Questions to ask when hiring a private investigator

There are many different reasons you could want to hire a private investigator. Anything from investigating your spouse in preparation for a divorce to doing background checks on employees.

Private investigators are professionals and experts in their field. Just like you would want to see credentials of a doctor or mechanic, it is not unreasonable to ask for information when hiring a private investigator.

Finding a private investigator:

  • The best way to find a PI is through referrals. Friends, family, business associates, your attorney and even insurance adjusters are good ways to find a good private investigator. Word of mouth gives you different information than you can find in an advertisement.
  • Check with your state’s private investigation association. Many of them have websites which post members’ information.
  • If your state does not have a private investigation association, or you cannot find information about it, check with national organizations and see if they can refer an agency in your area. Although some areas overlap, you should try to find a PI that is familiar with the local area. Ask for a reference for a Miami private investigator as opposed to a South Florida PI.
  • If your needs fall in the surveillance or background check area, talk with an insurance company or a homeowner’s association. With very few questions you should be able to find out what agencies they use.
  • Paid ads in the yellow pages or business references can be used, but the information you find through these ads is superficial, at best. Look for licensing and insurance information. They are very important.

 

Meeting with the investigator:

  • Prior to meeting the PI, determine your budget. If you have a definite amount in mind, you can keep costs down by not adding on services you don’t need.
  • When you speak to the investigator, ask if they have done work similar to what you are wanting them to do. Although the details will not be available, the outcome of the work is. Make sure they are competent in that area.
  • Ask to see examples of reports that they have produced in similar cases.
  • Good communication is critical between you and the investigator. While meeting with them, gauge your comfort level. Don’t hire an agency that makes you uncomfortable and be open to new ideas from the private investigators, they are the experts.
  • Expect to pay a retainer before the PI begins work. If the investigator doesn’t ask for one, or their rate is low, that might be a sign of desperation, not competence.

Just like hiring any expert, private investigators will understand the process you are going through and help you along it by answering your questions and trying to make you feel comfortable with them and their methods. When speaking with the PI, make sure you see their license and the licenses of anyone who will be working on your case. Unlicensed investigators may not be aware of their responsibilities and how to do their work while staying within the law. Any illegalities that are performed at your behest are your responsibility.

If you need private investigation services in South Florida or the Miami area, call the detective agency of Maya & Maya, Inc. at (305)232-0056.

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