May 9, 2023 | CRA Advice

CRAs Buy Data at a Variable Rate, Sell at a Flat Rate; That Needs to Change

Most CRAs sell criminal background checks at a flat price (per county or bundled to include all counties). But every CRA knows that’s not how they buy search data.

What CRAs pay per search varies considerably. Data providers routinely consult 3,000+ line spreadsheets to determine the price for any given query.

Transcribing this variable pricing model into a single price for the end-user is no small feat. Year after year, rather than adding value to the customer experience, upgrading the tech stack, or scaling the business, CRAs must dedicate effort, time, and resources to managing the variable cost of criminal records data.

So, why do CRAs put up with this business model? Because until recently, flat-rate data pricing did not exist.


What Determines the Price of a Criminal Records Search?

The complexity and variable nature of what CRAs pay for search data reflects the variability and complexity required to obtain the necessary information.

In some jurisdictions, it’s still necessary to physically go to the court to manually pull the relevant information. That information must be transcribed into a database and transmitted back to the CRA, which is time-consuming and expensive.

Other jurisdictions allow automated queries, which are less expensive, but still require developing and configuring software to format the results according to the CRA’s and end-users’ standards.

Then there are court fees. Some jurisdictions charge huge fees to access their data; others do not. Hit rates, search volume, and many other factors also influence prices for court record research and criminal data.

(Employment and education verifications present their own costs and complexities, as do credential checks.)

Every given criminal records search requires a specific combination of the technology, time, and layered fees described above. Now, multiply that by tens of thousands of search requests every day. It’s understandable why CRAs have been buying data at variable rates for over two decades.


Flat Rate Pricing Solution for CRAs Is Finally Here

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing how we search for the answers to life’s questions. The same innovations are now transforming how CRAs can buy data for background searches.

Over four years of research based on InformData’s Direct-Source Data® and pilot testing with select CRAs has culminated in an exciting breakthrough, a new option for CRAs to purchase court data and criminal research. The new option is called Flat Rate Pricing. As the name suggests, Flat Rate Pricing lets CRAs buy all or some of their background search data the same way they sell search results: at a fixed price.

Here’s how it works:

Flat Rate Pricing Solution Explained

InformData uses data to enable CRAs to buy data smarter, at a flat price. Using just a sampling of a CRA’s historical search information, InformData’s proprietary modeling technology analyzes the interaction between 41 different parameters to determine the optimal flat price for the class of searches a CRA is ordering.

Typically, analyzing the sample data and producing a flat price for a class of searches takes less than 48 hours. Once the flat price is determined, every search ordered in the modeled class is provided at that price.

Whether a search is automated or manual or how the result is delivered does not matter. Flat pricing means every search is the same price — just how the results are sold to a CRA’s client. (Unfortunately court access fees, if any, still get tacked on to the flat rate search price. There’s just no getting around that.)

Even better, the modeling process that creates the optimal flat price works continuously to maintain an optimized flat rate. Depending on the volume and type of searches, the optimal flat price is updated (up or down) once a quarter. This way, CRAs can always be sure of getting the best flat price.

podcast icon  Check out our recent podcast to learn more: An Introduction to InformData's Flat Rate Pricing Solution

Flat Rate Pricing Solution: Another Tool In Your CRA’s Toolkit

This transformative business model turns 20 years of extraordinarily complex pricing for background search data on its head, enabling CRAs to focus on delivering real customer value instead of managing pricing for data.

But not every CRA will want or need to use Flat Rate Pricing across all their searches. That’s why InformData offers CRAs a choice. CRAs can continue to buy data using the traditional Variable Pricing model or purchase flat-priced data using our Flat Rate Pricing Solution.

InformData understands that CRAs may want to try Flat Rate Pricing before switching over lock, stock, and barrel. It may be something to test with a few classes of searches before redeploying staff to focus on scale and service rather than cost management.

If you’d like to learn more or create a sample for Flat Rate Pricing analysis, reach out to your InformData sales representative or click here to tell us how to get in touch with you. Your flat price for criminal background search data is waiting.


an introduction to informdata's flat rate pricing solution