By Alex Soutos
Thinking about hiring a private investigator but not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to get you started. Check their copy of license and bond. It’s imperative that your private investigator is carrying a proper license and is able to produce a copy of that license on demand. In fact all states require that Private Investigators are licensed by the state government. The steps a PI needs to go through to earn their license are quite rigorous. The private eye can have no criminal record and they have to take specific tests to get qualified in each state where they provide services. Some states such as California, PI applicants must have been working a minimum of two – three years in some form of law enforcement before going private. After you’ve asked the private eye to show you their license, you should:
- Ask for the license number. If he refuses to give it to you, say goodbye.
- Check the validity of the license number. It’s easy to verify that the number is legit by calling the licensing authorities in your state. Most of the time, this authority is the department of public safety or the state police. Sometimes is can be the state’s licensing board as well. Check to make sure the license is up to date and that no complaints have been filed against the investigator.
- Check to make sure the investigator is bonded. Most private investigators have to be covered when applying for a license but some jurisdictions allow PIs to carry a license without being bonded. You can tell the amateurs from the real deal with investigators who have high coverage – and it’s public record so you can check to make sure it exists.
The next step in the hiring process is the interview. Each case is unique so make sure you ask if the investigator has done any kind of investigation similar to what you’re hiring them for. It helps to consider his/her special skills as well, such as possibly specializing in fraud, domestic abuse, background checks, asset checks or surveillance. Final step is to make sure you have a contract The contract should specify all costs and payment terms and provide details of the investigative assignment. And make sure you ask for an estimate along with a signed agreement between you the client and the PI on what you expect the PI to do for you at the agreed pricing. Most detectives work an hourly rate and require job-related expenses to be paid as well. Samos Investigations, LLC provides investigative services for attorneys and individuals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Contact Us at or call 484-467-6911 for more information or to schedule an appointment.