Are Background Checks Expensive?

By Michael Klazema on 5/29/2019

Every business is engaged in the same balancing act of trying to minimize overhead expenses, growing revenue, and maximizing profits. One area in which expenses are often unpredictable is hiring. It’s impossible to know for sure how long it will take to fill a vacant position or how much it will cost in headhunter expenses, job postings, or simply lost productivity.

Avoiding extra expenses throughout the hiring process is a priority, which is why questions such as “Are background checks expensive?” or “How expensive are background checks?” tend to emerge.

You get what you pay for when you invest in background checks. If you Google search “free background checks,” you will find no shortage of results for your query—but free background checks are flawed. These checks often involve searches of incomplete or rarely-updated databases and never involve direct searches at local courts. If you want a thorough background check, you will have to pay for it.

Background checks cost money because tracking down current, reliable data isn’t free. To conduct a county criminal history search, for instance, you might need someone on the ground who can go to the local courthouse in the county in question to access relevant records. To check someone’s employment or education history, someone will need to directly contact colleges, universities, and past employers to verify resume information. These services take time and effort, which is why background checks can seem expensive.

It’s important to consider the potential cost of not conducting a background check. When employers fret about “expensive background checks,” they are thinking about the upfront cost. They may not be conducting a full cost-benefit analysis or even considering the scenarios that may stem from skipping or skimping on background checks.

Say you don’t run a background check and miss an embezzlement conviction on a candidate’s record, and that candidate steals hundreds of thousands of dollars from your company. Say you overlook a candidate’s history of violent crimes only for that person to hurt or kill one of your customers.

In either case, the cost of skipping that background check is potentially the destruction of your business. Background checks reduce the threat of employee theft or fraud, protect your customers, prevent negligent hiring lawsuits, preserve your company’s reputation, and much more. You can’t put a price on these protections, and their value far outweighs the costs of background checks—even expensive background checks.

“Are background checks expensive?” is still a valid question for any business to ask. Keeping overhead low is a priority and knowing how much you are spending on pre-employment screenings is smart. At, we clearly listing pricing for every type of background check that we offer. We also offer volume pricing to make background checks more affordable for businesses that conduct multiple checks each month.

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