Choosing a private investigator can be a difficult task. Emotions can run high, especially in domestic matters. In criminal cases, where a friend or loved one’s freedom is at stake, one can become overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown. But, by following these simple guidelines, you can obtain the services of a qualified, professional private investigator:
- Make sure the private investigator has a license. Verify that the private investigator is licensed in the jurisdiction where the work will be performed. In Pennsylvania, private investigators are licensed by each county’s Clerk of Courts. A simple call to the Clerk of Courts office can verify if the investigator is properly licensed.
- Make sure the private investigator carries liability insurance. Ask the private investigator if he or she carries professional liability insurance. Although not required in Pennsylvania, a professional private investigator will maintain professional liability insurance.
- Ensure the private investigator is a member of state professional associations. The private investigator should have memberships in local professional and business-related associations. In Pennsylvania, a professional private investigator will be a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Licensed Investigators (PALI). The professional investigator will also be a member of the Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce. You can easily verify online if the investigator belongs to these organizations.
- Confirm the private investigator is reachable. Make sure the private investigator is reachable. A professional investigator will have an office that is staffed during normal business hours.
- Confirm the private investigator has the right experience and education. Ask the investigator about his or her experience and education. A professional investigator will be able to go over their training and experience with you, which should be relative to the investigative field. Ask the investigator how many years he or she has been practicing.
- Feel comfortable with the private investigator. You need to feel comfortable talking with the private investigator. A professional investigator will listen to you and make you feel at ease. If you feel uncomfortable or pressured when talking with the investigator, you should consider choosing another investigator.
- Discuss confidentiality. If you are looking to hire a personal investigator, you are likely dealing with sensitive information and private matters. Ensure that the PI will maintain confidentiality, be discreet and respectful, and only share information between you and the PI.
- Get a contract. Be sure to sign a contract with the private investigator. A professional private investigator will contract with you to spell out the scope of the investigation as well as the fees you will be responsible to pay.
Contact Shinkowsky Investigations at 1-800-276-0202 to discuss your case. There is never a charge for the initial consultation.