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Life as a Private Investigator-on the job!

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Hi, I am Whitney Joy Smith the owner of The Smith Investigation Agency Ontario’s award winning investigative agency. I wanted to give individuals insight on private investigations, and what we as private detectives do on a daily basis.


Prep the file with investigative research-

This seems like it would be standard but for some reason, it is not. We only start a file with all the information possible to complete the investigative services with the best of quality. Once we receive the file from the client whether they are a private individual who is looking for infidelity investigations, family investigations, catch a cheater, or a lawyer or business looking for W.S.I.B. Investigations, employee dismissal, surveillance, etc. We always start by completing a deep investigative search into the file to ensure we have all the facts and information before attending.


Prep the file by ensuring your car and equipment are ready-

As private eyes, we are often on the road, and therefore we have all the equipment at a ready, but in some cases and for different files you need additional batteries for your equipment, inverters in the vehicle to charge all of your equipment and want to ensure your vehicle is in top mechanical shape. A full tank of gas and nicely cleaned tinted windows. Clean windows are very important as you can take video that would be excellent and ruin the quality by having dirty windows that distort the quality of the image.


Leaving for your investigation-

Stop and get a coffee, or two 🙂 If I have a file starting at 6:00 a.m. I am always at the file by at least 5:30 a.m. You want to check the area ensure you have a good parking spot that is in a discrete location. Then ensure all equipment is set up and ready for the subject to exit the residence.



I have sat on files for days and weeks and not see a subject enter or exit the residence. However, you know they are there with lights on, vehicles in the driveway, etc. Especially on insurance related or W.S.I.B. type of fraud investigations most subjects are aware investigators may follow them to document their physical limitations or restrictions. On the other hand, some people are homebodies so be prepared for someone who either does not want to leave their residence due to upcoming medical appointments or people who are just like staying inside.

I was on a file last year and sat for over 50 hours before the subject was seen. I knew he was home because his vehicle was in the driveway but he did not leave the residence for several days. When the subject finally did leave he went to a video game store and purchased some new equipment for a game he had just bought and talked to the store workers about how all he did for the last five days was play that video game. You never know what a subjects behavior or schedule is like so you have to be prepared for anything.


Completing the file Reporting-

As private investigators, we often have reports that can be up to 100 pages long. When you are documenting subject activity especially with any medical issues you have to be very detailed in describing a subjects activities. For instance, this is an example of the start of a report for the day:

“7:00 a.m.    Our investigator arrived in the vicinity of the above-stated address. Upon arrival, we noted the residence to be described as a single detached house constructed in red colored bricks and facing the southeast. There were seven steps leading to the front door of the residence; there is a two car garage with the doors presently closed.

The subject’s black Chevrolet Silverado Z71, bearing Ontario license plate number ABCD 123, was parked on the driveway.

The front door to the residence was closed, all visible window coverings were closed, and there were no lights on inside or outside the residence. There was no activity observed at this time.

Our investigator obtained a discrete surveillance position in order to document the subject’s anticipated departure from her residence.”

As you can see that is just one input in a report. With detail like this, your reports can be very long and require a significant amount of detail but only sharing facts and not opinions.


Completing the file editing video-

Editing video is one of my personal favorites next to the actual surveillance itself. I am a videographer by nature so when you put together the subject video, and you see the video clear, clean and perfectly showing your subjects activities you are proud of the work done on the file and proud to share it with your clients. Not everyone takes pride in their work, so its good to find a company who is results focused. Afterall if you are paying thousands for investigative services you want them to be done properly and have the evidence you need.

Once you have completed the file, you send it to the client, and they can use the results in court, for business or for personal use. If you require a private investigator for surveillance, investigative research, etc. please call or email our team today, and we would be happy to assist you in your investigative needs.

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