Questions You Should Ask a Private Investigator Before Hiring

Are you thinking of hiring a private investigator?

Engaging a competent private eye is your best bet if you want to investigate a criminal case, financial scam, missing person, adultery, or financial fraud, among other things. However, when finding the right person for the job, many get stuck, unsure how the first conversation should go and what questions they should ask. To ensure you are getting the best PI on the market, here are questions you need to ask.

1. Do you have a Valid License?

Except for about five states; most states require private investigators to be licensed for consumer protection and accountability. So, it is a good idea to have a licensed PI take on your case.

Always ask the investigator if they can produce a copy of their license. The license is proof that the investigator has undertaken all the necessary training, understands the legal elements of the job, and operates within the confines of the law. Also, evidence obtained legally by a PI is much more admissible and useful in court if the investigator is licensed. And should anything go wrong during the investigation, such as damage or misstep, it is easier for a licensed PI to get off the hook.

It is important to note that PIs are not police officers and cannot produce a police badge instead of a PI license.

2. Which areas are you specialized in?

Inquire if the investigator has expertise in the area you are trying to uncover. Ask about their background and any proof or certifications they have. PIs with a defined skill set have a deeper understanding of the subject matter and a stronger sense of purpose. PIs who are experts in one particular field will thus guarantee better quality results.

3. What experience do you have?

Let’s face it; the chances are that an established PI who has been plying their trade for a long time is more competent and knowledgeable. As with any other profession, an experienced PI knows the ins and outs of the job, are good at what they do, and can easily work their way around hurdles. They know how to listen, watch and gather information without being obtrusive. More than that, experienced PIs also have reputations to uphold and are less likely to disappoint.

Before committing to anything, request how long they have been in the business. Find out any related cases the PI had worked on before and how they worked around to get the desired results. Furthermore, to provide a sense of legitimacy, ask the investigator to give references, superior documentation, and concrete proof of related past projects such as written reports, photographs, and videos. Remember, a law enforcement background is a plus but not a must.

4. What Information Do You Require from me?

Private investigators will often ask for access to sensitive and confidential information from their clients in order to have the information needed for the case at hand. They might want to delve into personal details, financial records, and information on marriages, divorces, family members, business associates if necessary.

Find out from the PI about the type and amount of information they will expect you to share. Then, before committing to the investigator, figure out if you can easily access the necessary information and whether it is safe to share.

5. Will my information be Safe and Confidential?

Before subscribing to a PI, you need to ask if they can guarantee the information you share will be safe.

With the rising fraud cases, you do not want your sensitive and confidential information in the hands of swindlers looking to rip you off. So, confirm that the PI will store your data in a secure and completely foolproof database that third parties cannot access. What's more, verify that the modes of payments are credible, trusted, and traceable.

6. How much do you charge?

It is important to know how much the PI charges for the service you are seeking and whether or not it is within your budget. Unfortunately, many mistrusting investigators will promise a budget price for their services only to make a fortune out of it. So before closing the deal, ask about all the charges and their modes of payment. 

Not just that. Ask if they have a guarantee and still have to pay in full if you are not pleased with their work and make sure you have a contract in place to protect yourself.

Beware of deals that are too good to be true, pushy sales tactics, and investigators who label themselves as 'budget PI.' Most of them are cons who are looking to take advantage of your understandable natural desire for good bargains and irresistible offers and hijack your hard-earned money.

7. How will I communicate with you?

Most PIs are very busy and can be difficult to get in contact with. Find out from the investigator how you will be communicating with them and which times they are readily available. Ensure your ultimate choice is responsive to your calls and can communicate effectively and efficiently.

8. Can you Testify in Court?

A good PI should have experience testifying in court and vast knowledge of the legal system. If you are dealing with a legal case it is especially important to hire a private eye that can readily present the evidence they have gathered to the court. So ask the investigator if they are willing to testify and present their findings in court and if they can work with your lawyer before making the decision to hire them.

In a Nutshell

If you have any case that you want to be blown wide open, hiring a PI is well worth the investment. Even so, you will need to talk to the PI and ask questions in order to determine if they are the right fit for you. Ask them where they are located, guarantees, names, and past clients' contact who can give testimonials and more. Additionally, request to meet in person if at all possible.

 Run an Internet Background Check by searching the company's name on Google. A legitimate should appear in searches unless if it is a new business. Read past clients' reviews and recommendations, if any. If in need of a qualified private investigator, you can always contact us and seek free consultation.