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With more than 50,000 private investigators licensed in the United States, you might be confused as to how to hire a private investigator.

Below we have outlined some tips to help you out.

Ask Around

The most logical place to find investigators is through referrals. Ask attorneys or friends who may have some direct knowledge and experience with a private investigator. Also, search the Web to find investigators who may have specialty skills in the area you are interested in pursuing.

Do Your Due Diligence

Don’t let a fancy website or a referral from a friend of a friend of a friend fool you. Do your homework. Do some searches on the Web to see if they have been mentioned in the media or in other publications. Make sure they are licensed.

Check Licensing

Most states have licensing requirements for private investigators. Make sure you check the local state licensing board to make sure they are licensed and there are no disciplinary actions filed against them.

Related Experience

You wouldn’t hire a wills and estates attorney to represent you in a criminal matter. Investigators have specialties too. Make sure they have experience in cases that are similarly related. It doesn’t need to be a perfect fit, but make sure you are comfortable with their previous experience.

Retaining an Investigator

Before retaining a private investigator, you should determine if you want to hire a private investigator on your own or through an attorney. Hiring a private investigator through an attorney gives you some additional protection in keeping the investigation confidential.

Engagement Letter

Most investigative firms will require a signed engagement outlining the general terms of the engagement. The engagement letter will also include terms of payment as well as deliverables, such as a report or a surveillance video.

Retainer/Deposit

If you are using an investigator for the first time, most private investigators will require a retainer. The retainer/deposit will be applied against any investigative activities.

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8 replies
  1. Dom
    Dom says:

    When you are Hiring a Private Investigator please make sure you know who you are using and always phone up multiple companies and get qoutes and ask for experiance. They are alot of Private Investigators in the UK who are setting up all over from their bedroom with very little knowledge, experiance, man power and equipment.
    A must ask question is; How long have you been trading for and where are you based.

    • Brian Willingham
      Brian Willingham says:

      I know plenty of great investigators who work out of their home office, so I am not sure that is a reason to disqualify someone. Fortunately, investigators can work from almost anywhere.

  2. sanju
    sanju says:

    Hire a investigator is very easy, Find investigators is through referrals. Ask attorneys or friends who may have some direct knowledge and experience with a private investigator. Also, search the Web to find investigators who may have specialty skills in the area you are interested in pursuing.

  3. Robin Tom
    Robin Tom says:

    We have also one detective agency and I have gene the knowledge how we will hire what quality of the one professional detective and also I have share this blog to my all detective friends.

  4. Thailand Private Detective
    Thailand Private Detective says:

    I’m the owner of a “Private Investigators Agency” in Bangkok (Thailand). The advises here up are good but for us (in Thailand) it has to be changed a little => We do not have licenses for Professional PI! BUT you should look if the Agency is Registered on the DBD (Department of Business Development)! All “official” business have too! We have a lot of scamers here!

  5. Rohit tom
    Rohit tom says:

    I own a private investigators firm and I will take care before hire the private investigators in my firm according your above information. Thanks for sharing this blog once again many thanks for this.

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