Not all private investigators are created equal. We each have our own strengths, weaknesses, and area(s) of expertise.
So before you start randomly calling every private investigator in your area, use these suggestions to save you time, money, and energy and to ensure you find the right fit for you.
What to Look For In a Private Investigator
Before you begin your search, determine your own expectations for your private investigator.
Do you need one who will keep you in the loop at every turn of the investigation or would you rather find one who will simply get the job done and give you a final report?
Do you prefer all communication to take place discreetly via email or do you much prefer phone or face-to-face conversations?
In addition to your expectations, know what kind of investigator you need to seek out for your particular situation. Will your case require physical surveillance, computer forensics, process service, courtroom testimony? Not every PI does all of these things.
Regardless of the particulars of your case, you should look for a private investigator who is professional, licensed, experienced, and a good communicator.
It’s always a good idea to locate reviews on their Google listing, Facebook page, and/or website (if they have these).
How to Verify a Private Investigator’s License and Other Credentials
Almost every state in the United States requires their private investigators to be licensed. Every state is different in their licensure requirements.
When you find a private investigator that seems well suited for your needs, don’t hesitate to verify their license and any other credentials they may hold. You can typically quite easily check with the state in which they are licensed to verify their license and whether or not they are in good standing. Oftentimes, you can do this online or with a phone call.
I am licensed in Missouri and Kansas. To verify licensure in Missouri, visit https://pr.mo.gov/pi-licensee-search.asp. You can search by licensee name or license number. You can also search for private investigators by county if you want a list of licensed PI’s near you. Missouri discloses a licensee’s name, license number, issue date, expiration date, address, and name of their business. You can also contact the board directly to obtain discipline information.
For Kansas, visit https://ag.ks.gov/docs/default-source/directories/directory-of-licensed-detectives.pdf?sfvrsn=301dc11a_274. This is a listing of all private investigators in the state, disclosing their name, name of their business, license number, the city/state where their business is located, and the expiration date of their license. You can call or email the Private Detective Licensing Unit for further questions at (785) 296-4240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Figure Out What Kind of Private Investigator You Need
Bottom line, there are many many different kinds of investigations that can be done. You should definitely find a private investigator who is qualified in the area of your particular need.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Private Investigator
Finally, for a comprehensive list of questions to ask a prospective private investigator before you choose to hire him or her, check this out.
For even more tips on choosing a private investigator, read my earlier blog post from last year.