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Before you hire a private investigator

Hiring a private investigator does not have to be a challenging and stressful experience. Use these simple guidelines as a roadmap to locating the right investigator for your case:

State- Issued Licensing

  • There is no national licensing system for private investigators. PI licensing is regulated on the state level.
  • Currently the only states that do not require private investigators to be licensed are: Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, & Wyoming
  • Always contact the appropriate state-licensing agency to confirm an investigator’s license is current and in good standing prior to hiring them.

Licensing Link


PI Firms vs. Individuals

  • One key choice in hiring a PI is whether to hire an individual or an investigative firm.
  • Firms typically employ greater resources and are ideal for cases requiring large amounts of surveillance and manpower.
  • Individual PI’s can often provide on a wealth of knowledge with issues including: location of persons, background investigations, asset investigations etc.
  • Be sure to choose an investigator or firm that employs the necessary resources and prior experience to properly address your needs.

Hiring a Private Investigator

  • It is important to feel comfortable with the PI you choose as matters that require private investigation cases are often of a sensitive nature.
  • Look for individuals who are able to think “outside of the box” and adapt to changing situations easily.
  • Always request a signed contract or agreement listing the private investigators services, fees, and terms. This protects both parties.
  • Be sure to ask a potential investigator as many questions as possible. If your not comfortable with their answers, demeanor, or experience you should find another private investigator with who you are.

Questions to Ask Your Investigator

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many cases of this nature have you handled?
  • What is your success rate with cases of this nature?
  • What are your rates and fees?
  • How many licensed investigators are working on your license?
  • Do you have experience testifying in court?
  • Do you take video of surveillance operations?
  • Can you perform covert surveillance as needed?
  • Can you provide a reference of an attorney you’ve worked for in the past?
  • Can you provide a reference of a business entity you’ve worked for in the past?
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Rating: 4.5/5 (10 votes cast)
Hiring a P.I., 4.5 out of 5 based on 10 ratings

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