I Need a PI, What Do I Need to Know Before I Hire One?Not everyone needs a Private Investigator, but when you do require their services, what is the procedure in retaining one? What questions do you need to ask to find a PI that understands your circumstance, gets results that are verified and conducts the investigation discreetly?

The First Step is finding an Investigation Company that listens to you, a good PI will take notes of your conversation, give you recommendations, costs, turn-around time or if your case is possible. They will create an agreement for you to sign outlining the investigation to be accomplished, you may be required to pay a retainer up front. You will want to give them a budget and they should stay within that and obtain your authorization prior to exceeding it. Investigative Services can be costly, especially if surveillances are required.

Consultation: Look for a PI who offers a free consultation. You will know immediately if you and their company are a good fit. A consultation can be telephonic, but many perspective Clients request a personal introduction and come to our office. Remember, you will be sharing personal and delicate information with your Investigator, therefore meeting them in person and knowing that your information is secure is important.

Budget: A competent Investigator can estimate how much a case will cost to conduct and they should stay within that estimate, unless you, as a Client request additional information outside of the original scope. If that is the case, you should be prepared to pay for those additional expenses. But, if the investigator goes over your budget without your authorization, make sure the contract you sign states you will not be responsible for any charges above your agreed amount.

Check Out Their Website: Are they licensed? Do they carry insurance? How long have they been in business? Check out their reviews. Even if they have a few bad reviews take into consideration the length of time they have been conducting investigations, no company can be 100%. Ask them about the negative review(s). Interview the company and ask as many questions as it takes to create a comfort level.

Utilize the services of a full investigative company, one that can handle any type of case such as Domestic or Custody, Backgrounds, Pre-Employment, Insurance, Disability, Surveillance, TSCM (Technical Surveillance Countermeasures) Cell Phone and Computer Forensics so that all your requirements can be handled quickly and efficiently even if you require information outside of the state you reside. If you are represented by a law firm, ask for a referral from them. We work with many attorneys and a lot of our Clients contact us through their recommendations.

The reason to hire a private investigator may be complicated, but your hiring process doesn’t have to be.


Brenda J. McGinley