What does the process of hiring a private investigator look like for a personal case?
We consider cases that involve Infidelity, Child Custody and Stalking, etc to be “personal cases.” Below is the process for hiring a P.I. for a personal case.
The Process Starts with a Phone Call
In most personal cases, the process starts when the prospective client calls into our office and speaks with a receptionist. If the caller has a question that the receptionist can easily handle, she will answer the question. But in most cases, if the situation is somewhat complex, like a cheating spouse or a child custody matter, the receptionist will forward the caller to either myself or a senior investigator.
It’s funny, but I can’t tell you how often the conversation starts off with something like, “I’ve never called a private investigator before.” I’m usually relieved to hear this, because if I suspected that you were in the regular habit of calling on private investigators for personal matters, I might be a bit leery.
In any case, one of the very first questions is usually, “How much does it cost?” Unfortunately, this isn’t a question we can answer without first asking a few questions of our own. So, don’t be too upset when we turn it around on you with a question of our own. Think of the process a doctor uses. You can’t just walk into a doctor’s office and ask him, “What kind of medicine can you give me?” without him first having to ask you a few questions about what might be making you feel sick.
So, expect us to ask a general question like this; “Why do you think he might be cheating?” We might ask some follow-up questions like:
- How long have you suspected something might be going on?
- Do you have any ideas who the other man/woman might be?
There is no charge for this initial call and we can usually listen and answer questions for about 5-10 minutes to see if it makes sense to move forward.
The One-Hour Consultation Meeting
In most cases, if it sounds like we might be able to work together, we will schedule a one-hour consultation meeting in our office. This in-person consultation serves two purposes. First of all, it gives everyone involved a better opportunity to see if we feel comfortable working with each other. Secondly, we can gather more information, further flesh out the details, put together a strategy and a plan.
During this part of the process, we would usually determine if it makes sense to employ GPS trackers as well as how and when we will go about installing them.
Obviously, it is not always feasible to meet in person. In some circumstances, the caller is out of town. In other cases, time constraints simply don’t permit an in-person meeting. In these situations, pertinent information and payment arrangements can be made over the phone.
Obviously, not every private investigator will have the exact same process. Many private investigators don’t have receptionists and some don’t even have an office. That doesn’t make them a bad P.I., but it does change up their process.
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The goal of this site is simple; to be the most-trusted and best source of information about every aspect of private investigators and private investigations, whether you are looking to do your own private investigation or considering hiring a private investigator
Paul Baeppler is currently a full-time police lieutenant with 25 years on the job. He also runs several private investigation and security businesses, licensed in Ohio, California and New York.