Run an Asset Check Before Entering a Business Partnership
A while back, we wrote a blog about the importance of running a background check before you get married. Well, a business partnership is also a marriage of sorts. Your are merging your financial selves, your credit history, and any clients or existing business colleagues with theirs. In fact, there are many aspects of developing a business partnership which mimic the development of a romantic relationship; you wine and dine them, you want to give off an aura of strength and stability, and you want your finances to appear ship shape. Unfortunately, people are not always honest at the beginning of relationships which is why an asset check or a complete background check can be a wonderful tool.
Hire a Private Investigator to Run an Asset Check
An Asset Check, also called an asset search, can tell you several things about a person. A complete asset check will include the following information:
An asset check will identify any bankruptcies, liens, notices of default on loans, foreclosures etc. that might make you think twice about joining business forces. Any bankruptcy cases that turn up will also provide a rather comprehensive list of assets which have been linked to the individual(s).
Vehicles, Boats, and other Accessories
A professional asset search will also reveal a list of toys - both past and present -which have been owned, or have an outstanding loan, by the person. This is done in a variety of ways such as accessing DMV records, US Cost Guard records, Federal Aviation Records, etc. In California, DMV records are organized via address - rather than names - which can make these searches a little trickier.
Usually, real estate holdings comprise person's largest and most valuable asset(s). These can be checked into fairly easily by accessing public records and data bases. However, real estate can also be listed under other individuals' names, or family trusts, which can be more difficult to track down. These records might not always provide the information you need to make a sound business decision.
Credit Reports offer one of the most accurate and comprehensive ways to gain a portrait of a person's financial health. You will know what debts they have had in the past (usually as long as 7 - 10 years), as well as any defaults, delinquencies, bankruptcies, and/or items in collections. If no property records turned up, the credit report is a potential place to spot former and/or current mortgage accounts.
Nothing speaks of a persons ability to run a business like their business records. You can look into businesses in which the individual is an owner or has some kind of partnership or interest. An asset check should include a search for fictitious business names, DBAs, and/or sales tax permits as well.
Civil Records and Judgements
There's nothing like going into business with - what seemed like - a stand-up individual, only to find out later they are a professional con artist, or just plan criminal. A thorough check of court records, civil records, and judgements can reveal a more sordid past than you may feel comfortable with. Much better to find these things out before signing on the dotted line.
More likely than a criminal record, a search of civil records and judgements will also turn up records of divorce, bankruptcy, and/or probate. A judgement that has been paid to them, or a past inheritance, might allow you to score one - or two - for the asset column.
Don't forget to check the stocks and bonds. These can also let you know the status of a potential business partner's assets. Any individual who owns more than a 5% interest in a public company will show up in online databases as well as other free commercial resources.
Accurate Asset Checks Require Experience and Know-how
The internet has made it easier for individuals to check online data bases and perform a certain level of asset check on their own. However, when it comes to a decision as important as whether or not to go into business with someone, it's imperative that you get the best and most accurate Asset Check that you can afford. It can mean the difference between a thriving business or the costly and devastating experience of failure, not to mention that feeling of, "I knew I should have done my homework!".
So go ahead - run an asset check and learn all you can about that potential new business partner of yours before you shake their hand. Hopefully the results will put you one step closer to starting a successful and lucrative business partnership.
Linked Investigations is owned by Mike Garroutte - a licensed Orange County Private Investigator. He has been running accurate asset checks for more than 30 years. Contact Linked Investigations when you are ready to run your next asset check.
Call 877-464-5374 to schedule a professional Asset Check.