When you are hiring a private investigation firm, you are obviously dealing with a very sensitive personal or professional matter, or maybe even a criminal matter. You may only have one chance to make your legal case, and an inexperienced or unqualified PI firm could ruin your one opportunity by being noticed or by not collecting and recording evidence properly.
With more and more subpar PI firms cropping up, how can you avoid making common mistakes that others have made when hiring the right firm?
While it is always good to find a professional that wants to give you an honest price at a great value, you have to remember that you get what you pay for. If a firm is offering you an extremely low rate, there is likely a reason.
Learn as much as you can about how the firm conducts an investigation and hires their investigators. Some PI firms are able to offer low rates because they subcontract their work to part time investigators who are willing to work for low rates.
Do you really want an individual who works part time as an investigator to supplement their regular income working on your important case?
Some investigations require PIs to work unusual and long hours. A part time investigator, who may be inexperienced and have multiple jobs, is unlikely to show the commitment you need.
Beware of firms that ask you to pay a fee for their services up front as well, as many will collect your retainer and then be less inclined to provide quality attentive service.
The way the investigation firm handles your initial inquiry can tell you a lot about how this firm will handle your case. A quality PI firm will act completely professionally and respectfully throughout the process. If you call or e-mail the firm with questions, the responses should be timely, helpful, and professional. Also, if you cannot get a fast response when you ask a question, the firm is not likely to communicate well with you throughout your case.
It is your right as a consumer to know for certain that you are working with a licensed PI firm and investigator. This is especially important in areas such as Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC as licensing requirements vary from state to state and one company may not offer all of their services in each state.
In addition to requesting licensing information, request to see a client list as well as references for previous satisfied customers. You can learn a lot about a firm from the previous clients they have served.