two to three days, and eNannySource simplifies the process by obtaining the candidate's consent and returning results via email. eNannySource advises that, while basic database checks are good preliminary screening tools, they should always be used in conjunction with county court record checks.

Read eNannySource Review

B&B Reporting Inc.: Best Technology

B&B Reporting Inc. offers a variety of background check services and verifications for small and medium businesses. We recommend this agency for businesses that require the most up-to-date technology used to conduct background checks.

B&B Reporting Inc. does not offer plans. Instead, it offers multiple checks and screenings, which you then mix and match together for the background check you'd like conducted. The agency does not list its pricing on its website; instead, you must contact a representative for a price quote. Available screenings include multijurisdictional criminal searches, county criminal searches, statewide criminal searches and federal criminal searches.

Supplemental verifications include public records searches, professional reference checks, employment and education verification, motor vehicle records check, license and professional certification verification, and employment credit checks.

B&B Reporting Inc. has an intuitive online portal. The software is easy to use and has more than 2,000 configuration options to support the needs of many types of businesses. The average turnaround time for a report is 48 hours or less. B&B Reporting is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

Read B&B Reporting Inc. Review

FAQs

Q: What are employee background check services?

A: Employee background check services are screenings conducted and reported on primarily for pre-employment purposes. Turnaround times typically range between one and five days, and the scope of each search varies in detail, depending on what information needs to be recovered about your prospective employee. Employee background check agencies offer their services via preset plans or customizable searches.

Common background check searches include:

  • Social Security number traces and address validations
  • Misdemeanor and felony criminal records searches at the county, state and national levels
  • Sex offender registry searches
  • Civil records checks

Common supplemental searches include:

  • Employment verification
  • Education verification
  • Professional license verification
  • Motor vehicle records
  • Employment credit reports
  • Reference checks
  • Military records verifications
  • Workers' compensation history searches
  • Healthcare sanction checks
  • Drug screenings

 

Q: How much does an employee background check service typically cost?

A: The price varies based on which screenings you require. Many agencies offer bundled plans that range from basic to premium. Basic plans typically cost between $15 and $30 per report, and include basic criminal and identity verification like Social Security number trace, national criminal database searches and sex offender registry searches. Standard, or midlevel, plans range from $30 to $60 per report and typically search for everything in the basic plan in addition to a domestic watch list search and a county criminal court search that searches the past seven years. Premium plans typically cost between $60 and $80 per report and search for everything in a standard plan, plus education and employment verifications. The exact cost and records searched will vary based on the provider you choose.

Most background check providers offer supplemental searches for an additional cost. Be prepared to pay third-party fees (e.g., transcript fees) and associated court fees, which often vary by state. Some background check providers charge one-time setup fees, ranging between $25 and $50 for account verification.

Q: How quickly can you expect results from a great background check service?

A: The standard turnaround time for a background check is typically one to five days per report. Some agencies claim to provide results instantly, but these are typically less comprehensive and less accurate. Verify with the agency you select that it (and its reports) complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Many background check companies will list their average turnaround time on their website, and some even go so far as to list the specific turnaround time for each individual service. If turnaround time is critical for your business, contact the agency for an estimate.

Q. Can online background check services be used for pre-employment screening?

A: Many of the online background check services available can be used for pre-employment screening, but they must meet the FCRA guidelines. Many of the online platforms that claim to provide instant results do not meet these guidelines, and, therefore, cannot be used for pre-employment screening.

If you are using the information uncovered in background checks to make hiring decisions, again, the agency (and its processes) must comply with the FCRA. We recommend that you go one step further and use an agency that is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS); agencies that are accredited abide by strict guidelines.

Using an agency for employment purposes that doesn't comply with FCRA guidelines can result in a lawsuit for your business and fines.

 

Our Previous Best Picks

At Business News Daily, we are dedicated to finding the best services and products for your small business. We understand that your time is valuable; therefore, we invest dozens of hours into researching and testing the best background check services, so you don't have to. 

We strive to keep our reviews up to date. Each year when we update our reviews, we report on new industry changes. In addition, we evaluate any new services.

In addition to our recommendations this year, below are two companies we previously selected as best picks:

Our Methodology

To determine the best background check services in 2019, we researched and analyzed several companies. Here is an explanation of our selection process.

Locating the Best Services

We began our search with an initial list of more than 150 background check services. Some of these companies we found through online searches, and some were agencies that reached out to us asking to be considered.

Choosing the Best Services

After some initial research, we narrowed our list based on whether the agency had a focus on small businesses and if its features were small business-friendly. We ultimately settled on 15 services to consider as best picks: AccurateNow, AccuSource, B&B Reporting, Inc., Background Screeners of America, BackgroundReport.com, Backgroundchecks.com, Comprehensive Screening Solutions, Corra Group, Employment Record Service, GoodHire, HireRight, InfoCheckUSA, Intelifi, Justifacts and Sterling.

Researching Each Service

Next, we researched each provider, investigating its services, reviewing sample background check reports, reading user comments and interviewing small business owners. We also considered pricing. After narrowing the list further, we contacted each company's customer service department, posing as a small business owner.

Analyzing Each Service

For each review ‒ including this one ‒ we put ourselves in the shoes of small business owners and gathered data that would be readily available to such individuals. We visited company websites, read online reviews and made calls to customer service representatives. If some services had live chat on their website, we tested their live chat support. We analyzed each service based cost, types of criminal searches conducted, ease of use, how easy the reports are to access and understand, how long searches take, Better Business Bureau complaints, National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) accreditation and compliance with the FCRA.

Methodology for Household Employer Services

For household employer services, we used a similar methodology but only for those services that stated they cater to household employers. The finalists we considered included Background Checks for Nannies, Childcare Background Search, eNannySource, GoNannies, HireSafe and NannyVerify.

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Business News Daily Staff
Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. She received a business communication degree from Arizona State University and spent a few years traveling internationally, before finally settling down in the greater New York City area. She currently writes for business.com and Business News Daily, primarily contributing articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviewing categories such as remote PC access software, collection agencies, background check services, web hosting, reputation management services, cloud storage, and website design software and services.
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