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GoodHire Review

Best for Small Businesses

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

After much research and analysis, we recommend GoodHire as our 2019 pick for the best background check service for small businesses. 

One bad hire can negatively impact a small business, and the effects can be felt for years. Because of this, small business owners must take the proper precautions in vetting potential employees before making a hiring decision. Many owners choose to incorporate pre-employment background checks into their hiring process.

Since small businesses don't typically hire as quickly as large corporations, they can benefit from the use of a background check company that doesn't require any monthly minimums or screening commitments. Agencies, like GoodHire, cater to small businesses by charging affordable rates on a per-report basis. The reports should be accessible via an online portal, for ease of access for both the employer and potential employee.

When seeking a pre-employment screening company, it is critical that small business owners find an agency that is FCRA compliant. Compliance certifies that the background checks can be used for pre-employment screening specifically, which protects your business from a lawsuit.

GoodHire fulfills all of these requirements and more. It is a transparent, affordable company that caters to the needs of small businesses. It offers customizable services for nearly every industry, specializing in construction, healthcare, nonprofit, retail, staffing and technology industries.

To understand how we selected our best picks, you can view our methodology and a comprehensive list of background check services on our best picks page.

With GoodHire, small businesses can choose from three different background check plans, as well as add-on services that can be tacked on to each package. Background checks can be ordered one at a time, and you do not have to purchase a minimum amount. Here is a breakdown of the various plans:

  • Cost: $29.99 per report
  • Searches: A Social Security number trace, a national criminal database search and a sex offender registry check
  • Average turnaround time: 1 business day
  • Cost: $54.99 per report
  • Searches: A Social Security number trace, a national criminal database search, a sex offender registry check, a domestic terrorist watch list check and a county criminal court check. County searches are conducted in person
  • Average turnaround time: 1 to 3 business days
  • Cost: $79.99 per report
  • Searches: A Social Security number trace, a national criminal database search, a sex offender registry check, a domestic terrorist watch list check, an in-person county criminal court check, and employee and education verifications
  • Average turnaround time: 2 to 3 business days
  • Motor vehicle records check: $14.99 each. This check confirms whether a candidate's driver's license is valid or has been suspended, and it highlights any driving-related violations. These checks can be completed in one day.
  • Drug screening: $59.99 to $74.99 each. These tests range from a four-panel to 10-panel screening, testing for the presence of amphetamines, phencyclidine, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxyphene. Results can be obtained in one to three business days.
  • Employer verification: $14.99 each. This check verifies previous employers listed on a resume, employment dates, the position held and job titles. Completion time varies, and third-party verification fees may apply.
  • Education verification: $14.99 each. This check validates school attendance, major and degrees received. Completion time varies, and third-party verification fees may apply.
  • Professional license verification: $14.99 each. This check verifies an applicant's professional domestic license and whether the license is in good standing. Completion time varies.
  • Employment credit report: $14.99 each. This report reviews an applicant's financial history, including previous employers, bankruptcies, unpaid bills from collection agencies, credit and payment history records, and other credit inquiries made on the candidate. This check typically takes one day to complete. Your business must be legally credentialed to perform a credit check. If an on-site inspection is required, you'll be charged a one-time fee of $74.99. Credentialing can take three to five days to complete.
  • International checks: These reports start at $14.99 and vary in price depending on the country you are searching. If you have a job candidate who works in the U.S. but has an international background, GoodHire will analyze international criminal records databases, in addition to verifying one's education history and previous employers. Completion time varies.
  • Healthcare sanctions: Costs range from $4.99 to $8.99 each. If you run a healthcare business, this report ensures a potential worker isn't barred from participating in any federally funded healthcare programs, isn't included on any state Medicaid exclusion lists or state abuse registries, or has faced state board disciplinary actions. This check is typically completed in one to three business days.
  • Ongoing alerts: $2.50 per employee, per month. This report runs ongoing monthly follow-up checks after an employee is hired.

