I hesitate to use the word "cheap" in the title of this article because traditionally that would also mean of a lesser quality. When searching for cheap criminal background checks I think a more appropriate phrase may be "more cost effective". That title would have been a little too long though.
I work as a Private Investigator and I have been part of many not so cost effective background checks but I also know how to get the most for your money. That is my job; to get the most information for the least cost to the company. In this article I will share a few tips to curb your background investigation costs.
Logically, the first places would be to check the sites that do not cost you anything. I am not referring to criminal background check sites that are free because they really are not. They will cost you valuable time and give you almost nothing in return. I am talking about government run web sites that offer access to public records. Examples of these sites are judicial web sites, Assessor office sites, Circuit and County court sites and even department of c corrections web sites. Usually, depending on the state or jurisdiction they will offer some kind of online access to their records. This should be the first place to check as it will not cost you anything and it is usually very good information.
The second source of good information I would suggest is a criminal records database. There are a lot of them out there but there are only a few that are actually worth the money they charge for subscriptions. The advantage to using a good database is that they amass records usually nationwide. They have done all the work of putting everything in one place for you which is why they charge you to use their database. This will help if your subject has been arrested or charged with something away from their home town or state. It is very easy to miss a conviction if you are searching just one judicial district. Believe it or not we have found that people do tend to get in trouble when on vacation.