Real Estate

The Beginner’s Guide to Investigators

Tips for Hiring a Private Investigator

Reasons for using a private investigator can be legal, like when a court of law needs a certain witness whose whereabouts is unknown, or personal, like when you’re searching for a lost loved one, discovering your biological lineage, or confirming doubts of a cheating spouse. In any case, take take time to choose the right investigator and ensure a positive outcome.


Private investigators are required to have a license to practice in most states. And they must be able to furnish you a copy of such a license whenever you ask. Note that there are several companies providing private investigation services online without the necessary qualifying background. Because the industry is unregulated, anybody can do just that. Most of these companies are merely “information brokers” who get access to public records, such as addresses, phone numbers, and the like. Before hiring anyone, know who you’re dealing with and the type of service you’re signing up for, as well as the quality of results they can give.

To Meet or Not to Meet

Is it important to meet your private investigator? Experts say no, not unless you feel it’s important. Investigators can do what they do quickly and without causing inconvenience to anyone, so the need for a meeting depends on the client.

Written Contract

Like any other service, you need a contract that indicates your reason or reasons for using the investigator as well as the results you’re expecting. If an investigator doesn’t and can’t give you a contract, take your business elsewhere.

Professional Experience

You may find it hard to believe, but some people offering private investigation services have little to no investigative background. These may be police or military retirees who suddenly decide that being a “private investigator” would be exciting, so they enrol in a two-month private investigation course and start advertising themselves as private investigators!These could be ex-cops or military personnel who all of a sudden decide they want to be a “private investigator,” so they sign up for a two-month private investigation class and voila, they’ve got a new career!Sometimes, these are police or military retirees looking for some excitement, thinking that finishing a two-month private investigation course is enough to launch them a new career as private investigators! It is obviously critical that you know the your prospective investigator’s qualifications and experience. More experience often yields better results overall. They don’t have to be former FBI agents or ninjas, but your private investigator should be a surveillance expert.


Remember that the private investigator you hire is working for you. If your agent gets in a car accident or accidentally ruins someone’s property while performing his job, you could end up paying for the losses, but not if they are insured. On top of that, your identity will be revealed as the person who hired the investigator, and that can spell more trouble. Hence, before hiring an investigator, make sure they have insurance coverage, and never hesitate to ask for proof.

Finally, keep in mind that private investigators not created equal. Most probably, you will get what you pay for.

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