Private investigators are a legal option through which individuals and businesses can perform background checks, learn information, and discover secrets.
Each investigative firm will offer slightly different services, but some aspects of the work should be consistent regardless of individual investigators. Keep reading to learn the important factors to consider when hiring private investigators.
Do they have a valid license?
Almost all states require private investigators to be licensed. Once you know that you want to hire a private investigator, start doing research into what PI licenses are required in your state. Once you know what to look for, research licensed individuals and firms who can show you their licenses at your first meeting. Investigators are also supposed to have insurance, so check for that when you inquire about the license.
Are they willing to meet you?
As we mentioned above, the PI you’re planning to hire should be willing to meet with you in person before you hire them. An in-person meeting is the best way to get to know the investigator and see if you feel comfortable with them. They should be willing to answer your questions clearly; if they refuse to do so or make you uncomfortable in any way, they’re not the right PI for you. There are a series of things that PIs can’t do, so if they mention any illegal tactics, you’ll know they’re not a trustworthy choice.
Do they share proof of success?
Before you hire a PI, you need to know whether they’ve had previous success in situations similar to yours. A good PI should be able to share previous experience, including a work sample and a contract sample. Look through these samples to get a good idea of what will be included in your deal, and make sure there’s a section in the contract about confidentiality. If the investigation is part of a legal matter, make sure that the contract also has a section on court testimonies.
The PI should also make testimonials and references available. Their work is obviously discreet, but there should be at least three people who can tell you about the investigator’s work ethic, results, and professionalism. Many PIs are members of professional organizations that help keep them up to date on legislature and provide educational opportunities. Evidence of this membership is additional proof of the PI’s dedication to success.
Are they open with pricing?
The individual or firm you’re hiring should be open about the price and shouldn’t be dirt cheap. Cheap rates can mean low-quality results, lack of licensure or insurance, or inexperience. Cheap investigations can backfire, breaking confidentiality or even hurting your legal case.
These are the four factors to consider when hiring private investigators: having a valid license, willingness to meet, sharing proof of success, and being open with pricing. After checking these four important factors, you can hire a PI that you trust.