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A Day in the Life of a Private Investigator

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A day in the life of a private investigator is never dull and definitely never the same. However, there are some tasks that are standard to the profession and are performed on a regular basis. To get an idea of what a PI spends most of their time doing, here are the eight most common responsibilities that go along with the job.


A large amount of time is spent researching information and doing online searches. This involves background checks, database searches, accessing social media sites, Google searches, as well as looking through the courthouse databases. Sometimes it may even be necessary to visit the courthouse to look through paper files and double check the online information.


PI’s also dedicate a lot of time to working in surveillance. This includes waiting, watching, listening, and working undercover to get photographic or video evidence. Their job is to find all the missing pieces of the puzzle and to obtain the proof needed to solve the case.


Part of the day may also be spent tracking down individuals. To locate someone, it’s necessary for the PI to interview people who may have knowledge of the person’s whereabouts and to track down a person of interest through databases or public records.


Talking to people is also an important part of being a PI. Conducting thorough interviews, asking questions, and obtaining the necessary information is crucial to their investigative work.

Organizing Evidence

It’s rare that a case will only need a small amount of information to solve it or close the job. Each day a PI will organize evidence, figure out the next steps necessary, and work at pulling all the details together.


Some PI’s are also hired to do employment background checks for companies. A taxi company may want to check on an applicant’s driving history, or a parent may want to know if a nanny is qualified. In either case, a PI can check the personal, financial, and criminal histories to provide peace of mind.

Verifying Information

Fact checking is regularly performed to ensure the information obtained is valid and legitimate. A PI will spend a significant amount of time verifying all the relevant facts to provide a detailed and accurate profile.

Testifying In Court

When evidence needs to be used in court, a PI may need to attend court to testify and make statements about the case. This doesn’t happen on a daily basis but is a vital part of the job and is something every PI should be prepared to do.

The day in the life of a PI is both exciting and rewarding. If you’re ready to dive in and learn everything you need to know to start your career in private investigation, contact us at Smith Investigation Agency. We offer a fully-online private investigator training course, designed to give you all the skills needed to write your licensing exam and become a successful PI. Sign up today to get started!

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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