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10 Great Questions to Ask before you Hire a Private Investigation Agency

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So. You have a problem that only a private investigation agency can solve. How do go you go about finding the right private investigator for the job? If you turn to Google for help, you’ll find yourself with a lengthy list of private investigator websites, each claiming that their agency provides the best services in Ontario. At first glance, one or two of these websites might catch your eye. You might read a few reviews and check the agency’s Better Business Bureau rating (BBB). Still, it’s not enough to know for sure if that agency has a private investigator that can handle your specific case.

The moment you hand over any money, you want to make sure that you’re going to see results. It is why we highly recommend that you ask a private investigation agency at least 10 questions before you sign any agreement. These 10 questions can vary, however, when working with our clients, we’ve found a top ten set of questions that will certainly help you make a final decision.

Don’t Hire the First Agency You Find!

Let’s say you wanted to buy a house. Would you buy the very first house you saw? Not likely. The best thing to do in this situation is to visit a few houses. By broadening your search and viewing more than one option, you can better determine what you like or don’t like.

The same logic applies to picking a private investigation agency. You want to make sure that the private investigator working on your case has the experience and knowledge to help you solve a problem.

We have quite a bit of experience in this department. In fact, recently we had an individual call our agency that told us that they planned on calling other companies. In the end, she chose us because she appreciated the time our private investigator took to answer questions. After we helped this individual with their case, they told us that they were extremely happy with the results and quick turnaround.

Call the Private Investigation Agency

After you choose a few private investigation agencies that seem like a good fit, it’s time to pick up the phone and give them a call. Calling a private investigation company is a great way to find out whether or not the agency is right for you. It enables you to speak to a private investigator directly. Based on his or her responses, you can then compare one private investigation agency to another.

In some cases, it’s possible to meet with the private investigator face to face. If this is something the private investigation agency recommends you might want to give it a try. Either way, make sure you ask questions before signing up for any services.

The 10 Best Question to Ask the Private Investigation Agency

While on the phone with the private investigation agency, you need to ask any and all questions you might have about how they will handle your case. It’s possible to have many different types of questions. We understand. Your case matters to you, and a good private investigator or private investigation agency will treat your case with the care it deserves.

1. Are all of your private investigators licensed?

This is an important question because a licensed private investigator will not get in trouble with the law. Should the private investigator find themselves in a situation where someone asks to see their license, they must show a valid private investigator’s license to the individual. If they don’t, it means that the private investigator isn’t really a private investigator. It also means that he or she is operating illegally and any information or evidence they provide to you can’t be used in court.

Make sure that you work with a private investigation agency that only hires licensed private investigators. Don’t hesitate to ask for further proof yourself, just to make sure.

2. How long have you been a private investigator?

This is an important question to ask because you want to know that the private investigator you hire is experienced. An inexperienced private investigator might not know where to find particular information. They might also need a bit more practice in different areas like surveillance.

Overall, you want your case to go off without a hitch. Therefore, if you simply want a background check done on a potential employee, working with someone who only has one year of experience might work out okay for you. If you need a private investigator to track down a gang of criminals who have stolen product from your company, you will likely want someone with much more experience.

3. Have you handled a case similar to mine before?

This question helps to make sure that both you and the private investigator are on the same page. It also helps you to better understand the private investigator’s level of experience. You want to feel confident that the private investigator you hire knows how to approach your case. It means that your case will get solved faster and without error.

4. How do you conduct surveillance?

This question will lead you to many other surveillance questions like, what kind of equipment do you use? Is the type of surveillance the private investigator uses legal or illegal? What kind of information will you receive from the private investigator if they find anything while conducting surveillance?

These questions will help you to better understand if the private investigation agency uses the latest and greatest in tools and technology. It also means that they likely use more modern private investigation techniques.

5. Can you provide references?

You will want to speak to clients who the private investigation agency has worked with before. If the private investigator cannot provide any references, you might want to think twice about hiring the company. Speaking with references is a great way to determine if the private investigator is as good as they claim.

6. How and when will you provide updates during the case?

How and when the private investigator will engage with you during your case is very important to understand. You don’t want to bother the private investigator but you also want to know if the private investigator has made any progress. Finding out what the private investigation agency’s policy is on communication will help you to feel much more comfortable during the investigation.

7. What is the cost?

This is a good question to ask a private investigation agency. Many different agencies charge different fees for all of the different services they provide. A few examples of different types of services include,

  • Background checks
  • Skip trace
  • Surveillance
  • Locate individual or product
  • Cheating spouses

The cost will depend on a variety of factors. What you need to decide is whether or not the price the private investigation agency quotes you is worth the value of the service. That being said: cheaper isn’t always better. If the price of the service seems too good to be true—it likely is! Some private investigation companies charge an incredibly low upfront fee, only to tell their client that they need more time and money to continue the investigation.

8. What happens if you don’t find any information?

Sometimes the private investigator will reach a dead end. You need to understand that if or when this happens, what the agency’s policy? Will they continue the investigation for as long as it takes to find the answer? If so, will you need to pay more for the additional services?

Clarifying the private investigator’s policies will really help to save you from trouble or misunderstandings that might pop up in the future.

9. Do you have male and female private investigators?

You might want to work with a female private investigator. Or, you might not care at all if your private investigator is male or female. The key here is to ask for what makes you comfortable. If you prefer one type of private investigator over another, speak up and ask. There’s nothing wrong with specifying who you want to work with.

10. How does the Private Investigator Respond to your Questions?

This one isn’t really a question for you to ask a private investigator agency, but it’s important nonetheless! When you ask a question, it’s not only important to listen to the answer, but also to how the private investigator responds. Do you like their response? Maybe they sound overconfident? Do they actually answer the question?

For example, let’s say that you call a private investigation agency and ask them whether or not they’ve had experience with a case like yours. If the private investigator snaps at you for asking such a ridiculous question, expect similar treatment if you decide to hire them.

It’s Your Choice.

At the end of the day, you want to work with people interested in handling your case. You also want to work with qualified, hard-working private investigators. These are people with the skills to get you answers. The good news is that these types of private investigation agencies do exist, and if you ask the right questions and pick the right one, you’ll find yourself extremely happy with the results.

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

2 thoughts on “10 Great Questions to Ask before you Hire a Private Investigation Agency

  1. It really helped when you talked about private investigators and what to consider before choosing one! Recently, one of my uncles said he’s interested in hiring a private investigator. My uncle mentioned one of his friends is not answering calls and owes him some big money, so I’ll be sure to share your tips with him! Thanks for the advice on meeting different investigators!

  2. I agree with you when you said that I should ask a private investigator to provide references I can contact to ensure they are as good as they claim. My mom plans to hire one soon for personal reasons. I’ll share your tips with her by sending this article to her email.

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