After much research and analysis, we recommend GoodHire as our 2019 pick for the best background check service for small businesses. 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.
GoodHire offers three levels of background checks, has an easy-to-use online portal and provides outstanding customer service. GoodHire's background checks cost between $29.99 and $79.99.
Services and Cost
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
- Includes: A Social Security number trace, a national criminal database search and a sex-offender list check.
- Average completion time: 1 business day
- Cost: $54.99 per report
- Includes: A Social Security number trace, a national criminal database search, a sex-offender list check, a domestic terrorist watch-list check and a seven-year county criminal court check. County searches are conducted in-person.
- Average completion time: 1 to 3 business days
- Cost: $79.99 per report
- Includes: A Social Security number trace, a national criminal database search, a sex-offender list check, a domestic terrorist watch list check, a seven-year in-person county criminal court check, and employee and education verifications
- Average completion time: 2 to 3 business days
- Motor vehicle records check: $14.99 each. Confirms whether a candidate's driver's license is valid or has been suspended, and highlights any driving-related violations. Can be completed in 1 day.
- Drug screening: $59.99 to $74.99 each. Tests for the use of amphetamines, phencyclidine, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxyphene. Can be completed in 1 to 3 business days.
- Employment verification: $19.99 each. Verifies employers listed on a resume, employment dates, the position held and salaries. Completion time varies.
- Education verification: $19.99 each. Validates school attendance, major and degrees received. Completion time varies.
- Professional license verification: $14.99 each. Verifies an applicant's professional license and whether the license is in good standing. Completion time varies.
- Employment credit report: $14.99 each. Reviews financial history, including notifications of civil judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, unpaid bills from collection agencies, credit and payment history records, and other credit inquiries made on the candidate. Can be completed in 1 day.
- International checks: Starting at $14.99 vary by country. Searches for international criminal records as well as education and employer verifications for candidates who are working in the U.S. but have an international background. Completion time varies.
- Health care sanctions: Range from $4.99 to $8.99 each. Ensures medical workers aren't barred from participating in any federally funded health care programs, aren't included on any state Medicaid exclusion lists, and aren't included on any state board disciplinary actions sources and state abuse registries. Can be completed in 1 to 3 business days.
- Ongoing alerts: $2.50 per employee, per month. Run ongoing monthly follow up checks after employees are hired.
All of the prices drop by 10 percent when purchasing between 50 and 250 screenings and 20 percent when buying between 251 and 500 checks.
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Ease of Use
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 topics 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 of importance. There is a review tool at the top of the page that you can click through to immediately 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.
One aspect of the system we found appealing is that there are three levels of user access: Administrator, Read and Order, and Read Only. This not only allows you to involve other people from your company in the hiring process, but it restricts the amount of access that those people have to the system.
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.
During one of our calls, the representative went as far as to walk through the sample background-check reports that are available on the GoodHire website. The rep explained details on each, including how to read and access them.
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 number of resources on background check and human resources laws, HR forms for employers, and a detailed FAQ section 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 as of July 2017, only two complaints had been filed against the company in the past three years. (Many of the background check services we investigated were not officially accredited by the BBB.)
One downside of GoodHire is that unlike many other background check services, it doesn't offer I-9 or 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. However, the company does offer identity verification through knowledgebase authentication and biometric matching. With this, GoodHire asks candidates a series of questions only the individual would know how to answer. If candidates don’t know the answer to every question, they're guided through a photo ID and biometric match flow. GoodHire's software then verifies that the ID is valid and matches the photo of the candidate. Employers are then alerted to candidates whose identity couldn't be verified.
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 Note: Looking 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
Ready to choose a background check service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage: