Choosing a private investigator
You may have to prepare to spend a certain amount of money, but in exchange for some peace of mind, you need to determine if this is money well spent.
Private investigators are far from what we have seen on television. Contrary to how they are portrayed in the movies, private investigators are actually licensed professionals with an understanding of investigative techniques and some may even have a background in criminology.
They usually make use of a camera to gather proof.
But before anything else, there are certain things you should know when choosing a private investigator.
Ask to see his license
First of all, you need to make sure that your private investigator has a license. Most states do require that those referring to themselves as “investigators” and engaging in “investigations” are licensed.
Some services provided through online companies like credit checks, criminal record checks and background checks fall under information brokerages, not private investigation and therefore are not licensed as such.
Make sure to check out your private investigator’s license—a copy of this document should be readily available. So make sure to ask for it.
Sign a contract
When choosing a private investigator, you must sign a contract. Keep in mind that hiring a P.I. is a legitimate business transaction that requires a contract. Do not work with anyone that refuses to draw up and sign a contract.
Another item to consider when choosing a private investigator is experience. Many P.I.’s go through a brief 2-month certification course, so make sure the one you hire has years of experience.
Remember, you are paying for your investigator’s time—and this may very well be put to waste due to lack of experience. You are also paying for confidentiality, thus this may easily be lost if your private investigator accidentally gives this away through slip-ups like being caught following your spouse.
To determine just how much experience your private investigator has, ask him for his background and career history—find out how many years he has been a P.I., how many times he has investigated on spousal infidelity, and what his success rate is.
Does your P.I. have insurance?
It may be very easy to overlook this next item when choosing a private investigator: insurance. But were you aware that when you hire a P.I., he and his representatives become your agents and anything they do in your service becomes your legal responsibility?
Anything that takes place during the course of your contracted service including any damage or harm they may inflict on property or person as well as car accidents and the like becomes your responsibility.
So before you sign the agreement with your P.I., make sure that his agency has insurance to cover any damages that may occur and more importantly, insist that this is included in your contract prior to signing it.
Do your due diligence
Rates may vary, but do remember that more experience, better equipment and the know-how that comes with this experience will probably cost more. However, given these, you may end up with an investigation that will give you results in a shorter period of time—thus, possibly saving you some money in the long run.
So, when choosing a private investigator, do your homework. Shop around, compare prices but take into account the P.I.’s level of experience and track record. These may spell the difference between a successful investigation and a failed one.