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    Posted April 8, 2014 by
    Tampa, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Pint-size entrepreneurs

    Hiring an Investigator

    Published by Jessica Schweitzer

    When I tell people I’m a private investigator, most seem shocked. They often times explain they have an image of a man wearing an overcoat and silly hat, smoking a pipe. Immediately they become intrigued and begin asking me various questions about my line of work.

    I believe most people, unless they’re familiar with this field, have a misconception of what a private investigator does. There are various areas of investigations, anything from civil cases regarding unfaithful spouses, child custody, missing persons, worker’s compensation cases to criminal investigations.

    Some investigators specialize only in one area, for example; arson investigations while others focus primarily on missing persons cases. There are many types of investigators and many have various investigative backgrounds.

    So how do you hire the right investigator? Do you do a Google search or look in the phone book for someone local, do you hire based on what they charge? I believe it depends on the client’s needs.

    The majority of investigators are a one man show. This means not only are they working on a case but also have to answer calls that can come in at any given time, even while working on a case. While most investigators are great at multi-tasking, were all still human and if our attention is diverted for any moment a case could be shot and that means more time spent on a case which equals more money for the client.

    There is a special skill great investigators possess and that’s the ability to think ahead and predict the subjects next move in order to remain unseen, even in the closest neighborhoods where an unusual car never goes unnoticed. This investigator is one who is experienced in this line of work and one who receives continued training.
    I believe a great investigator is one who works with a team or in other words for an agency. I have seen better results in less time when a pair of investigators work a case together. It might seem costly up front to pay for two investigators however the purpose of hiring an investigator is to obtain answers, provide evidence for a trial or even testify as an expert witness.

    A private investigative agency typically provides good customer service to their clients, is able to put together a detailed plan for investigators to execute to get results fast, provides clear and detailed reports that are easy to read and provides reports and other relevant information to the client in a timely manner.

    Most investigative agencies as well as investigators working alone will ask for a retainer before they begin conducting surveillance, which is a common practice. A client should be provided a client agreement which outlines the fees and other charges that may apply during the course of the investigation. Most agencies will contact the client once the retainer is exhausted before conducting more work. This prevents the client from incurring unexpected charges.

    You should feel comfortable speaking to the investigator you hire, after all you are sharing personal and at times confidential information with this person. If you meet with an investigator and don’t feel satisfied with the individual I would recommend meeting with another agency or investigator until you feel your situation is handled professionally, honestly, and respectfully.
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