Almost every time someone hears the title “private investigator”, the usual first impression to come to mind is a TV character as opposed to an actual expert private investigator. An expert private investigator does far more than follow a cheating spouse around and rarely do they track down criminal or get caught up in blackmail schemes. In reality, today’s expert private investigator is deeply engrossed in technology, continuously engaged in training about new sources of information and highly educated.
Unfortunately for the consumer, it takes a bit of time to figure out which PI is the real thing who can give you answers verses the part time hobbyist. Getting it right is extremely important to you. The PI industry has many members who enter this industry because it seems exciting or impresses people. They are focused on carrying a gun and acting cool, but really don’t have any special skills, training or expertise. Most are very small businesses that take whatever case comes along. In short, they are usually not great at anything and will likely underwhelm you or worse.
How can you tell the difference between the part time neighborhood PI and an actual expert private investigator?
Do they have professional credentials? Expert private investigators get real credentialing and designations after undergoing training and examinations. Unfortunately, there are also several PI related associations that offer membership designations that essentially require no skill and cost $75-$100 to receive. If they boast having some credentials, check them out and understand that many PIs have very limited educational backgrounds.
Do they have expert content on their website that demonstrates that they know what they are talking about? Thought leaders in any industry are the true experts. This includes private investigators. If they are not publishing real content and videos, PI work is likely just a hobby for them.
Are they actually a security guard company? Many security guard businesses also obtain a PI license, but in the vast majority of these companies, they are really guards and just dabble in PI work when it comes along. It is not their focus and they tend not to be considered as experts.
Do they advertise a variety of technical services or just the basics? All PIs offer up services like spousal surveillance, but few can provide services like trade secret investigations. You likely wont need those sophisticated corporate investigative services, but true experts offer them and that’s a great way to find the right PI for your case.
When looking to hire an expert private investigator, keep in mind that this is not like hiring a cleaning person, lawn service or other local service provider. Chances are that if you are looking for the closest private investigator, you will not find a true expert private investigator. Simply put, the odds are against you finding the best or even an adequate one on the next street corner. Look for one whose website clearly demonstrates they are full time investigators and then take your time when calling them to understand that they are actual experts. If you don’t like how the call goes, keep searching. It is far better to send your time searching for an actual expert private investigator than in hiring the local one who wastes your time and money.