Why You Should Create a "Shopping List" Before You Contact a Private Investigator

Always shop with a list.

It’s good advice and a practice I personally use to eliminate impulse spending and ensure I leave a store with only those items I need and intend on purchasing.

As I was adding items to a list for my weekly shopping run, I snickered at my last entry - dark binoculars.

The only binoculars in my house are my husband’s old bright yellow ones from college that he used while sitting in the rain forest of Nicaragua conducting research on howler monkeys.

Bright yellow binoculars are not the most conducive for covert surveillance in my industry, hence the need to buy a pair that are more inconspicuous.

My dark binoculars listing got me to thinking about the advantages of creating a “shopping list” of sorts before seeking out the services of a private investigator.

Just as a regular shopping list prevents impulse spending and ensures you leave a store with exactly the items you need, no more, no less, a private investigator “shopping list” will prevent you from spending your money on unnecessary services that don’t fulfill your specific needs. Creating this list will also ensure fulfillment of the needs you do have.

So. What should go on your private investigator shopping list before you hire one? Here are top ten suggestions from a private investigator:

  1. Determine your specific need(s). List out exactly what you need a private investigator to do for you.
  2. What is your budget? If your budget cannot practically cover the cost of your need(s), reevaluate. Can you cut anything out to reduce cost? Should you wait until you can save more before you hire a private investigator?
  3. What are you looking for in a private investigator? Do you want someone who will hold your hand through the process and stay in frequent communication or would you rather keep things short, sweet, and to the point?
  4. Do you need a private investigator with specific experience or skill sets?
  5. Is your request practical and legal? (Check out my previous blog post for more information on this topic - The Most Common Misconceptions About Private Investigators).
  6. Outline your expectations. For example, if you’re looking for an individual and the private investigator finds him or her, is that the end of your need? Or do you also need the investigator to make contact with the individual? Facilitate a meeting? Send a letter on your behalf?
  7. Do you expect a formal report from the investigator or would a simple email or phone  call suffice?
  8. What is your preferred method of communication? Email? Phone calls? Texts?
  9. Will your case require extra discreetness? How sensitive will the work be for the private investigator?
  10. Does your need require the work of one or two investigators or will an entire team be required for the amount and type of work needed?

For even more blog posts you might find helpful when selecting a private investigator, check these out: