If you are reading this, we can assume you already know what live scan fingerprinting is. It is an electronic means of capturing fingerprints for applications such as employment background checks, security clearance, etc.
A significant portion of the population relies on small businesses for their livelihood. Some privately owned businesses provide services that are not provided directly by government agencies. It is important for these businesses to exist as there are not enough jobs in the government as well as the private sector to employ every individual.
That is, however, not the only reason why some people may want to start their own business. Having your own business provides you financial freedom and you own it. You do not have to report anyone and meet deadlines set by others.
Owing to the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate in the United States reached an unprecedented level as workplaces have chosen to work with reduced capacity or work remotely until life returns to normalcy. This has caused people to rethink what they do and more and more people are turning towards entrepreneurship.
In the current circumstances, live scan fingerprinting can be a lucrative business opportunity that can be started with very less capital and can become profitable sooner than most other businesses. This article is all about how can you start your own live scan fingerprinting business.
Live scan business opportunity
The good thing about the live scan business opportunity is that the process of live scan fingerprinting has no alternative. In the technology space, there is always a fear that one technology can soon become obsolete and be replaced by newer technology.
However, live scan is not something that can be replaced tomorrow by some other means. It is here to stay. The government might even make it mandatory for other processes in the future. The government has no other reliable method of identity verification or criminal background screening as the FBI holds the largest database of criminal and non-criminal biometric identities in the United States.
It is a no-brainer that providing live scan services can be a profitable business. If you have an existing business location and provide services such as notary, fax, shipping, DMV services, internet access, etc., live scan fingerprinting can be a profitable addition to your existing portfolio of different services.
Live scan fingerprinting requires live scan equipment and software to be installed on a computer (such as PC, laptop, etc.). If you have an existing mobile computer such as a laptop, tablet, PC, etc., all you need is live scan fingerprinting equipment and the live scan software to be installed on your computer.
You can also provide live scan fingerprinting services as a mobile live scan technician, which means that instead of having your customers visit your location to provide these services, you can carry the mobile live scan system at your client’s location and have their fingerprints live scanned.
Since we are targeting customers who would order mobile live scan fingerprinting service, you will have to carry your laptop/compatible tablet to their location. A desktop computer will enable you to only provide on-site live scan fingerprinting services while a laptop computer can be used for both purposes.
Live scan services to offer
As a live scan fingerprinting technician, you can offer different services as live scan is required by different departments and organizations across the country.
- FBI background checks
- FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) submissions
- NFA – ATF fingerprinting
- FINRA EFS
- Background verification services for different employment types
What hardware and software do you need to start a live scan fingerprinting business?
Your live scan fingerprinting equipment should be certified by the FBI, no matter which agencies you are going to provide live scan services for. Local/state law enforcement agencies, as well as regulatory agencies in the United States, uses the live scan infrastructure of the FBI’s NGI (Next Generation Identification – earlier known as IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System)).
To start your live scan fingerprinting journey, you will need a live scan fingerprinting system which includes a live scan fingerprint scanner, live scan fingerprinting software, and a computer on which the live scan fingerprinting software is installed and the scanner is connected. If you already have an existing business, chances are that you would already be using a computer, which can be used for the purpose.
Most live scan equipment comes with an instruction guide and accessories included in the package. Except for the scanner itself, the retail box may contain a USB cable, software CD, cover, AC adapter, and a cleaning cloth. Live scan software can be purchased bundled with the live scan equipment or can also be purchased separately. However, when purchased separately, you need to make sure that it is compatible with your live scan fingerprinting equipment.
Live scan fingerprinting software
With the integration of different APIs, background check software makes it possible to quickly fill in the required data. It is even possible to put necessary compliance validation checks in place with the help of artificial intelligence. Background check software for small businesses makes it possible to track the progress of individual background check requests placed by you.
As a live scan fingerprinting business owner, you will also have to submit the personal information of an applicant along with his/her fingerprints. Live scan fingerprinting software comes equipped with data entry forms to enable you to capture and submit the personal data of the applicant in electronic form.
Live scan fingerprinting software comes equipped with a sophisticated algorithm that not only ensures hassle-free capture of fingerprints but also ensures that each fingerprint is scanned conforming to the minimum quality standards set by the FBI. It is only possible when you are using an FBI-certified live scan fingerprinting device.
A live scan fingerprinting software works like a control center of your live scan fingerprinting device. It is the live scan fingerprinting software that enables systematic capture of the user fingerprints and processes it for submission or printing.
Live scan fingerprinting hardware
Some customers may also ask for Print to Card service, in which they may want their fingerprints to be captured digitally with a live scan system, to have them printed on a fingerprint card. They can send these printed fingerprint cards to the agency concerned by mail, instead of submitting them electronically.
You should have a computer on which your live scan software will be installed and the live scan fingerprinting device is connected with. An existing desktop or laptop computer can do the job.
Traditional paper-based fingerprint cards
As a live scan fingerprinting service provider, you will also be expected to provide traditional ink-and-roll fingerprinting services. Ink-and-roll relies on capturing fingerprint images with ink-stained fingers rolled against a fingerprint card. You should have an adequate inventory of fingerprint cards for the agencies you will be providing fingerprinting services for.
