8 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Private Investigator ©
MISTAKE #1: Choosing a private investigator based on a single telephone call. Instead, request to meet the investigator in person at his office. Make sure he is successful enough to have an office and staff and that he’s not running the business out of a Starbucks or McDonald’s. Additionally, by meeting him in person, you’ll be able to get a better feel for the investigator’s level of integrity, whether he really seems to have an understanding regarding your case and whether he seems physically capable of getting the job done.
MISTAKE #2: Choosing a private investigator without seeing an example of his work product.
Always ask to see an example of what can be expected as far as “concrete proof.” The quality of a written report and photographs, in addition to video are going to be the end product...the evidence proving/disproving your suspicions that could end up in court (or that you might just want to lock away for a day in the future). If this is an important issue to you, you’re not going to want shoddy work product.
MISTAKE #3: Choosing a private investigator based on low price: In most cases, low price means the investigator doesn’t have the reputation for getting results which enables him/her to demand the higher rates. Being a “budget PI” is the only way some investigators know how to get business for themselves. There is usually a hidden price that goes with “cheap.” Do you really want to risk paying that price on the issue for which you’re considering hiring a private investigator? Low price can be the bait that gets you to retain him, but once the investigator gets on the case, will he have the experience or know-how to get results?
MISTAKE #4: Choosing a private investigator without considering his experience. If your private investigator isn’t a close friend or isn’t coming recommended by a trusted advisor, you may not know whether he has the skills or experience to handle your case. A law enforcement background can definitely be an advantage for a private investigator when it comes to things like credibility and knowing how to think on your feet in stressful situations. On the other hand, being a former federal agent who spent most of one’s career conducting white collar investigations that dragged on for years doesn’t necessarily mean one knows how to get to the bottom of a cheating spouse or child custody investigation.
MISTAKE #5: Choosing a private investigator who doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. In my view, every private investigation company should be fully accountable for its work. And if you aren’t pleased with the job in every way, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Period. Not many investigators offer a guarantee. Or, if they do, the guarantee may be “limited.” Ask the investigator if he offers a money-back guarantee.
MISTAKE #6: Choosing a private investigator without getting comments from his other clients. Any private investigator can say anything about his past jobs. And, sadly, some of what he says may not be true. Make sure you ask for references or read comments from past clients so you can depend on the investigator and his work.
MISTAKE #7: Choosing a private investigator who isn’t licensed by the state’s Department of Homeland Security. If you want to be sure you’re hiring a competent professional, make sure he is licensed by the state. The investigator must earn that certification through study, extensive background investigations, experience and successful completion of formal, written examinations.
MISTAKE #8: Choosing a private
investigator who doesn’t use state-of-the-art, real-time GPS trackers.
You might expect this from me, since we are the most experienced and
have the most and best GPS trackers of any PI business in the state.
GPS trackers aren’t useful in all investigations, but there are
several scenarios where they can be invaluable. GPS trackers,
when used by authorized persons in a legal manner can often quickly and
safely bring a case to closure. GPS trackers don’t tell the
whole truth about exactly who is/isn’t doing what with who, but
compared with not having them, real-time GPS trackers can reduce man
hours and reduce the risks of the investigation being compromised. So
all the way around, you get a much better value. No two ways about it.