If you can't afford to buy private company research, even one report at a time, you will need to get a little creative in your research. Remember, private companies are not required to file with the SEC and make public quarterly or annual reports. So a lot of traditional free research methods will be cut off. But creative thinkers can still find ways to get what they need. Here's one idea: Check the company's web site and try to figure out what government regulatory agencies -- federal, state or local -- might have jurisdiction over the business. Then check those agencies for regulatory reports or filings to/from the business you are researching. Regulatory reports can be very informative.