Private detective taking photograph during investigation

How to Hire a Private Detective

Find a PI who specialises in your issue

Most private investigators will have a field of expertise. This could include primarily investigating cheating spouses, fraud or insurance investigations. It’s wise to hire a private detective who specialises in your issue. Doing so will guarantee a greater understanding of your problem, and insight into the best means for carrying out an effective investigation.

Decide on a budget before hiring a private detective

Part of your hiring process should involve outlining a realistic budget. Private investigators typically charge by the hour, with prices starting at around £50 an hour. Certain professionals will charge significantly higher than the average rate, based on their experience and clientele. Deciding on a price that you are prepared to pay will save time in the long run.

Beware of a PI who charges an unusually low price. This can often be down to a lack of knowledge, expertise and qualifications, which could easily result in an unsuccessful or potentially botched investigation, which may land you in court.

Client looking at reviews on a laptop before hiring a private detective

Seek out reviews and references

Once you have found a private detective who specialises in cases of a similar nature to yours, it’s essential that you ascertain their reputation.

When trying to hire a private detective, reliance on referrals from close family or friends, or whose opinions you trust, can be valuable. But given the nature of the work, it’s quite possible that no-one in your close circles has ever had to hire a PI.

In these circumstances, looking for reviews from previous clients can help. Key questions to keep in mind include:

  • Were they discrete?
  • Were they effective?
  • Did the client feel comfortable working with them?
  • Were they sensitive when they delivered their findings?

If you struggle to find any reviews or comments online, it’s worth reaching out to the investigator directly for references.

Check an investigator’s accreditations and background

When hiring a private investigator to look into something personal to you, it’s wise to carry out some simple research into their background before making any decisions.

A reliable private investigator will always have full insurance. This covers both themselves and their client if something were to go wrong during an investigation.

It’s always useful to investigate a PI’s professional background. Many private investigators are ex-military or law enforcement, which will mean they come equipped with many of the necessary key skills.

Client and private detective discussing hiring process

Arrange a face-to-face consultation before hiring a private detective

Any reputable PI will offer the opportunity for a consultative meeting in person as part of their service.

This meeting will give you an opportunity to fully discuss your situation and outline the outcome you would like to achieve. It also allows to you make sure the two of you are on the same wavelength. Clear communication and understanding are key when the matters to be broached may often be very personal. Both parties need to respect and trust one another.

Providing a personal service, tailored exactly to a client and their needs, should be the PI’s priority. If they do not suggest a face-to-face consultation, or do not consent to one when you request, steer clear.

Ask about the detectives experience

Enquire about previous cases and the techniques they adopted, as well as the investigator’s success rate. You should also discuss how these cases progressed – for example, have they ever been required to provide their uncovered evidence in court?

Discuss payment before committing to hiring a private detective

It’s important to remember that you are ultimately hiring the services of a professional, who will expect to be paid. In your consultation, it’s advisable to discuss the price of their services. Outline your budget and collaboratively decide how to proceed.

Agreeing on costs before the investigation takes place will help ease any financial concerns you might have, especially if there are likely to be any daily or weekly accumulated costs as the investigation progresses.

Ready to take the next step and hire a private detective? At Trojan Surveillance, we are proud to have a team of professionals who are discrete, confidential and effective, dealing with both corporate and private clients. To find out more about our services and how we can help your case, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.