What to Look for in a Private Investigator or Detective Agency

People have many reasons for hiring private investigators, private detectives and surveillance companies.  Some are trying to catch a cheating spouse – trying to find out if all those late nights at the office are as innocent as he or she claims. . Others are looking for the lowdown on that seemingly great guy or gal they met in an internet chat room.  Still others are trying to verify the background of a babysitter, nanny, housekeeper or other employee.

But no matter what the reasons for hiring such a professional it is important to hire someone you can trust.  After all you will be entrusting this individual or company with some highly sensitive details about your personal and professional life, and it is important to know that you have found someone you can put your trust in.  Before you can start investigating others you will first need to investigate the detective or private eye you plan to hire.

Check for Proper Licensing
In many parts of the country private detectives, private investigators, surveillance experts and other professionals must be licensed by the state or local entity.  It is a good idea to research the licensure laws in your part of the country and ensure that any firm you are considering is licensed to do business in your area.

Look for an Agency or Individual with
Expertise in Your Area of Interest

Looking for signs of an extramarital affair requires a much different set of skills than ferreting out an employee who may be siphoning money from your small business.  As with anything it is important to look for a specialist when hiring a private investigator, detective or surveillance firm.  Taking this step will help ensure you get the results you need.

Check the Firm’s Record with the
Better Business Bureau and
Other Such Agencies

Watchdog groups like the Better Business Bureau exist to protect consumers from unscrupulous individuals and companies, so be sure to check the firm’s record with these consumer protection agencies before you sign on the dotted line.  If the firm has a long history of complaints it may be best to move on.

Spell Out Your Expectations and
the Firm’s Responsibilities

A well executed contract is a must for any business transaction – including the hiring of a private eye, detective agency or surveillance company.  Be sure that the contract clearly spells out each party’s responsibilities and expectations.  And read the contract carefully before you sign.

Check the Firm’s References
One of the best ways to ensure you are dealing with a reputable, honest and competent individual or firm is to ask for references, and to check those references carefully.  If possible it is a good idea to get the references of those who have had similar work done, whether it is catching a cheating spouse or performing a background check on a potential employee.  By checking those references carefully you may be able to ferret out those shady firms and find a company you can trust.

No matter why you need a private investigator it is important to check the firm or individual out very carefully.  With so much at stake you simply cannot afford to hire anyone who is incompetent, dishonest or who does not have your best interests at heart.

B E Conrad is an independent, freelance feature writer from the U.S. who authors on a wide variety of topics affecting adults.

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