Hiring a private investigator is not an everyday course of action for most people. Unless you are an insurance agent or an attorney, there is very little chance of you even knowing a PI or an investigative agency. This lack of knowledge and the inexperience may put you at a disadvantage when you are desperate, and that is when many turn to private investigators. There are certain things, however that are best cleared out before you decide to hire the services of a PI. Here are somethings you should consider:
1. License and Insurance
Each state has a different approach in the way it hands out licenses to private investigators. In most states however, it is illegal indulge in investigative activities without a license. So do not shy away from questioning the PI you are about to hire about the license to practice. He/she should also provide an insurance for proof of liability. If you notice any hesitation to show you the license, you may suspect that something isn’t right.
2. Work Samples and References
Ask the PI for previous samples of his/her investigations and samples of references. You may not be provided with details and names due to client confidentiality, but based on the reports and references, it is possible to see how good the quality of work and proficiency is.
3. Billing Specifics
You should talk about the payment, write up a contract and make sure you are clear on the fine print. Some jobs may take longer than normal to complete and may carry additional charges. Billing of phone calls, travel fare, and stand by time is allowed, so make sure you get what you are paying for.
4. Range of Service Provided
In case of a big agency, it can provide a range of services apart from basic fact-finding. If any of its services seem relevant to your situations and case, you can opt for it.
5. Methods Employed by the PI
Don’t be afraid to ask your private investigator what methods they will be using. He/she may not be completely open with all of them, but just make sure the gray areas in their practice are discussed. Just like any other profession, there are certain guidelines and ethical boundaries that have to be kept. Illegally procured information may not hold up in courts as evidence and that can put you and your PI in a bad light. So speak to the Private Investigator and be clear about the laws in the operating state.
Many practicing private investigators are good at what they do so it would do you good to have a thorough discussion with the agency or the individual. Try your absolute best to give all the details and be specific. Not all investigations will bear the outcome you expect and so keep in mind what Sherlock Holmes would say, that you should twist theories to fit facts and not twist facts to fit theories.