Doing court research is one of those work-at-home jobs you don’t hear a lot about, and you don’t see many opportunities listed. It seems that most of the workers within this field stay put for the most part, and it’s not something we typically see a lot of complaints or praises and work-at-home forums for. Court research isn’t exactly working at home, but more like working from home, in the sense that you would be setting your own hours within the constraints of making visits to the courthouse, but unless you are lucky enough to get a territory where you can research records online, you will need to leave the house.
Jellybean Services, or JBS, is a long-term player in doing court research, having been in business since 1996. You will see them mentioned occasionally in forums, but not much detail about working for them. So here are some of the details that might be missing.
Court research with JBS pays by the item “pulled,” which is pretty typical of most court research jobs. This company in particular looks for tax records, seeking out tax liens at the state and federal level. The job is pretty straightforward: you go to the court house department that has the records, pull up the records, and for any that fit the criteria you enter the information in an Excel spreadsheet provided by the company.
Once you get a system in place and as you get faster pulling the information and entering it into the Excel spreadsheet, you can expect to enter anywhere from 80-100 entries per hour. At a rate of $.20 per entry, that can add up to up to $20 an hour.
Of course, the number of hours you get and the number of entries you’ll be able to pull will depend on the courthouse you’re going to. Obviously, big cities have more records than rural areas. So before you get too excited that you could be making $20 an hour and pulling in the big bucks, wait till you actually visit the courthouse and get a good idea of a realistic number of records available.
Some court researchers try to make a full-time job of it by doing multiple court houses and working every single day of the week, Monday through Friday. If you have a lot of court houses available fairly close by, this might be a possibility, but take into consideration those driving expenses with gas so costly and with the knowledge that you’re walking in not knowing how many records you’ll get each time.
Other people try to make more money at it by working for more than one company at a time. Now, JBS is aware of this and has no problem with that because they are seeking information different than most court research companies. But other companies will definitely have a big problem with it as you are looking for information that their competitors are also looking for, so if you work for two competing in the same market, neither company is going to be very happy when they find out. And they will find out.
So to apply for JBS, the website is now up and running to fill out an application, as it had been down previously. You’ll probably get a return e-mail from the woman who runs the company, and she’ll include a guidelines document on how to find the information as needed, as well as the Excel spreadsheet and the information. You take your laptop with you to the courthouse and enter the information there, then at the end of the day, e-mail the Excel spreadsheet to JBS. It’s that simple. Typically, you’ll visit courthouses in larger cities that are busier about once every 2 weeks.
The very nice lady at JBS spent a considerable amount of time on the phone explaining the position to me, as well as offering suggestions, despite the lack of any kind of formal training. But honestly, there really isn’t any training required. The information you need is on the guidelines as far as which tax records you can pull, and it’s pretty straightforward. There are deadlines, but as long as you give them a heads up if you’re running behind and get your work turned in close to the deadline, they will work with you.
Because this is one of those little jobs that generates a small amount of income, I personally decided it wasn’t for me, although I’m a little bit disappointed that it didn’t work out. I just had too many small jobs and wanted to stop and focus on getting larger projects due to the logistics of trying to schedule everything. It can’t hurt to check in with them and fill out the quick application then see what courthouses are available near you. The only restrictions on the times that you do the work is Monday through Friday during courthouse hours, otherwise you are free to set your own schedule.
If you’re a fast typist, and live near a major courthouse that’s available for researching, I would definitely recommend giving this a try for a little extra cash.