There are approximately 6,000 private investigators nationwide, but they’re definitely not all equal. The reasons for hiring a private investigator can range from everything from medical malpractice claims to finding a missing person. A well-trained professional PI will help potential clients narrow down their needs and expectations during a consultation or prior to signing a contract. But you should still have some idea of what to look for when hiring a private investigator prior to making that call.
Are They Licensed and Insured?
Most states require a PI to have a license to practice legally. This is true for any Chicago PI. Any private investigator worth their salt will have that license available and be willing to show it to a prospective client upon request. So don’t hesitate to ask. If they don’t have one or make excuses for not being able to show it, they’re likely not qualified to handle your needs. Insurance is also necessary on the Pi’s end to cover any accidents or property damage they may inadvertently cause during their investigation. Both the license and proof of insurance should be shown at any time the client requests to see them. It’s not an insulting question, it’s a smart one.
What Are Their Qualifications and Experience?
Experience goes a long way, and the right PI for your needs will have the qualifications and experience required to get the job you need done. Don’t hesitate to ask how long they’ve worked as a PI, how long they’ve worked in their current business, if they work solely or as a team, what range of services they handle, and if they’ve done PI work for large businesses. You can even ask for details of a successful case or cases similar to yours outside of required confidentiality details.
What Is Their Confidentiality Policy?
Confidentiality is a crucial component of any professional investigation case. Confirm their confidentiality policy when interviewing a potential PI. Confidentiality should cover client identity, precise location, and other sensitive information obtained during the investigation. If the PI is not clear on what their confidentiality policy covers, find one who is.
Do They Have Available References and Testimonials?
Any private detective agency that’s been in business for a while will have reviews all over the web. You won’t even have to ask anyone directly at the agency for them. Simply look on Facebook, Google, or Yelp for reviews under their business name. Leaving bad reviews anonymously online is a common reality nowadays, but most of reviews should be relatively positive. Look for a common link in the reviews for how they handle client needs and check the dates to get the clearest recent idea. If you still have trouble finding positive reviews, then ask for referrals from the agency itself or the PI who would be handling your case. They should have plenty on hand as well.
What Exactly Will You Be Paying For?
Most private investigators charge an hourly rate of anywhere up to $200. But you can’t just count on an hourly wage to cover all expenses. Mileage, travel, lodging, and other costs may be factored in. “Budget” investigators may seem like a no-brainer, but they are usually either not licensed or shady in other ways. Don’t let price dissuade you from hiring an experienced investigator. Just be sure they explain precisely what you will be paying for in the investigation. When you’re ready to talk to the right Chicago PI for your needs, give us a call.