Top Tips: How to choose a Private Investigator

It is impossible to predict when you might need the services of a private investigator. Let’s face it, it’s not something anyone really ever thinks they will need. But should you find yourself in need of a private investigator’s services, how do you go about selecting a good one?

The nature of private investigation work has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. The jobs might be the same, but the methods used to undertake them are dramatically different. It is rare to find a private investigator who does not have an internet presence, so this is an obvious place to start.

A simple Google search will bring up a myriad of choices. So what do you do – go for the first one on the search results? You should bear in mind that many private investigators, like other industries, pay to have their sites promoted into the top spot on the Google rankings. But First does not always mean Best.  Look carefully at the private investigators in the top spots – navigate your way around their sites. Do they really offer what you need, or is their site content duplicated on many other similar sites? Are they really local to you, or do they have the same sites and just add a location so that they seem local?

Be wary too of Testimonials. We never reveal who we work with and for, as we believe confidentiality and discretion are paramount. We provide details of lawyers and solicitors who can vouch for our expertise, but we would never reveal details of our clients – no matter how complimentary their opinion of us might be.

It’s also important to look at experience. A website might give some insight into how long a private investigator has been in business, but it is impossible to tell how experienced they really are. You need to talk to the private investigator and get a feel for them as a person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – and as we do, any private investigator worth their salt should be able to put you in touch with bona fide legal professionals who can confirm their abilities. Look too for membership of recognised bodies such as The World Association of Professional Investigators (of which we are members).

Be cautious about exaggerated or “too good to be true” claims.   We have seen private investigation websites claiming to be able to carry out a successful person trace in under 6 hours. This may be possible some of the time, but it is certainly not a claim that can be guaranteed. Some traces can take weeks, or even months. A good private investigator should quickly understand your requirements, and then be able to give you a realistic timeframe according to your budget. We never get people’s hopes up by claiming we can do the impossible – but there are plenty out there who do.

One of the most common questions we get, is How Much Will It Cost? Many private investigators advertise their pricing structure. We don’t. And the reason we don’t, is that we believe every case is unique. We tailor our services to the individual client’s requirements and budgets. So the cost of tracing a missing person for one client will never be the same as it is for another.

The best advice we can give, is to talk. Contacting a private investigator can be a difficult decision. Some enquiries are incredibly sensitive, upsetting or even embarrassing. You need to be sure that your request will be handled sensitively, compassionately, professionally and confidentially. If you don’t get that from the moment you pick up the phone, look elsewhere.

So, if you do ever find yourself in the situation of needing a private investigator, the fact that you are reading this post means you are one step closer to finding someone who can help.

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