Hiring a Private Investigator


Several times a year, I work on cases which also require the work of a private investigator. They simply do certain work that I don’t, such as “deep dive” background checks, database searches, and surveillance.

But how does a client choose one? There are over 50,000 licensed private investigators in the U.S., and finding the right one is often tricky. You need to be sure that the investigator has three characteristics:

  • Experience in your type of case or the work you need him or her to do
  • Ethics – Yes, there are illegal ways to get information. You do NOT want to work with an investigator who does this. It is like playing with fire, and has the potential to do more harm than good to your case.
  • A commitment to finish the job for you

Brian Willingham at Diligentia Group has written about seven key parts to choosing the right private investigator. He provides some great advice that can help you select the right investigator. The two most important in my mind are checking licensing, and getting a referral from someone you trust. The best  referrals will come from professionals you know are trustworthy, such as an attorney or accountant who works on the type of case you’re involved in.

Don’t get discouraged if you get referred on to several different investigators. Your attorney may refer you to someone, who refers you to someone, who refers you to someone, and so on. Don’t assume that you’re getting the runaround. Instead, assume that these professionals are trying to do the right thing in getting you the correct person for the job you need done.

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