Questions to Ask Private Investigators Before Hiring


Before hiring a private investigator it is important that you are prepared and understand everything you are about to enter into to avoid wasted time, money and future disappointment. There are a variety of questions that you will need to ask your Private Investigator when you have your initial phone interview such as how much experience they have and what they charge. You should not hesitate in asking as many questions as you deem necessary as you are the client and must feel comfortable with everything. However, before you decide to call them you may want to know a little more about private investigators in general which is what will be answered here.

Private Investigator
Private Investigator

How much do they typically charge?

Generally, PI’s will work on a set hourly rate which can vary depending on what type of investigation it is and what equipment/people are needed in the process. They are likely to also ask for a retainer fee before taking any case and may also charge for transport/time travelled. To avoid any later disputes it is important to work out a written agreement in the beginning.

What are they able to do that you are not?

As well as having access to databases that are not available to the public, the most important thing that PI’s are giving you is there time and experience. They have the training that is needed to take information and act upon it as well as making connections in a way you would not think to do. They have worked for thousands of hours on successful cases, not compromising their clients or getting into any dangerous situations. Furthermore, going into court with a report compiled by a professional and reputable PI can carry a lot of weight in terms of evidence.

Professional Private Investigator
Professional Private Investigator

What are they not allowed to do?

Whilst they do have access to databases not available to the public they are still bound to obey the same laws as everyone else. A lot of the time people think that they are in some cases above the law being a modern day Sherlock Holmes and are allowed to break in and search around whilst investigating, pretending to be other people in the process but in reality this cannot be done. They are not allowed to impersonate or pose as a police officer or clergy, they are not allowed to wiretap any devices such as phones and computers, they cannot obtain phone records or bank records and they cannot trespass on other people’s property.

Do they work in different areas of Private Investigating?

Just as in any profession, private investigating has different areas and PI’s can have different specialties and skills. It is important to understand what experience your PI has in certain areas before hiring them to make sure you are getting the best service possible.