Hiring a Private Investigator

There are all types of services: Cleaning services, auto repair services, child care services, etc.  The list goes on.  But it's not every day that someone finds themselves needing to hire the services of a Private Investigator.  Unfortunately, most people who seek out the use of Private Investigators are those who are going through some type of turmoil or stress where answers are desperately needed. Therefore, hiring a private investigator can be scary somewhat confusing. 

If you are reading this, chances are, you are one of those who are considering hiring a Private Detective for you or your loved one.  If so, what are some of the factors that you would take into consideration when choosing a Private Detective.  What is most important to you?  Confidentiality?  Affordable Prices?  Qualifications? 

Confidentiality

When you hire a housekeeper or a auto mechanic, confidentiality is very rarely a concern.  When dealing with private Investigations, one of the most sensitive subjects is confidentiality.  Clients feel very vulnerable when they make a decision to not only hand over money to a stranger but also hand over details of their lives.  Other than a therapist, how many other professionals do you know that require you to give personal details of your life before even proceeding with the service? Depending on the circumstance, the client normally has to give their address and the names and addresses of other parties involved.  It can be very scary to give this information out to stranger when you know that you can't ever take it back.  Prices and contracts can always be negotiated but you can't put a price on your privacy.  

Lucky for you, Private investigators are bound to a statute that requires them to keep your information confidential (Section 493.6122).  Private Investigators can get into some pretty deep trouble if they are caught divulging information to individuals outside of the Agency.  Not only can they lose their license but they can be sued by the client for large sums of money.  So unless you're a celebrity and your story is worth more than the repercussions of sharing it, chances are, any private investigator that you'll hire is going to stay tight lipped.  

 

Pricing      

There is a wide range of pricing in the field of private investigations.  Depending on circumstances, you can pay anywhere from $50-150 dollars per hour for surveillance.  Some situations may require two investigators in which case the rate may be doubled or priced at the rate and a half.   Most Agency's charge approximately $500-1000 upfront as a retainer so they are able to book you on their calendar and they can work off of that retainer.  The investigator will normally do a quick consultation and get a few details about the case so he or she can estimate the number of hours it will take to gather the needed information and complete your case.  The retainer is determined by multiplying the hourly rate by the number of hours.  Clients must go into this knowing that results are not guaranteed, otherwise, they will end up being disappointed. 

When deciding on which Agency to hire, always consider your a budget before calling for prices.  Often times, the agency may work around your budget as long as it is reasonable.  Always remember though, it is very difficult for private investigators to work with the pressure of a budget and they may feel the need to cut surveillance short or cut corners that may affect the investigation.  If your case is such that good results will greatly benefit you, always invest wisely in a thorough investigation that will get you those results.   

 

Qualifications/Experience

What makes a private investigator qualified? It depends on the nature of your case.  Some private investigators have a law enforcement background and specialize in criminal investigations but have done very little surveillance. Some have worked in a more undercover capacity and have more experience conducting stationary/mobile and video surveillance.  It is important to ask about the investigators background and be sure that the right investigator is being assigned to your case.  Once you have obtained the name of the investigator, always ask for identification.  To confirm that their certification is valid, you can visit the following link at the Florida Department of Agriculture:  https://licensing.freshfromflorida.com/access/individual.aspx 

For many reasons, It's always a good idea to personally meet the investigator who is assigned to your case.  This investigator may eventually be representing you in court. You want to make sure that she presents herself well and is organized and well-spoken.  This could make or break your case.