Many of our clients commonly state “they have never done this before”. In this article we will give you 4 simple things you can do before you actually hire that private investigator.
Do your homework. By this I mean you need to know what it is you want from hiring a private investigator. Often we will get random calls and the caller has no idea of what they want to achieve when they hire a private investigator. Of course, they want the case solved but many times we hear war stories of clients that are on round 2 and 3 of their private investigator hiring. We all know every private investigator will solve cases. When you call you should control the conversation. Give method to the madness and make sure you have a list of the things you want done during the investigation and what you want to know in that phone call. If it is a good private investigator, they will just sit back, listen and take their own notes.
Don’t focus on cost. Too many clients call and immediately ask what the cost is to hire a private investigator. We PI’s all know that money is precious, but you must know that it cost to hire a professional private investigator. If you are pricing investigators by calling 5 to 10 of them and only get cost, how will you ever know their experience and what they specialize in? The reality is you should always be leery of a private investigator that charges less than the median ones you have called. This either shows they are new and just dying to get a case or they have zero experience and want to take the case no matter what. Fact is you do get what you pay for and most of our unhappy clients that come from other investigators have been charged way below the average that professionals charge.
Look them up. Find out what the agency belongs to. That is, do they belong to any associations? Do they belong to the chamber of commerce, if that is important in your area? Licensing is extremely important and most states offer the ability to check a private investigators license online or by phone. Not checking the license status is no way to begin a case. We run into cases of PI’s who lost their license and are still working! Check the legal formation of the company. While legal formation is personal choice of the agency you should be cautious of those operating as ‘sole proprietors’. There is a lot of liability in the PI profession and nothing but an LLC and above helps to minimize that. If the PI running as a sole proprietor, they more than likely are not operating with a general liability policy and that just spells trouble. Speaking of which, ask to get a copy of their general liability policy. This is another great tool for you to tell the depth of the agency. The conversation you have should be 60% about your case, 5% about the cost and 35% about the private investigator or agency. You have to know who you are hiring and what they can do for you.
Have realistic expectations. Too many clients focus on cost, see that section, and truly don’t understand that just because you hire a private investigator doesn’t mean the facts will come easy and evidence be all plenty. Although a professional investigator will have experience, knowledge, skills and connections it doesn’t mean the case will be solved in an hour. Many cases take hours, days, weeks and even months to solve or to acquire enough facts and evidence to bring that justice; personal or legal. Where the unrealistic expectations come through the most is the infidelity case. A client will hire a private investigator in the expectation that the photo or video evidence will come and come quick. Human nature is the driving force in these types of investigations and the majority of the time it will dictate case extensions and more monies to be owed. One of the most important things you can do when hiring a private investigator is to be realistic.