Looking to hire the services of a private investigator in NYC? How do you tell the difference between a well trained and professional one to a complete amateur? Hiring the wrong private eye can waste your valuable time and money. Make sure to hire someone that is right for the job by following these simple guidelines.
Always ask for a referral.
If you know anyone who has ever hired a private investigator before, ask them for a referral. It could be your friend, a family member, your co-worker or even your attorney. Check to see if they had a positive experience or a bad one. If they had a good experience with their private eye, you should do a little research too. If they had an awful experience, you now know to stay clear from them.
Check if they are with the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
Call your local BBB office and ask if your candidate is a BBB accredited business. This is a huge plus to have when searching for a potential private eye or agency. Let’s say they are not accredited, if they are listed, they will have a rating in their site which should help you decide in choosing the right private eye for you.
Use the internet, and start researching.
If you have a list of possible private investigator candidates, try doing an internet search with a popular search engine, like Google or Bing. Search for their names, or the name of the agency and see what comes up. Check for reviews and testimonials, visit their site or read some articles. Both negative and positive reviews will surely pop up, but be aware that the amount of bad reviews isn’t necessarily true. Some people just leave a review to sully the name of the investigator or agency. It is best to double check.
If you are still having trouble in finding one, do a broader search, try using these keywords, “Private Investigator near you”, “Private Detective (your location)”, “Private Investigator Agency” or the type of investigation you need e.g. “matrimonial investigations” or “infidelity investigation” See which websites come up, and start researching what they are all about.
Call them and interview them.
If you have a list of potential candidates, call them up and interview them. It will help you gauge if they are the right one for you or not.
Set up an initial consultation.
With your top prospects in mind, determine if they are the right private detective agency for you by setting up an initial consultation. Keep these questions in mind during each step of the process:
- What is your first impression?
How professional do they present themselves on the phone, their website and in person? Do they communicate well? They need to present themselves as professional, credible and articulate when talking to witnesses, attorneys, judge or a jury. Being a professional can go a long way in the success of your case.
- Where are they located?
Are they near your area? Typically you want someone who is in your vicinity just for convenience sake, and it will benefit you because now you know that they know the area inside and out. A lot of national agencies claim to provide you investigation services anywhere, but the truth is they only subcontract the work out to someone near or from your area. If this is the case, what is the point in researching the agencies background if they are just going to pass it along to some else?
- Who is going to handle your case?
Who in the agency is going to handle your case? Ask this especially because you want an investigator that is well trained in the type of case that you have. One of the worst case scenarios would be if they gave your case to someone who is a complete amateur or they give your case to a private detective that does not specialize and have experience in the type of case that you have.
- Ask for their experience in the type of case that you have
A lot of private eye’s have an extensive array of skills and specialties. Ask if they have experience in the type of case that you have. A great investigation agency will be able to get you better results even if their rates are higher than most. They will give you a more cost-effective result and you are better for it in the long run.
Always be cautious of agencies or individuals with lack of a retainer or with unusually low rates. They may be the bottom of the barrel for private eyes, not qualified to handle your case or they may have a history of cases that were handled poorly.
- Who owns the private detective agency?
While researching the agencies reputation, it would be easier to know who the exact owners are. This greatly improves your chances in finding the right agency for you. You are looking for someone who has a wealth of experience, a good business reputation, ethics and integrity. Who owns the private detective agency?
- Are they licensed?
Most states have licensing requirements to be a private detective. Check if your state has one and make sure to ask this of your potential detective or agency. If your state doesn’t require a license, you can still check if they have a professional license.
Having a license means that they have been screened and tested to practice their job and usually have more resources at their disposal. It also means that they have a clean background with no criminal record.
IF you hire an unlicensed private detective and a license is required in your state, any evidence that they have gathered may not be admissible in court and could damage your case significantly. This could also lead to a variety of problems:
• Unnecessary waste of money
• Unusable evidence or information
• A possible lawsuit
Remember, you want them to solve your case and not add to your headaches.
- Ask for their qualifications.
It is highly important to ask about their background including their education, affiliation, certifications, and most of all, their experience in handling your type of case.
- Are they insured?
Insurance is vital when trying to find a private eye to suit your needs. Insurance will not only help you but is also beneficial to the agency. This will help you protect yourself in case of negligence, damage or mistake caused by the private eye or their agency. This will keep the private detective in check.
- What about their fees?
Fees vary from investigator to investigator. It also highly depends on what you want done and their experience. They will usually have a rough estimate on what it would cost based on the type of case that you give them. They break it down into phases and give you a corresponding cost per phase. Usually they will offer a retainer if it is required. Do a little bit of comparison on your top picks, and find someone that will fit your type of case and your budget. Just be careful, you usually get what you pay for.
- Be wary of promises.
Some non reputable agencies will sweet talk you and will promise you everything that you want to hear. Be cautious about these, as in life, there are no guarantees and always remember the age old saying “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is”
- Do they listen?
When you are telling them your story, try to test them to see if they are actually listening to you. There are some shady investigators out there that are only focused on earning money, so it pays to be a little bit cautious. A professional private detective will offer you options that will be appropriate to your objective.
If you are uncomfortable after meeting your first choice, go down your list and meet with the next one. Do this until you find someone that fits your criteria and that you feel comfortable working with. Remember that your case is important and could have serious consequences, so feel free to take a little bit of time in researching and making an informed decision.
Do your research and ask the right questions, be patient and you should be able to find the right private investigator for your case.