How to Start Your Own Live Scan Business
Teachers, real estate agents, doctors, lawyers and others need to get fingerprinted as a part of their required background checks. Live Scan is a way of digitally obtaining fingerprints and sending them to the appropriate state and federal agencies. Starting a Live Scan business provides an important service to your community while bringing in an income.
Each state has its own requirements to start a Live Scan fingerprinting business. In California, Live Scan operators must pass a criminal record background check and get a fingerprint-rolling certificate. California estimates the process will take 90 to 120 days, and you start the process by contacting the department of justice.
In Michigan, you have to submit several documents, including an application, signed agreements and a diagram of your network setup. Most states will want you to comply with cybersecurity requirements to ensure the privacy of Live Scan applicant information.
As with any business, it’s essential to have a clear business plan. For a Live Scan business, your fingerprint business plan should include considerations such as:
- Your business focus. Some Live Scan businesses only do fingerprinting, while others offer additional services. For example, you could also provide notary services (if you meet the requirements) or other business services like package shipping and shredding. This information would be a part of the company description section of your business plan.
- Your technology needs. You will need to invest in Live Scan equipment through a state-approved vendor. The scanning equipment can cost $1,000 or more. You may also need to install new networking equipment or update your current network infrastructure. This information could appear in your financial projections or your funding request section (or both).
- Your marketing plan. In addition to being listed in your state’s directory of approved vendors, you may want to take additional marketing efforts. You could develop marketing materials to leave with teacher-training programs, for example.
Your business plan provides a road map for you to follow. If you need to apply for funding, you’ll need to provide a copy of your business plan.
Choose a legal structure for your business. A business attorney can help you evaluate which option is best for your business. Each structure has different tax implications and requires paying fees and filing paperwork with your state. Common business structures include partnerships, limited liability corporations and corporations.
Your business name should be original. Most states have a registry where you can search potential business names and ensure no one else has the same one. Your name should indicate that you offer fingerprinting services, unless fingerprinting is secondary to other services you offer.
Once you have a name for your business, register the name with your state. Depending on the business entity you choose, you may need to register it with the federal government as well. You’ll need to obtain federal and state IDs and complete the state-specific paperwork required to start a Live Scan business.
Some Live Scan businesses offer mobile fingerprinting services. If this is something you’d like to offer, check with your state to find out the technology and security requirements. If you’re planning to hire employees to help with the fingerprinting, find out what certifications your state may require for people to take fingerprints.
If you want to simplify the startup process, you could look for a fingerprinting business for sale. This could save you the cost of investing in new equipment and setting up a space from scratch.