May 11, 2023 | CRA Advice

How Flat Rate Pricing Solution Simplifies Vendor Management for CRAs

You probably don’t need to be reminded that the United States contains over 3,200 county-level jurisdictions, each mandating different criminal record research processes and costs.

Operating and growing a consumer reporting agency (CRA) or background screening company in the 21st century requires constant management of a complex supply chain designed to funnel non-standardized criminal data from this multitude of sources into uniform reports, delivered quickly and accurately to end-users at competitive prices.

And until very recently, CRAs had only two options for building these data supply chains: staffing their own research team or managing a shifting network of dozens of vendors. Each approach has its benefits but also risks, especially during periods of economic uncertainty

Fortunately, economic uncertainty breeds innovation. Thanks to an innovative business model pioneered by InformData, CRAs now have a third tool for reducing risk by simplifying the data supply chain.

This game-changing new concept is called Flat Rate Pricing Solution.

In this article, we’ll:

  • Explain just how Flat Rate Pricing Solution works.
  • Compare flat rate pricing to the traditional variable pricing model.
  • Explore how the two approaches complement each other (and your internal research team) to give your CRA maximum reach, flexibility, speed, and scalability.


The Classic Model: Variable Pricing

To help you understand how flat pricing helps CRAs, let’s first review the variable pricing model that has dominated the background screening industry for the last quarter century. This is the model that every CRA, large or small, has experienced when outsourcing criminal records research.

The background screening industry rises and falls with employment metrics. When hiring spikes, so does demand for pre-employment background screening. When hiring stalls, volume declines for most CRAs. Seasonality plays a role, as well.

The difficulty lies in determining the proper staffing level for a volatile employment landscape, so many CRAs rely on outsourced providers to balance the risks of under- or over-staffing. Outsourced data providers are also critical for gathering data from jurisdictions far beyond the CRA’s core service area.

But swapping staff for vendors means swapping employee management for vendor management. The typical CRA can quickly find itself juggling relationships with 20, 30, or even 60 suppliers, each doing business a little differently. The data will come in at different speeds and in various formats, and it all must be reconciled into a standard reporting format for end-users.

As for pricing, it can not only vary by vendor but by county. Data suppliers will determine prices per jurisdiction based on factors like:

  • Whether automated or manual research is required
  • Local court fees
  • Evolving regulations on the use of personal identifiable information (PII)

The vendor management challenge for CRAs increases exponentially with each new vendor. Suppliers must be constantly monitored for data integrity, accuracy, timeliness, and other factors, and prices for individual queries can vary wildly.

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


A New Complementary Model: Flat Rate Pricing

InformData designed our Flat Rate Pricing Solution to help our CRA clients achieve greater consistency, scalability, and accuracy by reducing their vendor management burden.

Flat Rate Pricing is made possible by InformData’s nationwide reach, scale as one of the country’s largest wholesale people data suppliers, and industry-leading technology.

When you enter a flat rate pricing partnership with InformData, we will analyze your CRA’s past volume and use artificial intelligence to project your future volume. We can then offer a flat pricing structure with reasonable certainty that your usage will approximate our model.

From your CRA’s perspective, each query costs the same, regardless of jurisdiction, the need for manual research, or other factors. You will gain access to InformData’s 100% direct-source nationwide criminal records network at a predictable, consistent rate.

After an agreed-upon period, we will revisit and adjust your flat pricing offer based on your usage trends.

Benefits of Flat Rate Pricing Solution

Flat Rate Pricing Solution with InformData is a true partnership based on a relationship, not a convoluted 3,000-row spreadsheet. By partnering with us at a flat rate for some or all of your criminal records data, your CRA or background screening business will gain:

Simplified Vendor Management

With one flat rate across the board for most or all of your outsourced criminal records queries, you can focus your energy on what matters most: growing your business. Issues can be solved through a single point of contact, and you will have far fewer data sets to review on a weekly or monthly basis. Working with one or fewer vendors, auditing and invoicing becomes much easier.

Clarity on Costs

Flat Rate Pricing lets your sales team sell packages with the confidence that the price per package is not variable. Whether you’re selling packages to a client in Cook County, Ill., Harris County, Texas, or Broward County, Fla., you will understand your costs with absolute certainty. 

Stability in Uncertain Times

Staff up for a coming spike or reduce staff for a downturn? With InformData as a partner, you don’t have to decide.

InformData’s massive scale (over a quarter-million background checks per day) and technological innovations allow us to withstand economic turmoil, passing the benefits onto our CRA clients. Our direct-source network ensures the fastest turnaround times and the highest accuracy in the business.

Three Business Models Working Together to Grow Your CRA

Flat Rate Pricing, Variable Pricing, and an internal research team don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Flat Rate Pricing is simply a new tool meant to help CRAs manage risk and reduce the workload that comes with dozens of vendor partnerships.

Variable Pricing still has its place, especially if you’re developing your own team or automated solutions. For example, you can use an outsourced vendor at a variable rate for overflow orders when volume spikes beyond what your internal resources can handle.

Regardless of the pricing model, what matters most is what matters most to your end-users: quick turnaround, accurate information, and flexible customization. That’s just what you’ll get when you choose InformData as your people data partner.

Click here to schedule a quick call to discuss our Flat Rate Pricing Solution and all the other ways we can help your CRA or background screening business thrive and grow.

an introduction to informdata's flat rate pricing solution