Private investigators can serve multitudes of purposes in both the private and corporate realm. Private investigator services are typically diverse and can bring clarity in the murkiest of circumstances. Whether it’s hiring a private investigator to track a missing loved one or to investigate a pervasive pattern of workplace theft, the name of the game is quality. When you’re ready to hire a private investigator, it’s important that you select the correct professional for the job. Here are some questions you can ask a private investigator about their firm and their body of experience when exercising due-diligence in the hiring process.
How long have they been in private investigations? What is their specialty?
While it’s true that many private investigator services can be very similar across all firm types—such as background checks, surveillance services, and location services, also known as “skip traces”—it’s also true that many private investigators choose to specialize in one or two areas of intelligence-gathering operations. For example, many law enforcement officials and investigators use their retirement years getting a private investigator’s license and continuing to serve the people in their communities by picking up missing person cases or helping families find clarity in the complex personal and domestic situations of their every day lives. Other private investigator services skew more towards the corporate side of the United States, such as internal corporate investigations, background check services, and serving as multi-tools for law firms. The nature of intelligence operations is knowing how to spot patterns, anticipate and assess cause and effect, and comprehensively pursue any and all leads that might arise. The more years private investigators have on the job, the stronger their investigative tool chest will be.
What is their level of transparency and communication?
Private investigators should always be straightforward with their clients. It demonstrates a level of integrity and transparency that is crucial in a quality investigator. Private investigators should be willing to meet with prospective clients in person. Quality investigators go the extra mile to establish professional relationships based on trust and transparency. Every investigation type is different, and the unexpected left turns of any case can be difficult to anticipate at times, but regardless, private investigator services should have a price range with the caveat that they may be subject to change. The best private investigator services will come with a cursory phone call and a free consultation from the investigator to determine the client’s level of need and to do their best to estimate what their retainer will be.
Do they have a verbal agreement or a written contract?
In tangent with transparency and communication, the terms of agreement regarding private investigator services should be clear, explicit, and in writing. Private investigators who do not clearly define their services, term of service, or outline terms of payment on paper should be a big red flag. Desperate clients sometimes get bilked for thousands because of dishonest professionals who intentionally keep them in the dark. A comprehensive, quality investigation is always initiated with clear terms in place, in writing, and signed by both the private investigator and the client.
Can you verify their private investigator number?
Private investigators are licensed state to state. Regardless of where the private investigator is located, they must be licensed in the state where the investigation is to take place in order to have investigative power and access to proper resources. Private investigators should provide their license number when asked so the client can run the number when their state’s database of privately licensed contractors.
In private intelligence, due-diligence is key, and that means as a prospective client, you have a right to know that you are getting what you paid for. That’s why you have to ask the right questions when vetting private investigator services for your needs. When it comes to your corporate or personal life, you deserve facts, not fiction.