When looking for a private investigator it helps to ask the right questions so you make sure they are exactly what you need. The process of finding the right PI may be different in each state but there are a few universal questions that can be helpful when finding the right private investigator for your case.
There are so many private investigator companies nowadays. Finding the right one for the job can be tricky. Here is a step by step guide on how to make that choice.
Decide what you need the private investigator to do.
Private investigators are specialized in different areas of law enforcement. Some specialize in surveillance or asset searches; others specialize in criminal investigations or missing persons cases. The type of case you’re working on will determine what type of private investigator you need. For example, if you’re looking for someone who can help track down stolen property or vehicles, an asset search specialist may be best suited for your needs.
Check their credentials and insurance.
The first step in finding a private investigator is to check their credentials. You want to make sure that they are licensed and insured, so you can rest easy knowing that if anything goes wrong during your investigation, they will be covered.
Make sure they’re licensed.
Check their credentials and license status. Many states require that private investigators be licensed as either a licensed private detective or a registered agent. The licensing requirements vary by state, so check with your local government before hiring a PI.
Ask if they specialize in a particular area of investigation.
Ask if they specialize in a particular area of investigation. If you’re looking for an expert on fraud investigations, for example, don’t hire someone whose specialty is missing persons cases.
Ask for references from clients who have used their services. You want to make sure that the private investigator you hire has a good reputation among his or her customers.
Ask how long the investigator has been in business and what kind of training he or she has received. Do they work alone or with other investigators? How much experience do they have? What types of cases have they handled? Are there any licensing requirements for this type of work?
Ask for references.
If you’re considering hiring a private investigator, ask for references. A good PI will have a long list of satisfied customers who can give you an honest appraisal of the PI’s work. It’s also important to ask if any former clients would be willing to speak with you directly about their experiences with the PI.
Ask about their experience investigating cases similar to your case.
Choosing an investigator with specific experience in your type of case will help ensure they know how to properly conduct the investigation and gather evidence that will be useful in court.
If you’re hiring a firm, ask how many people will be working on your case.
If you’re hiring a firm, ask how many people will be working on your case. You don’t want just one investigator; you want the best team possible.
Ask about the investigators’ experience in the field. If they have relevant experience, that’s great. If not, ask why they think they’re qualified for your case.
If you’re working with an individual, ask for a list of past clients and their contact information. You need to know if your investigator has worked with people who were in similar situations as yours and what was their experience with them. This is especially important if you’re considering hiring someone who isn’t licensed or experienced in the field yet — often times they’ll advertise themselves as being “experienced” when they really haven’t done anything yet!
Ask how long they’ve been in business or practicing as a private investigator (if applicable). The longer someone has been doing this work, the better chance there is that their work will be good quality and consistent over time.
Do you have references I can call?
Many PIs will provide referrals from their past clients. This is a good way to get an idea of how they performed on other cases.
Get a Detailed Quote of Services and Fees
Before hiring a private investigator, ask for an estimate of what services will cost and how long it will take to complete them. You may also want to ask about any additional fees that may apply during the investigation process.
Choosing the right private investigator for your case can be challenging, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to help you find the best fit. Now, let’s get started!