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How To Hire A Private Investigator

There are more than 40,000 private investigators working in the United States, and many of them specialize in different investigation types. This means that you have many options and that you should do a bit of homework before hiring an investigator. When hiring a private investigator, you want to find one who is experienced in the investigation type you need and who has all necessary licenses, credentials and qualifications. Below, you'll find a to-do list of items to help you find and hire the right investigator for you.

Hiring An Investigator

An investigator will work with you to determine which type of investigation is appropriate for your situation as well as what information you will need in order to move forward.


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  1. Find a qualified private investigator. Instead of taking your chances with finding a private investigator through phonebooks or other random resources, search PInow.com's online trusted network of local, pre-screened private investigators. Every investigator listed on PInow.com has been pre-screened and vetted to verify their qualifications.
  2. Make sure your PI is experienced in your investigation type. If you are looking for someone to conduct an arson or computer forensics investigation, the investigator you hire should be educated and experienced in those disciplines.
  3. Make sure your PI is licensed if necessary. Licensing laws vary by state, so be sure to check your local laws before proceeding. In states that do require a PI license, you should make sure that your potential investigator has one. This information is public, so you can verify anything they say by calling a local government office. It is extremely important that your PI is licensed because it is just as illegal to to hire an unlicensed PI as it is to pose as one without the proper legal documents.
  4. Verify that the investigator has insurance. Although you may think your particular investigation has no inherent risks, it is always good to check and make sure that your potential private investigator is insured. Insurance of up to $1 million is not uncommon and shows that they are a legitimate business and in this for the long run. Also, if something does go wrong during the investigation (property damage is the most common), you may be held responsible since you are technically the employer. This information is also public and can be verified. If you're searching on PInow.com, investigators listed on the site can display to you that they have insurance.
  5. Ask your own questions. Before selecting your private investigator, it is okay to ask them about their past investigating experience, and whether or not they have done anything similar to your case before. If they haven't, it is perfectly okay to find another one who has more experience with your type of case.
  6. Sign a contract. If you feel comfortable with your choice, ask to sign a contract detailing exactly what you are hiring them to do. This is normal for private investigators, and will give you a chance to explain exactly what you are looking to have done, and a time frame to get the work completed.

Once you have signed a contract, your PI will take it from there and start working on your case. You will start getting the information you need shortly!


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