March 11, 2022

How to choose the right Private Investigator in 8 steps?

Private Investigators are not just characters from novels or movies, and when the need arises, the prospect must look beyond his fantasized vision. The Private Research Agent is an excellent way to collect strategic information and is often necessary for managing evidence in a litigation file.When an individual, a company, or a local authority wants to hire a PrivateInvestigator, the stakes are often so high that it is better to make the right choice before starting a private investigation. It would help if you did not put your destiny in the hands of a dishonest, overpriced, insufficiently competent, or illegal Private Investigator.


Here are the eight steps to follow in choosing an excellent Private Investigator.


1 Know your needs and define your budget and area of​​intervention.

2 Carefully research survey professionals.

3 Choose a License Private Investigator

4 Evaluate the Private Investigator during an interview.

5 Consult and complete the contract.

6 Ask for a quote.

7 Recognize quality work

8 Detect pitfalls and bad practices.


Know your needs and define your budget and area of​​intervention.

Questions to ask yourself before contacting a PrivateInvestigator

It often happens that prospects get Private Investigators and ask very open questions, apparently more out of curiosity and general information gathering than an actual strategy.

 The Private Investigator is a professional in the administration of evidence. Its role is strategic in collecting EconomicIntelligence information, for example, or gathering evidence to defend everyone.

 As such, do not ask yourself what the Private Investigator could do for you, but rather directly what you expect from him. This is possible by first questioning your lawyer, for example. When clients remain too vague, the good Private Investigator will always try to reframe this kind of question: What do you want to prove?


Once you know what you want, whether it is collecting evidence on a malicious employee, an unfaithful spouse, or any fraud, you will have to ask yourself where the intervention should occur. It is not always a question of taking the closest Private Investigator but the one whose "seriousness/proximity"ratio is the best. It is better to have an excellent Private Investigator 50miles from the principal place of intervention than an unskilled amateur located 20 miles away. The proportion of fees is always more significant than that of travel expenses.

Conversely, do not take an agency in New York to intervene in Miami. Unless the situation is extraordinary and the trust you place in yourPrivate Investigator is essential. He will then move freely and investigate far from his base or even abroad.


As for the budget, there is not much to specify except that you should only hire a Private Investigator when you can pay it. So already know the sums you are ready to invest in a survey, bearing in mind that this approach always generates a high cost.


Carefully research survey professionals.

Find a Private Investigator

Once you know what you want or what you hope for and your financial limit in mind (if you have one), you will have to find someone who can meet your request. For this, there are several avenues to explore and avoid.


Ask your lawyer for advice because if he sends you to aPrivate Investigator, it is because he has already had a report in his hands and therefore knows the quality of the work provided. It is the preferred prescriber.

Use word of mouth because sometimes you have, in your entourage, a friend, a colleague, a member of your family who has already called on a Private Investigator. He will then give you a feeling based on areal customer experience.

Searching for a Private Investigator on the Internet makes it possible to target professionals, sometimes geographically, on search engines. This is the most used method.

Don't settle for directories. Visit the websites of private investigation companies. Avoid sites that are too amateur, which sometimes prove the lack of involvement of the professional, but do not let yourself bedazzled by a website whose sole purpose of content is to give the impression that the professional exercises where he is not yet.

Beware of social networks if they are in tandem with the agency's website, no problem. But an agency that communicates ONLY through social networks may not be a Private Investigative Agency but more an amateur practicing illegally and making himself known through this means.

Flee like the plague from sites offering to compare several professionals by obtaining quotes. Firstly because getting a quote from aPrivate Investigator only makes sense when he has heard your need in detail, then because it is an aberration in terms of professional secrecy, which is not guaranteed by anything, also because it is a place of gathering of illegal workers (the verification of authorizations is rarely done by these sites) and finally because they issue false rewards (type TOP PRO of the year, etc.) which are transmitted to each registered agency. The goal is to make them appear on the agencies' sites divert their references, and the only purpose is to obtain "clicks."

Choose a licensed Private Investigator.

