How to Choose the Right Private Investigator for Your Case?

By  //  July 28, 2023

Hiring a private investigator for your case is more difficult than recruiting staff at a company. This person will be responsible for finding the truth and helping you go through legal trouble successfully.

Finding the right private investigator, however, is not a task to be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration, research, and a thorough evaluation of their credentials, track record, and testimonials from previous clients. Understanding the intricacies of your specific case and matching them with the investigator’s expertise is paramount to achieving the desired outcome.

But worry not because today’s post will reveal the step-by-step process of choosing the right private investigator for your case. This will help you make an informed decision – hence, increasing the chances of a successful investigation. Let’s get started!

Why Should You Choose a Private Investigator for Your Case?

Private investigators are professionals who specialize in conducting investigations on behalf of individuals, businesses, or organizations. They gather information, uncover facts, and solve cases.

Here are some reasons why choosing a PI for your case is a wise decision:

  •     Expertise and Skills

Private investigators have special training in collecting information discreetly and efficiently. Their experience allows them to uncover details that ordinary individuals and standard investigative methods might ignore.

  •     Objectivity

Unlike emotionally involved parties, private investigators approach cases with objectivity. They analyze evidence without bias which can cloud judgment and lead to poor conclusions.

  •     Confidentiality

Private investigators prioritize client confidentiality. They handle sensitive information carefully so that your privacy remains protected throughout the investigation.

  •     Access to Resources

These professionals have access to a wide range of resources, including databases, contacts, and investigative tools. This can help resolve complex cases easily. 

  •     Legal Knowledge

Private investigators are well-versed in relevant laws and regulations. This ensures that the evidence they gather is admissible in court, should the need arise.

  •     Customized Approach

Each case is unique, and private investigators tailor their approach to fit the specific requirements of your situation. This maximizes the chances of a successful outcome.

  •     Time and Efficiency

Conducting an investigation requires a lot of time and effort. By hiring a private investigator, you can save valuable time and ensure that the investigation progresses efficiently.

7 Steps to Choose the Right Private Investigator for Your Case

Currently, there are around 4941 private investigators in the US. This number is increasing day by day, which means more saturation and more trouble for you in selecting the right candidate for your case.

But if you follow these 7 steps, you will find the right private investigator for your case in no time!

1.   Decide between Individuals and Firms

When looking for a private investigator, you will come across both individuals and agencies in your state. You should first decide between the two, depending on your specific needs.

For example, if your case is a simple background checking one, an individual investigator may be a better option. But if your case involves a civil investigation or an accident, you may want to consider an agency.

These agencies have different private investigators with different skill sets and experiences. This makes them more likely to handle your case successfully.

2.   Get a Referral

Referrals are an excellent way to find a reliable and competent private investigator. But make sure you trust the people you ask. These may include your family, friends, close neighbors, work colleagues, or lawyer. However, if your case is a highly confidential one, skip getting referrals and find the best private investigator in your area directly.

3.   Do Your Research

No matter what a private investigator, agency, or referral claims. The wise man’s approach is to always do your homework first. By this, we mean do your research about the shortlisted private investigators.

Look up their credentials, certifications, qualifications, and past projects. Usually, all private investigators have a website with this information. You can also find testimonials, success stories, and case studies on their sites.

Go through all of this data to analyze the reliability of the investigator. Then, move on to the next step!

4.   Have an In-Person Meeting

In this digital era, meeting face-to-face may seem old-fashioned and unnecessary. But it is very important for the success of your investigation. This meeting will allow you to judge the PI’s personality and vibe more accurately.

You will also get to interview and learn more about the investigator:



  Work process



Please note that an experienced investigator would be open to in-person meetings and dealing with the matter professionally.

If you sense the candidate is the right choice, schedule another meeting in person or over Zoom. Use this chance to discuss your case and expectations more openly.

5.   Request License

Although this should be done during the in-person meeting, we have listed it as a separate step because of its importance. All private investigators must have a license to operate and take payments from clients.

The type of license will depend on the state or country you live in. So, research your area’s laws and look up the license required by private investigators. Then, request the candidate to show a valid license 

This should not offend the investigator because it ensures legitimacy and protection for the client. And most experienced investigators will show you the license themselves as a formality of the agreement finalization.

6.   Discuss Costs

Once you’re satisfied with your selection, discuss pricing and the billing information ‌with the investigator.

Please note that private investigators aren’t cheap. On average, they will charge $99 to $105 for every hour. Most people pay up to $5,000 for a basic follow-up investigation. So, it’s best to ask for the total charges upfront.

If the investigator is charging too much, you might want to hold up and interview more candidates with different fee structures.

7.   Sign an Agreement

Before starting the investigation, ensure you have a written agreement with the private investigator. It should cover details of the investigation, services provided, estimated cost, and a confidentiality clause.

The written agreement protects both parties and serves as a reference in case of any misunderstandings during the project.