Interested in becoming one of our lookup providers but not sure where to start? Looking for advice on how to craft a compelling lookup offering and set realistic prices? We answer some common questions asked by lookup providers on this page.
While you needn’t be a certified genealogical professional, we’re looking to recruit skilled researchers who have:
This question merits a lengthy, detailed answer, but we’ll try to offer only a brief version here. Two strategies probably make the most sense, particular when you’re first starting out:
As you get more comfortable with what kinds of documents potential clients are interested in for your local area, you can consider ordering microfilm copies of those documents for your local family history center’s permanent collection if they are available. You can then offer lookups that utilize those microfilmed records as a resource.
There are at least two ways to look at this, depending primarily on the demand for a particular type of lookup in your area.
On the one hand, if you feel you can provide faster turnaround times or lower prices than are currently offered by others, feel free to create your own offering. It may take a while for you to build user ratings to the level of existing providers, but with conscientious effort, you should be able to become competitive over time. This works best in large markets with many requests.
On the other hand, particularly if the current providers have strongly positive ratings, you might find it to your advantage to carve out your own unique niche and offer a lookup that no one else yet provides.
In a less-populated county with a smaller number of likely requests, it may not make sense to offer lookups that duplicate those offered by others. Of course, in such a county, there may be less provider competition to begin with.
Finally, if you are a volunteer for a local genealogical or historical society and plan on having your fees go directly to that society, it’s probably worth your while to offer competitive lookups, even if the prices you charge are higher than those offered by others. Many potential clients will find your society ties to be an important point of differentiation and they may patronize you accordingly.
We will definitely consider such requests, but we can't guarantee to implement them in any specific timeframe. Please email us at support(at)genlighten(dot)com with your suggestion, and we'll try to respond as quickly as we can.
The "duplicate" feature is designed to make it easy to offer the same lookup for several different localities without having to re-enter the entire offering from scratch each time. When you click "finalize" after creating a new lookup offering, you'll be brought to the "Manage Lookup Offerings" page. Click on the "duplicate" link to the right of the offering you just created. You'll see an exact copy appear in the table below the original one. Now, click on "edit" for the copy. This will bring up a copy of the filled-out input form for the original lookup. You can then choose a different locality from the drop-down menus for state/province and county, and make any other edits (e.g. to the descriptive title, year range, detailed description, or instructions) that you need to.
These elements -- along with your price, your username, and your provider rating -- are what appear in search results when clients first try to connect with a lookup provider using the "Search Available Lookups" page. Think of the title as the "headline" of an article describing what you have to offer. An example might be "Cook County Death Certificates" or "Lowell, NY Cemetery Photos". The year range serves to filter out requests for records that just aren't available. This is a common source of confusion for clients and frustration for providers.
The detailed description serves as your 'sales pitch' to clients. We'd suggest you consider including the following elements, while keeping your description crisp and concise:
We ask you to define both a "Document Found" and a "Not Found" price for two basic reasons:
The "Document Found" price is basically the one the client agrees to pay if the record corresponding to the data they submitted is delivered as promised. The "Not Found" price is what the client expects to be charged if a 'best effort' search fails to yield the sought-for document.
You'll obviously never be able to completely eliminate this possibility, no matter how carefully you define your lookup offering. But here are some suggestions we can offer based on our experience:
This question has challenged professional genealogists for decades. We won't pretend to have any simple answers, but we can offer a few basic ideas and recommend some key resources you should consider looking at.
Our commission rate is currently 15%. If you as a provider set your "Document Found" fee at -- for example -- $10 for a particular lookup, we'll credit $8.50 to your Genlighten provider account each time you complete that lookup successfully and upload the client's requested document to the site.