The approvals and certifications of Private Detectives

Today, it is no longer possible to practice the profession of Private Investigator in Florida outside any legal framework.


If the Private Detective agency you have chosen is in good standing, the manager must have an approval number starting with C. The agency must have the authorization to practice whose number begins with A (be careful, each secondary establishment must have an authorization number and not only the head office). Finally, each interviewer employee must have a professional card whose number begins with C.


This information must be communicated on any commercial document, contracts, advertising media, etc. So, a severe agency will always put forward its authorization numbers. These numbers can be checked on the site:

Keep in mind that FDACS approval is the minimum required. If the agency does not have it, then it is operating illegally.Nothing prevents you from being more demanding by looking at possible additional certifications.


Evaluate the Private Investigator during an interview.

Questions to ask when interviewing a Private Investigator

A physical meeting will always be preferred over exchanges only by email or telephone. In some cases, often due to distance, it will not be possible to talk face to face with the Private Investigator. The previous steps will then be all the more critical.


But if you have the opportunity to see the PrivateInvestigator (flee the one who cannot receive you), here are the elements to check and discuss with him (or her):


Where is the meeting? A private investigation agency must, ethically, receive you on-premises suitable for this. If you wish to meet thePrivate Investigator outside or at home, it is possible. Still, if he is the one who imposes it on you and cannot receive you in a professional office and ensure the confidentiality of the exchanges, then it is a terrible sign.


The Private Investigator must respond to all your requests in terms of legal obligations.

How does the Private Investigator approach the conversation?He must be attentive to identify the overall situation and understand the legal framework of the mission. He is not there to sell you surveys like he would sell you a tin can. The Private Investigator must advise.

Does the Private Investigator ask you for material elements?Suppose he wants to do a good job. In that case, he must at least ask for practical information such as addresses, registration numbers, photographs, and supporting elements of legitimacy (identity document, contract, etc.).

You enter the meeting with an objective, a need. The survey professional must identify this need and explain what he can do, in what context, and whether the collection will be legally usable.


A little tip, if you ask for something illegal (access to prohibited files, investigation of a third party without real reason, use ofGPS beacons without notifying the driver of a vehicle, etc.) and the PrivateInvestigator replies: "no problem! », then he is not a professional of quality, if not a professional at all.

 Consult and complete the contract.

The Private Investigator Contract

No healthy business relationship without a clear contract.Trusting the man or woman in front of you is good but knowing a clear mission contract is better.


A Private Investigator assignment contract, possibly in the form of a power of attorney, must include a minimum of elements:


The identification of the parties with the company name, the head office of the agency, and the License numbers.

The mission devolved to the Private Investigator, that is to say, what he is concretely asked to accomplish.

The legal framework of the mission will be used to legitimize the intervention of the professional of the administration of the proof vis-à-vis a prejudice.

The general conditions must be read carefully to understand each party's duties fully and obligations, for example, to inform of the possible use of subcontracting (in the absence of general conditions, it is necessary to question the agency's seriousness).

Explicit agreements about signatures, i.e., clauses waiving the withdrawal period for contracts signed outside the agency or the use of personal data.

Request a quote from the Private Investigator

Some agencies attach a fee agreement that does not commit them to the time spent or the means implemented. To avoid a vagueness detrimental to your finances, ask the Private Investigator to edit an estimate.It will also be an opportunity to see if he is a professional who values ​​the quality of his work at fair value or if he is a "carpet salesman"ready to practice any commercial offer to "work." Keep in mind that aPrivate Investigator cannot work directly for clients at $30 per hour in our country. So, if this is the case or even less, then either he is making someone work illegally, or he will not perform all the hours indicated in the estimate.


This estimate will be easily and quickly produced when the person in front of you is an experienced quality professional, at least when the situation is not exceptionally complex. Indeed, the Private Investigator must be able, after your story and the request for additional information, to establish an estimate. This document will be used to guide you financially about your requirements and will also commit the private investigation agency to notify you in the event of unforeseen fees being exceeded.


It is not a question of seeing an estimated overall price appear at the bottom of the page but of having the opportunity to understand the details of the price requested by the Detective.


