Looking for a Reliable Private Investigator? 5 Questions to Ask

Flashy offices, whiskey bottles, cameras, and coats. These are the cinematic pictures that come into our minds whenever we think of private investigators. The unique lifestyle captured in black and white and entails taking advantage of corrupt contacts down at the precinct to bust cheating spouses and unfaithful business partners. If you find all this to be familiar, you are not alone.

You could also be one of many who know very little about private investigation practices. These experts leverage several tools they have to conduct some useful investigative tasks but the standards of a good Greenville private investigator in the market might not hit the big screen any time soon. People who seek such services will find themselves in good, safe hands as long as they look for the right things. These are 5 questions to ask a private investigator you are looking to hire:


Are you licensed and what is your number?

Private investigation is not something anyone can do. Depending on the state in question, detectives in training must adhere to various standards before they are allowed to practice. In South Carolina, aspiring PI’s should always have several hours of fieldwork experience. A test that runs for two hours is done assessing several things ranging from familiarity with the laws to correct handling of evidence. Diligent studying is required to understanding the statutes, ethics, and standards of the job and a federal background is a must before the certification is given. Aside from that, all these requirements should be adhered to regularly to keep the license valid.

Due to the high standards of quality and credibility held by licensed private investigators, begin by confirming with your state concerning a firm or individuals licensing status. When contacting a PI, everyone will claim they are licensed, so go ahead and check if their license number is valid in Greenville, SC. If the entity is reputable, they should embed their license number on their site, business card or any other promotional material. Doing this will make sure that your PI maintains high standards consistently.

What is your Background?

It has been proven, understanding your PI is vital to your investigation. Asking for a simple summary of their work background helps you get an idea of how good they are. Did they do some time in the police force? FBI? Aside from their previous work experience, this helps you ascertain that they are retired police and not fired ones. Being expelled from law enforcement can be a result of anything such as poor performance to unwarranted practices; things you would definitely have to be aware of before enlisting their services. Knowing this will give you clues regarding their skills and expertise.

The investigator’s background can help you choose the right individual. Have they done work in financial crime? Surveillance? Knowing the special characteristics of your PI can help you to pick one with the right skills for your specific case. Even if they have not worked in law enforcement before, an unconventional background can give significant advantages to your case.

Who is the Actual Investigator?

Professional investigative companies are rarely operated by one person. For them to deliver top quality services, they have teams made up of different types of people with different backgrounds, licenses, and skills for them to take on your case in the best way possible. For this reason, it is good to find out about the licensing status and skillset of the specific people who will deal with your case. Check if they have any personal strengths that can assist in your case and ensure that they follow the right practices and ethics.

How many years have you been working as a licensed private investigator?

It is important to note that the certification process is difficult, so while a private investigator may not have been practicing many years, it does not mean they are not good at what they do. Even a rookie PI can help your investigation. However, it helps to understand that with more complicated issues such as professional surveillance and custody cases, the experience is key. Aside from that, PIs with a proven record of success and good behavior are better placed to deliver what you expect. Just keep in in mind that going for a new, reputable and qualified PI is not bad.

Do you use any legal ‘grey’ techniques of getting information?

This is critical. Getting the right person and assessing the background of the people working for them is good, but the integrity of your case can take a sharp turn if it emerges that the information at hand was got through illegal means. The challenge comes in the fact that between the renown legal methods and strictly illegal ones, lies a lot of grey ones. For your safety, ensure that you state what you are willing to go with in your contract.

To be sure, request some work samples for you to check the methods they use for investigation. A top private investigator should give you these without hesitation, but they will make sure to conceal the name and information for confidentiality. What you can gather from this are the methods they employ and the complexity of that case. With this at hand, you will be assured of getting the best treatment in accordance with your values and character.

Private investigation is a useful tool for individuals with particular legal requirements. Enlisting the services of a private investigator calls for a degree of scrutiny and care to make sure that all the ethical and professional requirements are met. Find out more about licensing, methodology, and staff credentials.

Be clear on your ethical boundaries before signing a contract and go through previous samples to see their work. Get hold of your information and case, without forgetting the peace of mind by asking the right questions when you are about to enter into an agreement and be assured that your due diligence will come in handy in court.



Reid Latham
Easy to talk with and does a great job! Very discreet and a pleasure to work with. They know what to do and how to do and when to do it.
Jesse McGeE
10 out of 10 great people and very professional. 5 stars all the way.
James Martin
From my experience of knowing the Hawkins family. If you want professional service and dependability try Upstate Private Investigators.