Almost every new caller has said this to me. “I’ve never hired a private investigator” or ” I never thought I’d need a private investigator”. A long time ago, I said the same thing about a primary care physician. Point being, it’s no different than any other occasion that you needed to exercise good judgment as a consumer.
If you need the services of any professional, you have several options you can explore, and the internet is by far the most valuable of your resources. That is, unless your lucky enough to have a friend that utilized a private investigator in the recent past and they can recommend that investigator based on a positive experience. I say lucky, but is that the right word? No one wants to use a private investigator. But if you do, it may be lucky in the sense that you have another resource you can trust. That friend I mentioned tested the waters for you (and others) and can tell you first hand if it was a good experience or a bad one. As far as the internet is concerned, a simple keyword search is the best place to start. Just remember that the first ones posted at the top of your results page are not always the best choice. You may have to look at several pages before you find one that makes you feel good.
If you’re thinking “what does he mean by a good experience?” then this next paragraph is meant for you. People who are looking for an investigator need to consider one thing. Professional work ethics. The difference between a good experience and a bad one can fall on this simple rule of “professionalism”. Unfortunately for me, I have experienced the full ethical spectrum of professionalism in the field of professional services. I have experienced first hand the police officer that has no tact, character or compassion for the community he serves. I’ve experienced the nurse that didn’t have a clue of the emotional impact his/her thoughtless behavior had on the patient in the emergency room.
Frankly, there are investigators that are only concerned with getting paid. No big surprise. In my humble opinion, the biggest differences between the good ones and the bad ones can be something as simple as character and professionalism. The best you can do is this…talk to person you want to hire. The more you talk, the more you will learn. Just be mindful of their response to your concerns, as well as your budget. Hopefully, they will also talk to you, and not just listen. The more questions they ask of your situation, the more interested they will likely be. The less they ask, the more likely they are only interested in getting paid. Or maybe they’re just too busy to take the time to talk to you.
In closing, I can offer you this piece of advise. The least can do is meet the person you want to hire. Do not hire based solely on a phone conversation. Shake their hand and look into their eyes. This alone can tell you a lot. If you simply don’t have the time to set up an appointment to meet with your potential investigator, just make sure the phone conversation covers more than what it will cost you. Every private investigator I’ve met charges by the hour. They also charge for expenses like mileage and lodging. This is very common, and to be expected. Are there any hidden costs? Do you have to pay for their new equipment? That may be justifiable in some cases, depending on the circumstances, but it needs to be a choice.
Finally, don’t let your emotions make the decision for you. And don’t think you have to make the decision hastily. Take the time to look for feedback, and to get feedback from friends or family. The last thing to keep in mind is this; your situation is unique in the sense that it’s happening to you. Make sure you are treated like a person, not like a client. From the beginning, and through the course of the investigation.