Drug Testing Buyer’s Guide

What to Look for In a Drug Testing Provider

For some organizations drug testing is an important part of their employment process, whether it’s a tool for pre-employment screening, deterrence through a random drug testing program, or otherwise. Drug testing helps to ensure that the employees at your organization are at their best. In my recent post on the ROI of drug testing, I discussed how drug testing even has a monetary benefit to employers.

Whether you have a drug testing program that you’ve been using for the last 20 years or are just now thinking about starting one, there are a few key things to consider when deciding on how you are going to go about it. The following is a list of the “must haves” that you should expect from your drug testing provider.


Stay compliant

There may be many things in your organization’s operations that are black and white – compliance isn’t one of them. Compliance isn’t the easiest task to manage when it comes to drug testing either. Unless you are a large organization who can afford to have a compliance officer whose sole focus is to keep track of the ever-changing legislative environment, it can seem like an impossible task to manage. That’s why it is important to look to your drug testing provider for help in this area.

Not every drug testing provider will help you with this guidance. You can go directly to one of the national drug testing labs for your drug testing solutions, but they aren’t going to provide the customized guidance you’d hope for with your DOT drivers.

When searching for a drug testing provider, one of the first things you should ask is whether or not they manage your drug testing compliance. If yes, how so? In most instances the onus will be on you to seek legal counsel for specific guidance on your organization’s policies. A good drug testing provider will make sure that you are as up-to-date as possible with legislative trends so that you know when it’s time to call your attorney for a policy update.


Go digital

While I consider compliance to always be the most important aspect of a drug testing program – technology is a close second. There are a few crucial aspects of a drug testing program that you should have available. Electronic chain of custody, ordering, and location selection are all crucial to a modern and efficient drug testing program.

Most drug testing providers are on some form of electronic system at this point. If they aren’t, then they are pretty far behind the bell curve. Since “digital” is now the norm, how do providers set themselves apart from the crowd? The answer is in how much you are able to accomplish online. When searching for a drug testing provider, opt for one that not only lets you order your drug tests online but has a digital process for every step – from location selection to the drug testing results.

Perhaps the most important part of the process to have digitized is your custody and control forms. Using a paper process can be a hassle. Instead of relying on your applicant to carry a physical form, why not digitize the process? With electronic custody and control forms, your applicant or employee only needs their confirmation number (which is emailed to them when the test is ordered).


Consider client support

Client support is an often overlooked aspect of searching for a provider – until the first time you run into a problem that can’t be solved through an FAQ section of a website. While it is often difficult to glean the level of a vendor’s client support during the sales process, there is one great trick for spotting the good and the bad.

Try calling the organization’s main line. Do you get a dialing tree or a real person? How long did it take for you to get to a real person? Nothing is worse than not being able to get a hold of someone when you need an answer fast. Opt for a vendor that has a quick response time. Even the best technology is useless without the right people behind the process to make sure that your needs are met – and in a timely manner.


In summary

Here are the things to ask about when vetting a drug testing provider.


  • Does the provider manage your drug testing compliance?
  • What compliance support do they provide?
  • Do they offer industry-specific guidance?


  • Does the provider offer electronic custody and control forms?
  • Can you order drug tests digitally?
  • What options do you have for drug testing collection locations?

Client Care

  • Can you talk with a real person or is everything automated?
  • How quickly does the provider respond to phone and email?