Basic computer and office skills are pretty much the only requirements needed to start a background check business. Familiarity with the court systems and procedures will be an asset.
In the beginning you may want to only work in your local area, but by having access to the Internet you can expand to any state in the United States.
Generally you do not need to have a license or be certified to do this type of work, but it's best to check with your state government and make sure.
This is a business that can be conducted entirely by using the fax, Internet, and phone.
The majority of our court systems now have criminal records available online. These records are considered public information. The court websites will require you to agree not to use the information in any way to harm or harass the subject of your search.
Most Civil, Circuit, General District, and Traffic Court records are available. You will not be able to access Juvenile or Domestic case records or information.
Case records online usually only go back seven years, so if you need records before that point, you will have to either visit the court or pay fees to acquire an extended record. You should include these costs in the fee you collect from your client.
The courts usually charge a very small fee for copies of actual records. If you do not need an actual copy, you can provide the information your client requires on a form. Create professional business cards and a very professional letter of introduction that you will send to potential clients. You also need to create a contract for your clients to sign, agreeing on the fees charged. How your client receives the information should be included in the initial agreement.
Set your fees so that they are similar to what others in the business are charging. This may be a per city, per county, or a general per subject fee. Adjust your rates according to the extent of your research. Check your local area and find out what others are charging.
The information you receive from your client on the subject should include the previous addresses for the number of years the client wants done. You may have to also check other cities, counties, or states, so set your fees accordingly. Consider setting a flat monthly rate for any business that will have several requests per month.