A private investigator, also sometimes called a private detective, is a hired professional who specializes in surveillance, research, and investigating or finding particular individuals.
While a private investigator is not a law enforcement officer, he or she may have some sort of law enforcement or criminal justice background. Private investigators can also work for companies or individuals alike.
Here are the top five tips for hiring a private investigator:
Private investigators can cover an extremely wide variety of work, though different investigators will specialize in different areas. For example, the investigator who would hire for investigating insurance fraud is not the same investigator who you would hire for investigating crime such as theft.
Examples of what private investigators are capable of include investigating or finding individuals, locating stolen property, investigating crimes, conducting background checks on new potential employees, surveillance and monitoring, and conducting case research for lawyers.
Never hire a private investigator who’s services costs more than you can afford. When you meet face-to-face with your investigator, talking about their fees is one of the very first things you should discuss.
How much does a private investigator cost to follow someone? Most will charge by the hour, and while it largely depends upon their expertise and your location, most private investigators will charge anywhere from forty dollars to one hundred dollars an hour. The average price that you can expect to pay will be fifty dollars to seventy five dollars.
The vast majority of states require that private investigators be licensed. In fact, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, Idaho, and Colorado are the only five states that do not require private investigators to be licensed.
Making sure your investigator is licensed doesn’t mean just asking them if they are licensed. It means actually requesting their license number and then comparing it with your local municipality to confirm that it is legitimate. While you’re at it, check to see if any complaints have ever been filed against the investigator.
Before you officially hire your investigator, you will need to conduct as much research on them as possible, and this means gathering referrals for the investigator to confirm that they will be reliable. Look up reviews online and ask around any friends or relatives for advice on any investigators they may have hired. Ask the potentials investigators themselves if they have references.
Last but not least, the investigator you hire must have an office. If they don’t, then there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to walk up to them in person, and this means that there’s always a chance they may not follow through on what you’ve hired them to do.
While there are many tips you should follow when hiring a private investigator, the five that we have covered are easily the most important ones.