Q12. Who will handle my case?
This question will only need to be asked if you hire a private investigation firm with more than one investigator. You will want to know and be guaranteed you will have a good investigator assigned to your case.
Q13. Can you or the investigator assigned to my case work with my lawyer?
If you have a lawyer requesting you hire a private investigator, first ask if they can recommend one. Otherwise, when you start looking to hire a private investigator, ask them if they will work with your lawyer. They should agree, but if not, keep looking. You can also ask your lawyer to assist you when hiring a private detective.
Q14. How will we contact each other during the investigation?
This is important particularly if you live or work in close proximity to the person under investigation and don’t want to alert them to the investigation.
Q15. How will I be updated on my case?
Ask the private investigator how they will keep you updated on progress. It may be a daily email report, telephone call, or a weekly report if the case is large and complex. Decide how and in what form you want to be kept up-to-date and ask the investigator, can they provide this.
Q16. Will you provide a detailed report?
Most private investigators will provide a detailed written report, particularly a final case report. Ask them what case reports you will receive and in what format, particularly the final report. Also ask about photographic evidence (if applicable) to go along with the report. You will need all of this, particularly if you involve a lawyer or intend court action.
Q17. Do you use illegal or unethical means of investigating or obtaining information?
Q18. Are you willing to be a witness in court if needed?
Private investigators generally expect to and are experienced in court hearings as professional witnesses. But ask the investigator to be certain. If they are not willing and you plan on taking your case to court then find another investigator.
Q19. What happens if you or the assigned investigator gets caught out? Ask the investigator what his Standard Operating Procedures are if they get caught out investigating the subject (person under investigation). Do they have a back-up story? Do they cease surveillance? What’s their back-up plan? How do they protect your anonymity?
Q20. How fast can you get started on my case?
Ask the private investigator how long before they can get started. What you want to know here is whether or not the investigator you plan to hire already has cases pending or active.
If the investigator has other active cases you want to ensure they are spending quality time on your case. Flicking from case to case is like changing TV channels to other programmes, having to refocus on the case at hand and wasting your time and your money.
If the investigator cannot put all of their attention on your case then look elsewhere.
Q21. Do you have a contract or agreement form?
Ask for a copy and if you can amend it if you are not happy with certain conditions. Most private investigator contracts will have certain conditions that remain fixed that you will have to agree to. But there should also be a section in the contract that is personalised for you and your case, as no two cases are exactly the same.
You will only sign an agreement form once the costs and terms have been settled and are entered into the contact.
Q22. How much do you cost?
This is another big question to ask a private investigator you want to hire. Get a clear idea of the investigator's hiring costs and expenses involved, and make sure to ask the investigator that this is clearly set out in your agreement or contract before you hire them. Also ask if they require a retainer (money up front), most investigators do.
Q23. Can you guarantee the result I want?
One thing that should be highlighted here, which is most important, and which may sting you a little, is that a private investigator cannot guarantee you the result you require or want.
What is meant by that?
A private investigator is hired to find out the truth of something regardless of what you think, feel, or expect. If you hire a private investigator for a suspected cheating spouse but in truth they are not cheating, then that is the truth. If you hire a private investigator to find out who in your company is stealing but actually no one is, it’s errors in accounting, well that is the truth.
What you want or expect as a result in your investigation is not always what you are going to get, or read in your reports. A private investigator cannot guarantee the results you want. The investigator can only guarantee they do a thorough job; the outcome, that’s another story.