#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, but if there are many negative reviews then 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 you are asking them to do is within the law+ If the assignment is in fact feasible and can be done
+ 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.