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If you’re planning to hire a private investigator, there are many things you need to consider. Surely, it’s not just about flashy websites or even hourly charges. You have to look deeper to make sure you find the right one for you.
First off, check if your prospect is licensed. Some states don’t require one from private investigators, but if they do require it where you live, hire doesn’t settle for someone without it.
Professional Background and Qualifications
Perhaps the most crucial step in hiring a private investigator is checking their professional background. Make sure they belong to at least one local or national investigative organization, where members are usually accepted based on the length of their experience. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to know if the investigator has a history of complaints from clients. And of course, consider your prospect’s specialty and make sure it aligns with your needs. For instance, if you need someone for a forensics probe, a surveillance investigator may not be your best choice.
Yet another important part of hiring a private investigator is checking if they are insured. And don’t be happy with a verbal claim. Ask for a copy of their certificate of insurance as proof that they are indeed insured. This will protect both them and you as a client.
Reviews and References
It’s amazing how helpful online reviews can be when it comes to knowing the reputation of an investigator. Of course, not all reviews on the Internet are reliable. You have to stick to well-known third-party consumer websites to ensure accuracy and credibility. Another thing you can do is ask your potential investigator for references. If they seem hesitant to give you any,
take that as a red flag and run.
When eyeing a certain investigator, ask them what equipment they will be using. For example, if you’re hiring them for surveillance, find out what wire-tapping devices they have on hand. Of course, they should also make use of video cameras, covert or body-worn cameras and others. In any case, choose an investigator who isn’t only knowledgeable and skilled but also well-equipped for the job.
Lastly, many people seem to have a closed mind when it comes to investigator fees, which is quite a big mistake. Remember, you’re not buying designer clothes or jewelry. You’re shopping for professional expertise. A good way to narrow down your list of prospects is by comparing a few prospects, though this won’t be very easy to do apples to apples. There are deeper, more complex questions to be asked.
For example, can you put a cap on the fees and costs of the case? Can they give you an estimate of your costs? After all, each case is unique. At the end of the day, you don’t want to choose an private investigator based on price alone. Instead, go with the one who can give you the most bang for your buck.