Choosing a Private Investigator

Almost every new caller has said to me “I’ve never hired a private investigator” or ” I never thought I’d need a private investigator”.

A long time ago, I said the same thing about a primary care physician. Point being, it’s no different than any other occasion that calls for you to exercise good judgment as a consumer.

If you need the services of a professional, you have several options you can explore. The internet is, by far, the most valuable of your resources. A simple keyword search is the best place to start. Just remember that the first listings posted at the top of your results page are not always the best choice. You may want to look at several different investigators before you find one that makes you feel good. You can also follow-up by checking other sites such as Yelp and your local Better Business Bureau.

People who are looking for a private investigator need to consider one very important characteristic. Professional work ethics. The difference between a good experience and a bad one can fall on this simple rule of “professionalism”. Unfortunately for me, I have experienced the full ethical spectrum of professionalism in the field of professional services. I have experienced first hand the police officer that had no tact, character or compassion for the community s/he serves. I’ve experienced the nurse that didn’t have a clue of the emotional impact his/her thoughtless behavior had on a patient in the emergency room.

Quite frankly, there are investigators that are only concerned with getting paid. No big surprise. But in my humble opinion, the biggest differences between the good ones and the bad ones can be something as simple as character and professionalism. The best you can do is this…talk to the person you want to hire. The more you talk, the more you will learn. Just be mindful of their response to your concerns, as well as your budget. Hopefully, they will also talk to you, and not just listen. The more questions they ask of your situation, the more eager they will likely be to deliver quality efforts. The less they ask, the more likely they are only interested in getting paid. Or maybe they’re just too busy to take the time to talk to you and you may not get their best efforts during the investigation process.

As I stated, the best you can do is meet the person you want to hire. And, if possible, do not hire anyone based solely on a phone conversation. Meet them, shake their hand and look into their eyes. This alone can tell you a lot. And if you simply don’t have the time to set up an appointment to meet with your potential investigator, just make sure the phone conversation covers more than what it will cost you. Every private investigator I’ve met charges by the hour. They also charge for expenses like mileage and lodging for travel. This is very common, and is to be expected.

Finally, don’t let your emotions make the decision for you. And don’t think you have to make the decision hastily. Take the time to look for feedback, and to get feedback from friends or family. Keep in mind, your situation is unique in the sense that it’s happening to you. Make sure you are treated like a person, not like a client, from the beginning, and through the course of the entire investigation.