Courthouse research is something you may have never considered when thinking about income opportunities. And though it's not a 100% work from home type job, it does allow for a lot of flexibility. This can be great for those trying to work around the schedules of kids or other obligations. I've never done courthouse research before other than when I needed to look up information when I was a real estate agent. I have however done merchandising for Hallmark, and this type of work reminds of that in the sense that it was flexible and allowed me to set my own schedule.
But what exactly would I be doing as a courthouse researcher?
Courthouses keep lots and lots of public records. The buying and selling of land, marriage licenses and more. These records are of interest to other companies and businesses. That being the case, there are companies that need people to research these public records. That's where the opportunity comes in for researchers.
As far as I can tell, there are no specific qualifications, certifications or degrees needed to apply as a courthouse researcher. Being reliable and productive are valued. Most companies offering this type of work are willing to train the right person. But there will some that require experience.
How much can I make being a courthouse researcher?
This is the type of work that has a lot of variation pay-wise. I've seen some job descriptions state up to $18 an hour. However, I think most hover around the $8 an hour range. I am sure this ties in with experience and productivity. So the more experience you get or have under your belt, the more you can earn. As well — the better you become at the job will allow you to get more accomplished which means a higher rate too.
These positions are usually 1099 or independent contractor positions. It's doubtful there will be benefits offered.
Is record searching hard to do?
I've been to extremely modern courthouses and I've also been to a few that seem to be stuck in time. And you can't judge a book by its cover either. In my hometown we have the original courthouse. It's gorgeous and over 100 years old. Yet, when I needed to find a record for my Mom in there, it was all computerized and very easy to search. I've also lived in a town, that I've had to look up records in large volume books. Literally these huge books organized by record type, year, county etc. Obviously clicking away on a computer can make researching must faster, but there are still courthouses across the country that either don't have records digitized or maybe only a portion digitized.
Public records are just that. Public. So you are allowed to review them. The only stipulation is that you'll need to view them during the operating hours of the courthouse. This is usually 9am to 5pm. Courthouses can seem a bit ominous at first. I feel this way almost every time I go into a federal building of some sort. But remember, you're allowed to be there. You're allowed to review records. And most government workers, if not all in the courthouse you're in are happy to help you if you need it. At the very least, they can point you in the right direction.
Will I have to go all over the state to different courthouses?
Typically, you're going to cover courthouses in your area. And when I say area — I'm talking your county and maybe other surrounding counties. Driving 50 miles out of your area to make $16 for two hours of research makes no sense. The cost of gas will eat your profits and then some. Usually it's your immediate area and “reasonable” outlying areas. I'd personally discuss travel expenses upfront and ask what's expected and what are they willing to cover. You might be able to work out stipends for longer trips or mileage reimbursement at the very minimum.
These are the kinds of details to ask about before accepting a position. You want to be comfortable with the expectations and understand the territory you're covering.
Staying focused and accomplishing your research tasks.
Think library. You'll be doing your research in typically quiet rooms. This is great, because you don't want to be distracted from accomplishing your research. The same goes for other people in the room — they don't want to be distracted or listen to noise either. Be polite and respect the other individuals trying to get their work done too. This can range from attorneys to real estate agents to just the general public.
This goes without saying, but bringing a crying baby or your three restless kids is probably not going to be conducive for this type of work. There's no rule that states NO CHILDREN — but it could prove to make your research much harder and slower.
Who hires courthouse researchers?
Below you'll find the places that I have found that hire researchers. A few companies I have done reviews on and you can check out those reviews as well.
Accurate Background – Many positions are for confirming employment backgrounds using phone, fax, email and the internet. You'll need to do a search for”research” job openings on their job search page.
Information Technologies – Court Abstractors/Data Collectors in various regions around the nation — 1099/independent contractor.
Jelly Bean Services – Research mortgages, marriage records, tax liens, judgments, divorces, and more. Cell phone and laptop highly recommended.
Of course, I am always wanting to hear from others. If you've done courthouse research, share your comments below.
I Like the Idea of Getting Out and About for Work – But Maybe Not Courthouse Research – Any Other Ideas for Me?
I'm like you, I like getting out of the house. It's why I love doing Avon. With that in mind, here are some suggestions below:
Direct Sales – Though Avon might not be your perfect fit — there are literally hundreds of companies to choose from.
Uber Driver – I actually worked in Uber's former remote customer support division. I've never been a driver, but conversed with many happy drivers every day loving what they do.
UberEats – Delivering food, not people.
Merchandising – Everything from greeting cards to candy to other promotional set-ups. I've got a few greeting card companies listed.
Mystery Shopping – Food, retail… even car shops! Many companies are looking for mystery shoppers.