Starting a live scan fingerprinting business may seem as easy as getting live scan equipment, connecting it to a computer, installing the live scan fingerprinting software and you are ready to go. However, it does not work that way. Before you can start providing live scan services, you will need approval and a secure channel to the agencies you are working for. Each agency has its own process to provide secure access to a new live scan service provider, which can be found on their respective websites.
Storefront: Do you need a storefront to start a live scan fingerprinting business?
If you do not have a storefront and do not want to invest in having one, you can offer live scan fingerprint services as a mobile live scan service provider. All you need is a portable computer (such as a laptop, tablet, etc.) and live scan fingerprinting equipment.
If you already have a storefront and provide the above or similar services, you are good to go. All you need is a live scan fingerprinting scanner and software that can be installed on your existing or a new computer.
Its answer depends on how you want to take up the live scan business opportunity. Generally, live scan fingerprinting is provided along with other services such as notary, fax, shipping, DMV services, internet access, etc. You would hardly find a store that is solely providing live scan fingerprinting services.
How to become a live scan service provider?
Once you have decided to acquire all necessary live scan fingerprinting hardware and software, the next step is to contact the agency in order to intimate them beforehand. Some agencies such as the California Department of Justice require fingerprint rollers to be certified by the state DoJ.
Live scan fingerprinting equipment must have secure access to different agencies to submit candidate data and fingerprints. The access for enabling your live scan system to submit fingerprints as a third-party live scan service provider is requested from the agency concerned.
To become an FBI third-party live scan service provider (aka FBI-approved channeler), you should have your live scan system registered by the agency. You can solicitation a Request for Proposal (RFP)to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on its website states that they are not currently accepting any additional channelers. This can be done by registering at US Federal Contractor Registration.
What to look for in a live scan fingerprinting equipment vendor?
Choosing the right live scan fingerprinting equipment vendor can be crucial as it will decide how smooth your live scan fingerprinting business will be able to take off.
Pricing of the live scan equipment
Fortunately, a live scan fingerprinting business is not capital intensive and does not require a heavy investment. You can start with capital ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 for a live scan solution. With the correct marking strategy and planning, you can cover your investment cost in a few months even if your live scan business performance is average.
Is your live scan fingerprinting equipment vendor offering you the best prices in the market? Instead of looking for the cheapest vendor in the market, you should look for the right balance of price along with other factors such as the vendor’s reputation in the market, clientele, technical support, etc. The cheapest live scan fingerprinting equipment vendor with a poor track record can save you some bucks but will create long-term problems.
Getting in touch with the other live scan service providers can be the best place to get an idea about different vendors. If it is not possible for you to do that, you can have a look at online reviews.
Training: Do you need training to start live scan fingerprinting?
Though live scan fingerprinting is not rocket science, you will still need initial training to understand how the system works. There is no need for any formal certification to start a live scan business, however, training should be able to take you through a detailed explanation of the processes.
There are many commands and options available on the live scan fingerprinting software as well as the control panel of the live scanner. Training will help you learn the process so that you start providing livescan fingerprinting services without any hiccups.
If you think you are a quick learner, you can learn the process on your own by consuming the training material available on the internet. There are different third-party training service providers as well in the market that facilitate live scan training. Choosing a live scan fingerprinting equipment provider that can facilitate the necessary training you require to kick off your live scan business will also be a good idea.
The after-sales support can be vital in selecting a live scan fingerprinting equipment vendor. Most vendors will seem really good and proactive until they have you purchase the live scan fingerprinting equipment from them.
However, it is the after-sales support that really matters. If your live scan equipment is down or the software has malfunctioned, it would be the quality of support provided by your vendor that can reduce your downtime. So, poor support should be a deal-breaker for selecting a live scan fingerprinting equipment vendor.
Things you should take care of as a live scan service provider
As a live scan fingerprinting service provider, you will be dealing with the biographic and biometric information of individuals. This data is considered PII (Personally Identifiable Information) by law and highly sensitive in nature. As a live scan fingerprinting operator, you will need to take utmost care to handle this data.
Live scan fingerprinting is subject to different regulatory approvals and licensing requirements. There are rigorous regulations that are strictly enforced to ensure proper conduct and handling of the personal biometric information of the applicants. Failing to comply with these regulations may attract harsh penalties, so sticking to regulations and the standard process is always a good idea for live scan fingerprinting service providers.
Today’s uncertain economic conditions have pushed people to take bold decisions about what they do for a living. Many people are choosing entrepreneurship or starting small-scale businesses. For those who are looking to start a small-scale business, a live scan fingerprinting business can be a great opportunity.
Bayometric Inc. has been helping small-scale business owners that provide miscellaneous services such as notary, shipping, etc. by setting up live scan fingerprinting as an additional service for them to provide.
At Bayometric, we provide everything you need to grab the live scan business opportunity. We provide live scan devices, and custom live scan software to help you kick off your live scan business as soon as possible.
Starting your own live scan business can be the best career decision you would make, depending on how to take this opportunity and materialize it.