Shop around to find a small company with one or two Investigators. A good rule to go by is to look for personalized service. If the Private Investigator answers your calls and has 10 plus years of experience and guarantees they will work your case from beginning to end at a fair rate, prepare the evidence in house and be by your side in court. This will make for a better partnership as well as lower your cost. Once you feel comfortable with the Investigator ask the following questions.
Ask for Agency & P.I. license numbers. Check with the state department of license to verify.
Ask for direct communication with your Investigator so you can determine his experience level in the type of investigation to be conducted.
Get a Guaranteed rate by the hour and any additional expenses. Ask for a contract to protect you from additional fees.
Private investigators will usually charge an hourly rate. Hourly rates can vary depending on the size and structure of the company. It also differs by state.
Rates can vary depending on the company and its overhead cost. A majority of the companies hire sub-Contractors to work your case this will cause your cost to increase. The best way to save money is to hire a small operation with a home office. If you can find a company where the Investigator answers your call, works your case, prepares the evidence, and testifies as your professional witness in court you will most likely get a fair rate.
See the above paragraph. Usually the larger Investigation services employ office personal to handle calls and to prepare reports and video. They may also staff sales personal, operation managers and salary investigators. In most cases they will hire a sub-contractor from a single Investigator company to work your case, therefore you are basically being billed twice the amount you should be.
Not always. They are usually the larger companies with a huge advertising budget. Just because they are in the top three positions doesn't mean they have better Private Investigators. It usually means you will talk to the answering service before your talk to the operations manager, and you may never speak with the Investigator working on your case. My advice is to find an experienced Private Investigator that will provide you with personal service at a fair rate.
Examples: Database research, Social media research, Motor vehicle registration check.
The laws are very vague and are different by state. The best way to protect you is to hire a licensed and insured Private Investigator to handle the process. Make sure he is up to date on the laws. Usually but not always if the tracker is install on marital property it is your legal right to do so.
Most states have online public databases you can use to verify an agency's or individual's investigation license. Usually it's the Secretary of State website. Look for license verification tab.
There are many types of investigations for example; criminal which is most likely defense work, Insurance fraud case such as worker comp and liability cases. Domestic cases include child welfare and custody issues. Infidelity cases for a cheating spouse or partner. Of course as in most jobs the more experience the better. For Criminal cases the experience should include a background in criminal law. Interviewing skills are very important as well as resources in law enforcement or government intelligence. Domestic Investigations also require good resources; however the most important asset is being skilled in mobile surveillance. You can't secure evidence if you lose your target or get spotted by the target. This skill takes years to develop. If the Investigator has been working Domestic and Insurance cases for a long period those skills should be second nature. Last but not least is the equipment used by the Private Investigator? Keeping up with advancing technology is important. The Investigator should have state of the art cameras, night vision and trackers etc. Background and Asset Investigations require good resources such as databases as well as personal sources in the banking, Insurance, and government agencies.