On-Site Drug Testing vs. Off-Site Drug Testing - Does it Matter?

The labels themselves indicate the obvious difference between on-site and off-site drug testing. But let's dig a little deeper.

Off-Site Drug Testing

For off-site drug testing, your job candidates and/or employees need to travel to a collection site. This can be significant, since one of the biggest challenges with pre-employment drug testing is getting people to take their tests. Human beings are procrastinators by nature, so even if a person has nothing to hide, sometimes simply getting the person to show up for the drug test can be difficult.

Check out our quick guide to see how candidates complete their drug test with  this 6-step process.

At Good Egg, in addition to having a nationwide network of 10,000 collection sites, we also proactively reach out to your job applicants and employees about scheduling their tests. This helpful "nudge" is often what's needed to get a person to act.

On-Site Drug Testing

On-site drug testing happens at the physical job site. This testing consists of two types:

  1. On-site collections that the company administers because it has staff members trained* as collectors.
  2. On-site collections conducted by a third-party collector who goes to the location and administers the tests. In this case, the collector might have a mobile operation (such as a van) or he or she may use the company's restroom facility or another room for testing days.

*Note: Oral fluid testing does not require professionally trained collectors who do this function for a living. The process with oral fluid is so simple, you don’t need a professional or certification—you can watch a quick video and handle it yourself.

Weighing Cost vs. Convenience

The convenience factor can be huge, especially given people's penchant for procrastination. Not to mention conducting collections on site will help speed up the overall process since you don't have to factor in the human delay of "I'll get around to it someday."

Having a collector come on site costs more, but the convenience factor and reduction in time-to-hire can potentially offset those costs. For example, if you're doing pre-employment drug testing and you know you have a recruiting event every two weeks, then the collector would be there every two weeks during the event. The collector's regular presence would help streamline the hiring process and, as such, that would likely offset the additional costs.

How Working with a National Provider Can Make a Difference

You should work with a reputable national vendor that has a wide network of collection sites because this will make testing more convenient for applicants and employees. Plus, you won't have to juggle multiple drug-testing vendors, which will help make the overall process more efficient as well.

A good vendor will also recommend custom solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all option. Custom solutions will allow you to create a drug-testing protocol that makes sense for each location. For example, your administrative offices might have a different protocol from the manufacturing plant with heavy machinery. The former might do off-site testing pre-hire, and the latter might have random drug testing on site given the nature of the job. (Not to mention a good vendor will create a streamlined solution that includes pre-hire background checks and ongoing monitoring, should you want those elements as well.)

Or maybe the people in your offices in New York and Chicago go to area collection sites, but for your plant in rural Montana, a trained collector comes out every month. You get the idea. A good vendor with a strong network can walk you through options and put together a solution that meets your needs and achieves your goals.

Scott Mogensen

Posted by Scott Mogensen

Scott Mogensen manages the Drug and Alcohol testing program. He has 11 years of experience in drug and alcohol testing and is an expert in DOT drug & alcohol compliance issues. As a Certified Substance Abuse Program Administrator (C-SAPA), he holds the highest credentials available for a program administrator.

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