Checklist for Hiring a Private Investigator

Looking for an old friend? Want to know if your spouse is cheating? Need to check out a potential tenant or employee?

A good private investigator (PI) can help you obtain these answers. And as with any expert you hire-a doctor, a lawyer, an insurance broker-it benefits you to take the time to ensure you're hiring a professional who has experience, quality reputation, and good-business ethics. Below is a checklist that will help you find just such a private investigator:

1. Ask friends, business associates, your lawyer for a referral. Word of mouth gives you the inside scoop, and the opportunity to ask questions specific to your needs.

2. Check your state's private investigator associations, most of which have web sites that post their membership directory.

3. If you can't find a private investigation association for your state, there are multiple national PI organizations that refer investigators, such as The National Association of Investigative Specialists (http://www.pimall.com/nais/dir.menu.html). Also, check your state's legal organizations-for example, affiliates of the American Trial Lawyer's Association or the state defense bar-which typically have a directory of recommended investigators.

4. Insurance companies use PIs constantly. Especially if your needs fall into surveillance and background checks, an excellent resource is your own homeowners insurance company. Ask to speak to a claims representative. With a few inquiries, you should be able to pinpoint which investigators your insurance company uses, which is a good referral.

5. Check Internet and Yellow Pages for private investigator listings, but remember these are paid-for ads. Ask for references; check if the PI is licensed (most states require a PI to be licensed, a few don't); if you're going before a judge and jury, ask if the PI has courtroom experience. NOTE: An untrained investigator may not know the laws and end up doing something illegal during an investigation-which causes you problems.

6. Before you speak to an investigator, decide what's in your budget.

7. When you speak to an investigator, ask if he/she has done the type of work you're seeking. More important, ask them the outcome of that type of investigation.

8. Ask to see examples of reports they've produced for similar cases.

9. Gauge your comfort level while speaking to the investigator. Good communication will be critical after the investigation begins. Also, be open minded-your investigator may have new ideas that are worthy of exploration.

10. Expect to pay a retainer up front. Just because a PI doesn't ask for one (or even a reasonable hourly rate), doesn't mean he/she is better at what they do. You want to hire someone who's competent, not hard up for work.

Remember, a good private investigator can be your best resource!

Subscribe to Highlands Investigations & Legal Services, Inc. free quarterly e-newsletter, which provides leading-edge legal, forensic, investigative articles, and more. All subscribers are automatically eligible for free gift drawings. To subscribe, go to http://www.highlandsinvestigations.com.

Colleen Collins, Highlands Investigations and Legal Services, Inc.

Highlands Investigations & Legal Services, a product of two logically related sets of background and training--attorney and information specialist--offers a unique blend of investigative and writing/research skills. To learn more about our services, go to http://www.highlandsinvestigations.com

In The News:

Top 7 most toxic plants found in Ontario  www.insideottawavalley.com/
The Best Foods for Runners  Shape Magazine
The Top 7 PPC Strategies for 2019  Social Media Today

Want a Web Site that Turns Lookie Loos into Buyers? Seven Passion Copywriting Tips

Web Site Blues? Need one, don't know where to start?... Read More

Performance-Stress-Motivation: 7 Sanity Saving Business Boundaries

The lack of strong boundaries is one of the chief... Read More

Your Leadership Shopping List

'Tis the season to give. And finding the right gift... Read More

10 E-mail Organization Tips

Who doesn't have issues with organizing their inbox!? I receive... Read More

How To Make Money With Your Junk Mail

The term "junk mail" is a well-known term. To... Read More

The Warning signs of Online Fraud and How To Avoid It

The number may seem grim for Web-based commerce. In 2004... Read More

Tips to Starting your Own Busniess

The 9-to-5 grind can make you feel like a just... Read More

How To Use The Power Of Focus To Build Massive Momentum In Your Business

Getting focused on what you want to achieve and creating... Read More

Top 10 Ways to Use Quotations to Be Healthier, Happier and More Productive!

Most people have at least one favorite quotation from a... Read More

Top 7 Tips For Writing Your Marketing Plan

A lot of people are at a loss when it... Read More

Top Ten Listening Skills for Speakers

Good Speakers need good listening skills to become Great CommunicatorsSpeakers... Read More

Positioning Your Company for Debt Financing

Positioning Your Company for Debt Financing:There was a time in... Read More

Event Planning: Seven Best Practices Successful Planners Use

Do you plan events for the corporate world like product... Read More

Are You a Project Manager Or a Project Mangler?

Which one are you? An effective IT project manager, able... Read More

Ten Tips to Build a Culture of Inspirational Leadership

Leadership, leadership development and leadership training are "Hot" issues in... Read More

Advice for New Coaches: 10 Ways to Attract Your First Paying Client and Receive Endless Referrals

Many new coaches struggle to attract their first client. Often,... Read More

Increase Business Profits - Ten Ways

How do you increase business profits? Answer the following questions... Read More

Ten Tips for Working at Home

1. Maintain regular working hours and stick to them.2. Get... Read More

Seven Ways to Improve Your Results with Follow-up

What follows is a bold statement, but sometimes it takes... Read More

Business Meeting Etiquette

Business etiquette is essentially about building relationships with colleagues, clients... Read More

Media Training: Seven Ways to Instantly Improve Your Media Interviewing Skills

Imagine if you were going to address a stadium full... Read More

How to Hold An Extremely Successful Event - 10 Tips

Every event you hold can be extremely successful. Apply these... Read More

10 High-Impact Viral Marketing Strategies

Viral Marketing is allowing people to giveaway and use your... Read More

Top Ten Tips for Improving Your Cash Flow

Cash is king-so they say. If you work for yourself... Read More

Plan Your Success In Seven Ways

Many businesses lose money yearly because they don't think creatively... Read More