Helpful Tips in Choosing a Background Check Company

June 9th, 2014 by Dodie


A background check of a prospective tenant or employee can be somewhat intimidating, but a necessary precaution considering the implications of not doing so. Choosing a reputable background check company will put your mind at ease. However, locating the right company can be a daunting task. Before beginning an on-line search, check with friends and business associates to obtain referrals. This is just a start; there are many more things to consider when choosing a service provider.

  • The company used must be in compliance with the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). Not only is the employer or landlord subject to the FCRA; when using a third-party background company, it should also adhere to these regulations.
  • Verify the company’s reputation by checking with the Better Business Bureau for customer complaints. In addition, conduct an online search for complaints and reviews.
  • Do not rely solely on the company’s on-line website. Call the company and speak to a customer service representative in order to get a feel of its overall client service expertise. Confirm how long the company has been in business. Ask if their client list is public or if referrals are available, and if upper staff are available for questions if needed.
  • Inquire about specific procedures. For example, are they checking court records or primarily using databases?

Have the same investigative attitude about choosing a service provider that you expect for them to have when performing tenant and employment screenings on your behalf. Research several companies by obtaining quotes from each and consider everything, not only their prices.

  • Suspect that when prices are too low, then most likely the services are not all-inclusive. Determine what background screening information is important to your company. Clarify if the charges are a la carte or if the most critical services are bundled. For example, is a credit report part of the basic services?
  • Hire a company that is tailor-made for your business needs. Make sure that they are invested in your company as a client, not just another sale to make.
  • What is the typical response time that your firm is comfortable with? Beware of false statements regarding how quickly a servicer can get back to you because there are several things that may impact turnaround time such as electronic access to court documents.

Criminal checks for tenant screening and for prospective employees is a critical component of any background check. Some companies only check criminal databases on a national level and exclude a local database check. These companies should be avoided.

Finally, understand that as a prospective landlord or employer, you are ultimately responsible for making the best choices and will have the liability when wrong decisions are made based on faulty information. Therefore, it is critical to do your homework on any prospective background service provider, and to make sure that you are aware and up-to-date on external laws and information that will impact your business goals.

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