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What do background check services cost?

What do background check services cost?

Background check services vary greatly in the scope of the investigation carried out and can cost anywhere from $15 to several thousand dollars depending on the information required and the location. If international or investigative searches are needed then costs can spiral.

The main factor affecting cost is the number of searches required. A standard background search that includes the subject’s name and any aliases, social security number, address history, state criminal records, prior employment records, vehicle registrations, professional licenses, property ownership, bankruptcies, tax liens and judgments, and corporate affiliations costs between $100 and $200. This type of search is generally more than adequate for employment screening. In addition, some background check services also offer updated monthly background monitoring for an additional fee.


Many companies advertise similar services for as little as $40 to $60 but the quality of the information received may not be as thorough or as accurate. Although the physical cost of each search is quite low, you are also paying for the time spent searching by the background check services company, and the links they have established with providers of public records.

You can generally get a better price on your background search by ordering all searches from one company and combining several searches into one background check.

Alternatively, if your company frequently uses background check services you should be able to negotiate a discount.

If you’re paying for individual checks, criminal or otherwise, the following price guide should help:

A ten year address and Social Security number history costs about $30.

  • County criminal checks cost between $20 and $60 depending on the county. The search covers records for the previous seven years.
  • State criminal checks can cost anything between $20 and $160 depending on state and also cover seven years.
  • Federal criminal checks can cost between $25 and $180.
  • A nationwide search for bankruptcy information, liens and judgments costs between $20 and $70. The results should include a summary of all listings and the city they were filed in.
  • A search across all states for a listing of the subject as a business owner or officer costs between $20 and $60.
  • A nationwide property search covering all states an individual has lived in costs $20-60.
  • State driving records cost between $15 and $35.
  • Marriage and divorce record searches cost between $10 and $40.

Be wary of any services that seem too cheap to be true - they may use databases that are out of date, retrieve records without any further investigation or fail to check identifications thoroughly - all of which may lead to false results. Where background check services are concerned, you really do get what you pay for.