Articles > Tips For Hiring a PI
How To Hire The Right Private Investigator For You
Knowing how to hire a private investigator and what to expect can build a better working relationship between you.
Because of the nature of the job, private investigator's can be a little cagey and cautious when taking on new clients, particularly private clients. This is because some aspects of the work can be very sensitive. So don't be put off if the investigator asks lots of questions; it's their job to.
But first, it's always good to know what a private investigator is before you set about hiring one. Knowing what character attributes, skills and training they should possess can help you choose one.
How Do You Hire The Right Private Investigator?
You want to make sure the investigator you pick is not only legitimate but provides the service you need. Here's some important points in knowing how to hire a private investigator that you should be aware of. You should do a little research of your own before hiring a private detective by doing the following:
#1 Check the private investigator's online profile and credentialsThese days the majority of buisnesses have a website and online presence. You can get a very good first impression by the website.Go to the PI's website, does it look professional? Does it state the investigator services you need? How long have they been operating? Check their contact details; does it have a proper business email address or a gmail account? What work background and experience do they have?Important Note: checking the website is just for first impressions, but remember anyone can write anything on a website; it doesn't mean it's true.As well as getting a first impression from their website you can search for any online reviews about them and see what others have to say.Just type into a search engine like Google the detective agency or investigator's name along with the word "reviews" and see what comes up in the search results: e.g. "Joe's Investigation Company" + "Reviews".Another important note to remember here, about reviews, is that they can be written by anyone. A disgruntled client perhaps that didn't get the result they wanted despite a thorough job done by the investigator. Again, just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's true, there are many fake reviews out there but if there are many negative reviews then you should probably steer clear.#2 Check what professional bodies they belong toThere are lots of professional private investigator bodies and associations and most private investigators belong to at least one of these. Being a member usually requires the investigator participate in some form of membership initiation that requires demonstration of competence.Check the PI's website to see what professional associations they belong to, and check those association websites to make sure they are indeed listed members.#3 Do they have a private investigator licenceDepending on what country or state they operate in, will determine if they need a licence or not. Each country or State that requires a PI to be licenced usually has an official online website where you can check for the private investigator's licence.If they have a licence it usually has a photograph. Check to see that it is valid and up to date.#4 Do they operate from a physical addressIt's good to hire a PI if they operate from an office or physical address so you can visit or contact them as needed.Note: some PI's operate from home as a home business so understandably (for security reasons) may not provide the location on their website.
Knowing these simple preliminary checks on how to hire a private investigator, even before contacting them, is very beneficial. Doing these checks will save you wasted time and give you confidence in who you plan to hire.
What Else Do You Need To Know In How To Hire A Private Investigator?
Hiring a private investigator in Arkansas or a private investigator in California makes no real difference in first contact. Once you have found the investigator you plan to hire, you will want to know how to contact him or her and what information and questions may be asked of you. You should also have your own list of questions to ask the private investigator to make sure they are right for you.
How to contact a private investigator
The first thing you will want to do is to make first contact with the investigation company you want to hire, either by phone or by email. You can usually get their details from a phone book, on their website or an online directory.
Depending on whether you are contacting an agency with two or more investigators, a large company, or a single one-man business, may depend on how you contact them for a meeting (if you want to have a face to face meeting).
A private investigator generally works from an office if there's more than one, and you can go to the agency's address for a personal visit, as you would any other business.
If you contact a private investigator that works alone in a one-man business, they usually operate from their home in a home-based office. If this is the case, a simple phone call or email to arrange an appointment will be necessary. However, they may not accept clients to their home but instead will arrange a place to meet.
Don't let the fact that the investigator won't accept you to their home as a bad sign, as they have to protect themselves and their family from reprisals from people they have investigated.
What Information Will The Investigator Want To Know?
Before any contracts are signed the investigator will want to get an understanding of why you want to hire them. They will want to know your motives.
And before you are accepted as a client they will most likely need to ascertain if:
+ What you are asking them to do is within the law+ If the assignment is in fact feasible and can be done
No legitimate private investigator or detective will accept a case that requires breaking the law. They may come up with other legal solutions to your problem that will be within the law, so don't hire a private investigator illegally, or ask, or expect them to break the law for you. If an investigator is willing to break the law for you then don't hire them.
The investigator should have a good understanding of the legalities of their profession to be able to advise a course of action before you hire them. You may have a case that's going to be way too difficult to take on or just plain not workable.
A seasoned and professional investigator knows what his or her limitations and capabilities are and whether they are right for your case. Respect the investigator who declines your case due to insurmountable complexities, or a case that's beyond their experience and training.
If an investigator turns you down because of this then ask if they can recommend another agent. There may be another investigator who will have the additional skills required. Keep looking!
What happens once the investigator decides to take on your case?
When the private investigator you want to hire accepts your case they will want to go over the following details with you:
+ Subject(s) of Enquiry Details: These are the details of the person or persons involved in the case, including vehicles and addresses. This can get very detailed and is best if you have photographs to provide the investigator.+ Fees: The investigator will have an idea of how to proceed with your case and depending on the type of service offered will depend on the private investigator's fee. The investigator will more than likely ask for a retainer (payment up front to secure his or her services).
+ Contract: Once the investigator has a clear understanding of your requirements and you have discussed costs they will present you with a Contract or Agreement Form detailing the particulars of the case and conditions of hiring.
Once you agree and sign the contract and agree the fees the investigator will open a case file and start working on your case.
At this point there is no more you need to know in how to hire a private investigator, or do, except let the investigator you hired do his or her job. You will usually be contacted either for more information or to provide you with interim reports as your case progesses.
If you want to hire a private investigator you can find a local private investigator in our directory.