Free adverse action and U.S.-based customer support is included with every order. Custom packages and volume-based pricing is available upon request.

Editor's NoteLooking for information on background check services? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

Running background checks with GoodHire is very simple. The entire process is completed online via the company's website. Before you start conducting background checks, a one-time verification is conducted to confirm your business is legitimate.

Verification requires you to provide your company name, address, employer identification number and state of incorporation. You may also be asked, depending on the state you are located in, for your business license. The verification process typically takes one day.

Once verification is complete, you log in to the system to start purchasing background checks. To run a check, you provide the candidate's name, date of birth, Social Security number and address. When ordering employment and education verifications, details about those organizations and institutions are also needed.

In accordance with federal background check laws, GoodHire requires a signed consent form from the candidate before starting a search. You can get this either on your own or with the e-consent option, which lets candidates electronically sign the form.

GoodHire sends email notifications as each phase of a background check is completed. This allows you to review the report as it proceeds, without waiting until it is finalized to review everything at once. 

We found GoodHire's background check reports to be easy to read and navigate. With each report, you are shown an overview page with details on the candidate and the searches being conducted.

On the left-hand side of the report is a list of each individual check being conducted. Next to each type of search, there is either a blue circle with a thumbs up, indicating that nothing negative was found, or a yellow circle with an exclamation mark, indicating a status alert that should be reviewed. You can click on each check to review the details of what was found, such as when the incident occurred, whether the candidate pled guilty, the sentencing information and the severity of the offense. You can view sample reports on the GoodHire website.

In addition to manually clicking on each search, you can have the system walk you through each step to ensure you don't miss anything important. There is a review tool at the top of the page that you can click through to see each item that has a status alert. After reviewing each item, you can click OK if the alert will not affect your hiring decision. The item is then marked in blue with a thumbs up.

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 his or her chances of being hired. You also have the option of printing out final reports or saving them to your computer. All reports are saved in the online portal.

Among 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 multiple occasions posing as a new small business owner interested in background check services.

During each of our calls, the GoodHire customer service reps answered all of our questions clearly and in enough detail to leave us with a complete understanding of what GoodHire offers and how its system works.

What we really liked about GoodHire was that at no time did any of the customer service representatives try to pressure us into immediately signing up for the service. Unlike with some of the other background check companies we talked to, these representatives seemed more interested in making sure our questions were answered than in landing a sale right then and there.

GoodHire support is available by phone, email and live chat between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday. Additionally, the company's website provides customers with a several resources on background check and human resources laws, HR forms for employers, and detailed FAQs about how the system works.

GoodHire is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the official accrediting agency of the background check industry. According to the NAPBS, accredited background check providers must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the Background Screening Credentialing Council's accreditation standards. An independent third-party auditor determines compliance. Accreditation lasts for five years, after which time providers are required to repeat the process if they wish to remain accredited.

GoodHire is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). According to the BBB website, GoodHire has an A+ rating, and only three complaints have been filed against the company in the past year. (Many of the background check services we investigated were not officially accredited by the BBB.)

One downside of GoodHire is its pricing. Unlike many competitors, GoodHire charges a one-time setup fee of $49.99 to verify your business. However, if you anticipate performing multiple background checks, this fee could be justified. The agency offers packages that are on a par with what other services in the industry charge, but the wide array of customization add-ons can add up. If your business requires background reports with several add-on searches, you could be paying quite a bit more than you anticipated. If you find yourself in this position, consider contacting a representative for a customized package and pricing.

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

Editor's NoteLooking for information on background check services? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

Skye Schooley

Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. After receiving a business communication degree from Arizona State University, she spent nearly three years living in four states and backpacking through 16 countries. During her travels, Skye began her blog, which you can find at www.skyeschooley.com. She finally settled down in the Northeast, writing for business.com and Business News Daily. She primarily contributes articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviews remote PC access software and collection agencies.