Hiring a Private Investigator (PI) is usually based on an emotional experience. People hire PIs to find the truth about a matter.
Chances are you don’t personally know a PI when you need one. If you feel comfortable asking friends or family for a referral of one they would recommend, that is a good place to start.
Most people go to the internet to start a search for a PI. If this is where you are at, we recommend that you begin with the state PI association of where the investigation will take place. There are several reasons this is the best place to start your search for a PI.
1. Private Investigators that belong to a state association have been vetted, to some extent. In order to become a member of an association, they must have valid state licensing, current business insurance and be approved by the board of directors of the association to join.
2. You can narrow down the PIs on most state association lists to the area your investigation will take place. That will save you fees for travel, hotel and meal expenses incurred by the investigator if they are closer to the area you need them to go.
3. Some PI association websites also list specialties of their members so you can find the one that best fits your needs. Not all PIs do the same kind of investigations.
4. If the PI you are interested in has a website, go to it and find out more about them, where they are actually located and their background. Also check out their google reviews.
5. You can also contact a board member of the state association to get a recommendation for your particular case.
Be aware that if you do an internet search for a PI anywhere, some of the top listings that come up might not actually be local companies. There are several large national PI firms who advertise in every state, but they are not actually located in the state where the investigation will take place. They usually subcontract a local PI to do the work for them there. But this increases the cost to you (the large PI firm gets paid and so does the subcontracting PI), adds a middleman, and prevents you from having direct contact with the PI that is actually working your case.
If you find a PI company that you are interested in on the internet, rather than send an email from their website with the details of your case, call them directly. Before you tell them where your investigation will take place, ask them where they are located. If they say that they have offices in every state, that means that they use subcontractors. No PI firm has offices in every state! If their main office is not in the area where your investigation will be, they are not local.
Obviously if your investigation only requires a database or background search, that can be done from any location and does not require a local PI.
Other advantages of hiring a local PI are that they will usually know the “lay of the land”, are familiar with the community and have contacts with local law enforcement if necessary. If you live in the area, you can also meet with the investigator in-person before you hire them.
IDI is always here to help you find the answers. Contact us at 833-462-IAID (4243) or check out the services we offer here.