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How to Start a Fingerprinting Business

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The need for fingerprinting businesses is growing. The financial services, law enforcement and child care industries are just a few that use background checks and fingerprinting as part of their standard hiring protocol. Opening a fingerprinting business requires less capital than other small business, but there are licensing requirements.

Types of Fingerprinting

There are two types of fingerprinting: Live Scan and rolled paper fingerprinting. Before Live Scan, paper fingerprinting was the only option. These are manual ink and paper prints, usually done in multiples and sent to the required employer or agency to run. Live Scan simplifies the process with a digital capture, sending the information directly to the necessary people, expediting the process. Live Scan is now the standard for fingerprinting services.

Fingerprint Rolling Certification

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) runs classes to license fingerprinting rollers, to make sure the prints are accurate. This is a self-study certification that requires reviewing the Fingerprint Rolling Certification Program Reference Handbook and then completing an application in the state where you choose to start the business. If you plan on working across state borders, inquire about reciprocity in the states you seek to work in. Along with your application, get your own fingerprints rolled at a Live Scan center. Mail the application with all pertinent background information to the DOJ with applicable fees totaling $74, as of 2017, to screen your background. The DOJ ensures those conducting fingerprinting are free of any criminal background.

Equipment for Fingerprinting

Purchase or lease the fingerprinting Live Scan equipment. There are many franchise opportunities to obtain the equipment, with buy-in costs of $7,000 to $10,000 in start-up fees. These include more comprehensive background check systems as well, expanding your product and services.

If you just want to do the fingerprinting, Live Scan scanners range from $999 to $3,000. Software will run another $2,500 or more. You will also need to purchase the other hardware, including the main CPU unit. Your network system should have heavy firewalls with extensive data backup to ensure that customers' private information remains secure. Most Live Scan companies use one CPU exclusively for fingerprinting and use another computer for everyday business needs.

Location and Business Basics

Opening an entire storefront for just fingerprinting may not be cost effective. Most Live Scan service are offered through background check companies or as a secondary service for stores such as a mailbox or printing store. It is possible to be mobile as well, with the right computer elements.

  • Running a basic background check often goes hand in hand with fingerprinting and is often requested by the same client. Consider setting yourself up to run background checks as well as fingerprints.

Kimberlee Leonard has trained more hundreds of professionals in telemarketing, sales and promotional events over the past 20 years. She brings humor and simplicity to her writing whether writing for small local brands such as Hawaii's or major marketing sites such as Kimberlee is a proud fourth generation Hawaii local.

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