Thursday, August 22, 2013

What To Ask When Hiring a Private Investigator

Hiring a private investigator is not something most people will ever have to do.  So you may have no idea how to start, or even what questions to ask.  This blog is designed to help you identify what factors to consider when you decide you need to hire a private investigator.

In Arizona the vast majority of private investigators work for attorneys.  Each attorney has their own method of hiring and usually work based off of referrals from other attorneys.  So one place to start is to call an attorney you know and ask for a recommendation.  We hope that if you ever need a private investigator the information below will help you make a well informed decision.
If you have come to the point to where you are considering hiring a P.I. something has gone really wrong or the police just won't or can't help you.

One of the most important questions to ask your potential P.I  is are you licensed in Arizona to do the work?  This is one of the simplest things you as a client can do.  You can simply go to or Google search Arizona Department of Public Safety Private Investigator.  We would also suggest calling the licensing unit to ask if there has been any complaints submitted, if they have ever been sanctioned or suspended and what the outcome if any of the complaint.  Once this step is complete you can be confidant that the person you are about to contact is licensed and has an active insurance bond.

Obviously your first contact with any private investigator will be you explaining your specific situation to the proper person.  What I mean by proper person is an actual investigator not just someone who answers the phone.  You as a client do have a responsibility at this point to disclose the whole story not just what you think the private investigator needs to know.  This is a vital step, in order for the company to properly estimate time and resources they will have to allocate to you they truly need to know everything regarding your specific case. Things you leave out now, because they are embarrassing or you don’t want to mention them, can end up costing you more in the long run.  Leaving out a crucial detail can even destroy your investigation before it begins.

You need to know who you are going to be dealing with at the company you choose to hire.  For instance at JB National Investigations you will never have to speak with someone who is not intimately familiar with your case.  It is possible you could have 1-5 investigators assigned to your case depending on the complexity.  It is important to you as the client not to waste your time speaking to other employees or investigators who know nothing of your case.  There should be one main point of contact for you to discuss your case issues.  If the firm cannot promise this to you either verbally or in writing we suggest you move on to someone who can.

Depending on what type of case you are referring to an investigations firm you should ask for work samples (written reports), investigators resumes who will be working your case and the firms professional references.  Again if a firm is unwilling to give any of this to you move on to another private investigations firm who will.  At JB National Investigations we are happy to provide you with resumes of the investigators who will be working your case, professional references as well as at least one previous written report as it relates to your case.

Once you have reviewed the documents the firm has given you there are several things you need to be looking at.  The most important being the layout and content of the supplied reports and resumes.  Did the report only contain facts or did it include speculation with no evidence to back up that speculation?  Was it easy to understand and read?  Did it look professional?  Were there any obvious grammatical errors?  Do they have the experience to complete your case professionally? You will immediately know whether or not you are engaging experienced professionals by reviewing these documents.

Once you are comfortable with your investigator you should request a contract.  Most private investigation firms in Arizona do require a retainer to engage their services.  Before you sign this contract you should at a minimum have received a written proposal documenting

what the firm has committed to providing you, their hourly cost, an estimate of time needed to complete your case, and a date as to when your case should be completed.  If the firm does not supply this to you ask them for it.  As stated previously if they refuse to provide you with the information you have requested move on to another private investigator who will.  There are cases that have been too complex to give an exact date for completion.  You should however receive an estimate.

Now that you have given your hard earned retainer to an investigative firm you should expect from them exactly what they have promised.  If they are not holding up to their end of the contract, first attempt to resolve the issue with the owner or manager of the firm.  There is likely a good reason for their issue, if there is it should be communicated to you long before it becomes a problem.  Should you still not be satisfied we would recommend filing a complaint with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Licensing Unit.  They should be more than happy to help you resolve your dispute.

We truly hope this helps you make an educated choice when hiring a private investigator in Arizona or any other state where one may be required.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about JB National Investigations in Phoenix Arizona please email me personally or visit our site at 

John Hopper
Director of Investigative Services
JB National Investigations, LLC

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