Understanding and anticipating background check fees

Our background checks have standard pricing, but there are a range of fees from third-party sources that can impact your final bill. What’s the deal with background check fees? And how can you know what to expect?

Nobody likes fees, and we certainly would prefer not to have to deal with fees ourselves, but unfortunately they exist in the employment screening industry. Our goal is to help you understand the source of background check fees and how to know whether your package is likely to incur any. 

Where do background check fees come from?

It may be helpful to zoom out a bit, and start with an overview of what exactly you’re getting from a background check partner like us. We provide you a platform that simplifies the background check process and helps keep you FCRA compliant. We are connected to thousands of data sources, but we don’t own any of the data that we deliver to you in a background check. After collecting the appropriate information and legal authorization from your applicant, we search the appropriate data sources, review and compile the data, and then return it to you in the final report.

Remember those thousands of data sources that we’re able to search for you? Sometimes the folks that have that data charge a fee to access it. Whether you go to the source directly or we go to the source on your behalf, they charge and collect these fees. We’ll share more details on common fee types and charges, but first we’ll share how we structure our pricing with fees in mind.

Why do we price fees separately?

There are a few reasons that fees are billed separately from the package prices you see listed on our website. Firstly: you pay less at the end of the day when we simply pass along any fees that are incurred. If we tried to price our services to include anticipated fees, it would require higher overall prices to account for the unpredictable nature of fees on any given order. Second: it’s consistent with the industry to not include fees in the listed price. This is good for you as a consumer as it allows you to more easily compare prices between vendors.

Does Perfect Fit mark up the fees?


Any fees incurred by the searches in your background check package will be passed along at cost, without any additional markup.

Which background check searches incur fees?

There are a number of searches that can incur a fee, but the five most common search fees include:

  • County Criminal Search
  • Driver History
  • Employment Verification
  • Education Verification
  • Statewide Criminal Search

County Criminal Search Fees

The most common fee for our customers is incurred through the County Criminal Search. It is the only search in the Standard Package (our most popular package) that has a possibility of incurring a fee. When we run a standard County Criminal Search on a candidate, we search all counties that the person has lived in during the previous seven years, and some US counties charge fees for the data. 

When should I expect County Criminal Fees?

Short answer: it depends. Specifically, it depends on which counties the candidate has lived in during the previous seven years. About 12% of counties in the US charge fees to access their county criminal records, while the other 88% have no fee. If you hire in an area where fees are charged, you can expect to see these fees frequently.

If you live in an area where fees aren’t charged, then you will likely see them less often, but there’s still a fair chance that you will encounter them occasionally. Folks move more now than ever, so even though you may be hiring for your business in a rural Texas county that doesn’t charge a fee, your candidate may still have spent a year living in New York City.

How much are County Criminal Fees?

County Criminal fees can vary widely from 75 cents all the way up to $95 for some of the boroughs and counties in the New York City area. The $95 fee is an exceptional outlier, and one worth mentioning since it can dramatically impact the total cost for a single order.

In addition to New York, some areas with notable fees ($20 or more) include: Maine, Mississippi, Vermont, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Are County Criminal Fees common in my area?

If you’d like to view a map of county fees to see if they are common in your area, you can find that here:

Driving History Fees

All states in the US charge a fee for Driving History Searches, so this one is easy to anticipate.

The average driving history fee is around $11, but it ranges from $2 in California to $27.50 in Oklahoma. You can find each state’s fee in the chart below.

Create Your Free Account

No set-up fees, no subscriptions, no contracts.

If you find our prices and service to be satisfactory, we trust that you will continue to come to us each time you need to place an order.

Call us old fashioned. That’s just how we think business should be done.

Employment Verification Fees

When should I expect an Employment Verification Fee?

Similar to the County Criminal Search, whether or not you incur employment verification fees will depend on the candidate’s history.

Many large public companies have little interest in committing internal resources to answering questions about current or former employees, and have outsourced their employment verification services to third parties. In turn, the third party charges fees to those interested in confirming whether or not Jon Snow did in fact work for Night’s Watch Inc.

As you might guess, smaller companies aren’t as likely to utilize third party services for employment verification services. When we’re able to contact the business directly to make the verification, there should not be an additional fee.

If your applicant’s recent work history includes multiple large public companies, you might want to prepare for the possibility of added fees.

How much are Employment Verification fees?

Unfortunately, 2022 and 2023 both saw notable increases in fees from employment verification providers. The fees have gone up by more than 4x and are now about $87. That is a flat fee per candidate regardless of how many employers we are verifying through them.

Education Verification Fees

Similar to employment verification, there is a third party involved in verifying education credentials. Nearly all universities in the United States have a third party vendor that charges fees for accessing their education records. These fees vary by institution, but we typically see a $5-$12 fee.

Statewide Criminal Search Fees

Some states have more comprehensive records than others, aggregating data from counties and other agencies. Generally these states also charge an additional fee for access to these more robust databases. Which states charge fees for the Statewide Criminal Search?

Drug Screening Search Fees

We have two partner networks that conduct drug testing for our customers as part of their background check orders with Perfect Fit. When a drug test yields a positive result, it typically necessitates manual review by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) before releasing the results. One network includes these fees in their upfront pricing, while the other offers lower initial prices but charges additional fees when such situations arise. If you opt for the latter network, you may incur a fee of $10.50 when a candidate’s drug test produces a positive result.

drug test icon

Have a background check fee question?

If you made it this far – congratulations! We won’t pretend fees are an exciting topic, but they’re an important part of understanding your potential overall cost of ordering a background check.

If you’d rather chat through your situation with us, we’d be happy to do so! You can schedule with us directly here:


The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. While every measure has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the material, Perfect Fit Background Checks does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the material found on this site. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a basis for making any business, legal or any other decisions.

Perfect Fit Background Checks will not be liable for any false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information presented on this website.

To the extent not prohibited by law, in no circumstances shall Perfect Fit Background Checks be liable to you or any other third parties for any loss or damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising directly or indirectly from your use or inability to use, this site or any of the material contained in it. 

Any third party fees referenced in this blog and associated materials are subject to change at any time.

BCPTR thumbnail

Price transparency. Finally.

We recently published our Background Check Price Transparency Report, where we report our findings from hundreds of market survey submissions.

The big one? Small businesses pay 53% more than large businesses for the same product.


The good news is that we’re here to help.

See more in the free report here >>