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The Background on Background Check Costs

Background check

One of the many big decisions employers make is hiring a new employee. And, just like other big decisions, it can cost a significant amount of time and money if it is not done correctly. Many employers consider one of the best ways to maximize the chances of hiring correctly is running a background check.

Pre-employment background checks supply critical information that help employers make informed decisions about whether the applicant is a good fit for their company. And while this often means considerable savings in the long run, some employers hesitate because of the short-term costs; namely, the cost of conducting the background check. What they often don’t realize is that any upfront costs are minimal compared to the high costs associated with onboarding and training someone who ultimately is not a good fit. Or in worst case scenarios, threatens the security of the business itself or the safety of those involved.

So, we thought it was a good time to give some background on background check costs.


How much does a background check cost?


There is no standard fee for conducting background checks because each one is different. Simply, background check costs depends on the type of services the employer wants included. Those services could include criminal record searches, employment verifications, education verifications, identity checks, and a variety of other services. What types of searches performed are entirely up to the employer, and, of course, the costs will vary based on the specific services requested. Many of the costs are minimal, where others that are more time-consuming and comprehensive cost more.


What about package pricing?


Most background check providers realize there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to background checks. As such, they work with their clients to come up with a package of services that best fits their needs. In doing so, they often offer package pricing. Similar to individual services though, the cost depends on what specific services are packaged together.

Generally, there are basic packages that may include only an identity check and a basic criminal search, standard packages that often include the basic plus a county criminal search or other service, and a premium package that would be far more comprehensive based on the employer’s needs. The costs associated with each would increase depending on the level of the package.


What are access fees?


Access fees are those fees charged by counties and states to “access” criminal or Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records in their jurisdiction. If incurred, access fees are an additional cost of the background check, whether the employer has requested a single service or a package of services.

These fees also range greatly depending on the state or county charging them. Currently, they range from as low as $1.00 to as high as $98.00, but new ones are added continuously, and older ones are changed, so it’s important to stay updated.

A common misconception is that background check providers are charging access fees. In contrast, all they are doing is passing the fees along that they’ve already incurred in conducting the services requested.


Are there any other fees?


For background check companies, there are costs associated with setting up a new client, just as there are in any business. These costs are generally associated with credentialing—a process to confirm that the new client has a permissible purpose to run a background check, as required by the FCRA. Background check providers often charge a setup fee to cover these costs.

Further, in some instances, there may be third-party fees that are passed along for certain verifications, drug screenings, and international checks.


Staying informed is always important, especially when it comes to what you’re paying and why in making the best decisions for your company. Hire Image strives to be your trusted background screening resource. If you have any questions about your own background or drug screening processes, please contact us.

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