Discreet Investigation Service

How to Choose a Private Investigator


Hiring a private investigator is not something most people expect to do. It’s typically not a very common conversation topic amongst friends. You will quickly notice that all Investigators (at least within the State Of Connecticut) need to be licensed, insured, and bonded. However, you should look far beyond these three factors in order to hire a good private investigator. Below are some of the major questions to ask when considering a private investigator.

how to choose a private investigator

How long have you been in business?

Experience is key. Not only should the company know how to advise you on how to run the case, but how their agents should conduct the case as well. They should also know the laws that need to be followed, signs to look for while running the case, and a host of other factors to be looked at as evidence is found. Keep in mind that there are a lot of retired law enforcement that cross over into the private sector. Don’t let this factor into your decision because retired law enforcement officer’s previous line of work will certainly help them in criminal investigations, but civil investigations are completely different.

A good private investigator will need to know:

  • How to conduct discreet surveillance (including not drawing attention from parties not involved in the matter such as neighbors or bystanders)
  • The amount and type of evidence needed for different types of civil investigations

Do you subcontract your work?

This is to ensure that your case doesn't get passed of the desk of the original person you spoke with and into someone else's office or company. While it’s okay for the person managing your case not to be the one in the field doing the work, you should make sure that he or she is the one directing what happens and how the case is conducted. You don't want things to get lost or forgotten if they are shuffling files to the next subcontractor on the list.

How many agents work for your company?

In civil investigations, availability is key. If you hire a company that’s too small, they may not be able to provide service within a couple hours of a client getting information that needs to be acted on. A company with 4 to 8 agents should always be able to handle your case with limited notice.

What are the fees associated with hiring a private investigator?

There are many one- and two-man agencies out there that will undercut any price, which is something to be concerned with. If a company needs to constantly undercut prices or advertise they will beat any price, find someone else. This is not like buying a car; good private investigator agencies will have standard rates that they work with. They may offer discounts or sliding scales, which is reasonable. Before you hire a company, find out about factors such as:

    • Travel time
    • Mileage
    • Court testimony fees
    • Report fees
    • Telephone call fees
    • Photo/video fees

Most companies charge for these items and it could significantly change the cost of the investigation.

What type of equipment do you use?

The kind of equipment a company has can be an important factor. While a company doesn’t need thousands of dollars’ worth of cameras and as-seen-on-TV spy tools, you should still make sure the equipment they’re using is high quality and that they know how to use it. Simply asking about types of cameras will give you a sense of what they know about the field. Access to GPS systems and computer databases is also important and if the company cares about what they do, they will give you an answer that’s thoughtful and sincere.

Make sure whomever you hire as a private investigator is someone you feel comfortable with. There is a chance you may receive evidence that is sad, hurtful, and even life-changing. The right person will go out of their way to deliver it as easy as possible.

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