10 Ways To Freshen Up Your Private Investigation Business
Editor's note: This article was written by Rachele' Davis of New Hope Investigations.The opinions expressed here belong to Rachele' Davis.
Many private investigators have experienced a slowdown in work during these last six months as a result of the pandemic. With more time on our hands, we should freshen up our businesses and our skills.
If you’re anything like me, there are always items on your “to-do” list. As with any business, emails pile up, workspaces get cluttered, and we neglect the areas of our businesses that don’t demand our immediate attention.
Now is the time to address those areas.
Aside from the very obvious steps we can all take such as decluttering our workspaces, reading/deleting/sorting emails, and closing out cases, there are other steps we can all take to freshen up our businesses and our livelihoods.
1. Take advantage of online courses to sharpen your investigative skills
With so many conferences canceling or moving to a virtual format, now is the best time we’ve probably ever seen for online offerings. If you’re in the same boat as many of us, you also have the time to sharpen your skills via a few online courses.
I provide adoption searches for many of my clients. With the increased numbers of people registering their DNA, I can always learn more and better methods of helping my clients through genealogy courses.
2. Pivot or broaden your niche(s)
If the pandemic has given you pause and you worry your niche(s) might become obsolete or remain at the mercy of another potential shutdown, consider changing niches or adapting your current niche to this new normal.
If you see a new need, fill it. If you can tweak your current niche just a bit to become more relevant, do it.
3. Adapt to changes on the horizon
We must accept these new changes whether we like them or not. Get creative. Find workarounds. You should brainstorm ways you can use your skillsets to better serve your current clients or even other potential clients out there.
Stay a step ahead. Look at what might be coming so it isn’t such a sharp blow next time.
4. Consider taking on cases you would have turned away before
If all you’ve ever offered is surveillance, you don’t have to stay locked into that. If surveillance jobs have slowed down for you, consider offering other services such as background checks. As potential clients call you, hang onto some of those cases you would normally pass on to other private investigators.
5. Get more organized
Organize your business in general. If you are unhappy with your current case management system, find another that suits your business and your personality better. If you’ve never taken the time to create a report template, type one up. Organize your old case files. Create that spreadsheet that will alleviate some headaches down the road.
6. Streamline your processes
One of the best moves I made early on was to streamline my processes. If you haven’t done this yet and your particular workload could benefit, I highly recommend it to you. I created a template for any potential adoptee or birth parent who contacts me regarding an adoption search. This template includes an initial emailed response to an inquiry as well as a packet of information to answer the most frequently asked questions. This template saves me a lot of time instead of reinventing the wheel with every client.
7. Reach out to other private investigators
Especially if you are a solopreneur, this can be a very isolating job. Reach out to other private investigators through conferences, social media, email, phone calls, and any other means you prefer. These past several months, it sure has helped me to regularly touch base with several other private investigators to check in on them and talk about the current slowdown we have all found ourselves in.
8. Rework your ideal client if necessary
If you’ve found that your ideal client is no longer viable as an ideal client, it’s time to recreate that role. Consider all your options. If the pandemic has dried up your current client base, either find a new client base or restructure your role and create ways to still prove useful to your current clients.
9. Find new ways to use your skills
If you’ve been using your skillsets within the same structure for years, maybe it’s time to restructure. Get creative. How can you use your current skillsets to meet new needs?
10. Pursue that other project you’ve always considered but never had time for
We all have tasks on back burners. Many of us have things we’ve always said we’d like to get to “one day”. Perhaps it’s time to change your “one day” to today. If you’re looking for alternatives to supplement your income or you’re just looking to find something that further fulfills your career goals, go for it. The days aren’t getting any longer and you’re not getting any younger.
When you freshen up your business, those around you will notice. Maybe you’ll even become known as the guy or gal who doesn’t crumble under pressure, but thrives.
About the Author
Rachele’ Davis is the owner and operator of New Hope Investigations in Joplin, Missouri. She is a licensed private investigator in Missouri (2016012045) and Kansas (D-5825). Rachele’ began a career in teaching before obtaining her Masters in Criminal Justice and creating a position for herself as Joplin Police Department’s first crime analyst. Her work contributed to a 17% city-wide reduction in overall crime during her seven years as the department’s sole analyst. After she and her husband adopted an infant son in 2015 and hired a private investigator to aid in a custody battle with the birth father, Rachele’ transitioned from crime analyst to private investigator herself. She obtained her private investigator’s licenses and launched New Hope, specializing in adoption searches.
Rachele’ is currently a contributing writer for Pursuit Magazine and publishes a bi-weekly blog. She is a member of the United States Association of Professional Investigators, Missouri State Investigators Association, Kansas Association of Licensed Investigators, Association of Professional Genealogists, National Genealogical Society, International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and American Adoption Congress. Rachele’ can be reached at [email protected].