For this, it is better to favor a Private Research Agency providing an hourly scale and basing itself on it to come out with several fees. It is also good to see certain costs appear, such as mileage costs (per miles traveled) or scouting costs, purchase of goods necessary for the survey (restaurant, various tickets, etc.), and court report preparation costs.


Recognize quality work

Evaluate the quality of a Private Investigator

Congratulations, you have passed the previous steps and decided to sign with the selected Private Investigator. You then enter into an active process of the investigation, and it will be necessary to check that you have made the right choice with these few basic rules:


The private investigation agency must give you a retainer invoice or receipt when you pay for an investigation agreement, retainer or guarantee.


During the investigation, the private investigator must keep you informed of the progress of the file. You can also call him (without harassing him) to find out the progress of the investigation. If he refuses to give you any information, it is possible to doubt his involvement or the reality of his work.

When he has completed the investigation, he must give you an investigation report which will include a reminder of the parties involved, the presentation of the investigation agency, the information he has from the client, the legal framework, the assigned mission, the investigation itself(with the transcription of observed events) and a summary. If no element related to the purpose of the task has been noted, you can always request a report justifying the actions taken (without revealing details of the observations).

Beyond the content, take a good look at the style of the report. It must be as objective as possible, precise, not featuring the interviewer, and written in good French. Nothing can call into question good fieldwork more than a large number of spelling errors, a romantic style, or a transcription worthy of the remarks made at the café du commerce.

Upon delivery of the investigation report, the PrivateInvestigator will provide you with a detailed invoice including costs, taxes, and fees. And if he is conscientious and interested in his profession, he may ask you to keep him informed of the use and reception that a judge will have made of it.

Detect pitfalls and bad practices.

Bad Private Investigators

Finally, a small list of "deviant" behaviors of certain private research agencies. The goal is to think a little further when you spot them.


Claiming experience unrelated to private investigation. SomePrivate Investigators say they have 15 – 20 – 30 years of experience. In contrast, this experience has been built up in another field (this is the case, for example, of ex-police officers or gendarmes who are very skilled in criminal procedure but completely beginners in civil matters). Some also play on their age, but some 30-year-old Private Investigators are more experienced than 55-year-old Private Investigators who, sometimes, have changed careers or even taken over an old company to give the impression that their agency has existed for 20 years.

Communicate about their past as ex-members of the police.This is somewhat in line with what he said above, but it must be added that it is prohibited by the internal security code to take advantage of his former functions. If they do not respect the basic rules of the trade, you may wonder about their integrity.


Some Private Investigators think they give more legitimacy by displaying Bagged everywhere on their communication media. Remember once again that confusion with state organizations is prohibited.

To be everywhere… to finally be nowhere. Some websites have dozens or even hundreds of pages targeted to specific cities. A single goal: to be referenced in a remote area, capture a distance contract (hence the interest of being able to meet your Detective), then subcontract at a lower cost to another professional (in the best case) that you do have not chosen.

Give the impression of being big. Some brands are operated by agencies solely for SEO and advertising purposes. Thus, some young investigators are recruited on leaving school to capture a market in a given geographical area in exchange for a percentage of turnover. Nothing illegal in itself, but the client thinking of calling on a large structure established everywhere and with experience calls on a novice investigator benefiting from the notoriety of a brand and therefore incurring the costs of an intermediate.

Sell ​​private investigation AND private security. More and more structures are trying to divert the directives of the internal security code and offer a kind of continuum of personal safety by proposing investigations. This is prohibited.

This article will be updated regularly according to legal developments and professional practices. Hoping that it will be helpful to prospects and those curious about the profession of Private Investigator, and above all that, it will allow everyone to best choose a professional in the administration of evidence. Because this profession is fascinating and necessary to defend the interests of everyone, provided that it is exercised with honesty, efficiency, reserve, and benevolence.


For more information regarding private investigation services, contact

Universal investigations Agency, Inc. today at (954) 305-6275.


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By Victor Elbeze Lead Investigator & Owner of UniversalInvestigations Agency, Inc.


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