If you find yourself in a situation where you need to hire a private investigator, you have a lot of things to consider before selecting one. The reason is, most people commit a lot of mistakes when hiring an investigator since you don’t exactly find that many reasons to hire one, so it’s hard to know what to expect. If you want to avoid any pitfalls, here are some of the common mistakes to avoid when hiring a private investigator.

Not Asking for Work Experience and References

The work of local private investigators can be of a sensitive nature, which makes it all the more important for you to scrutinize them thoroughly before hiring them. You should ask about the kind of investigative work they’ve done previously and what the outcome was. They may not provide you with details and names due to client confidentiality, but at least you get an idea of how they work and what their accomplishments are. If possible, you should also ask them to provide some references that you can talk to.

Failure to Request Proof of License and Insurance

While each state has its own regulations about licensing private investigators, it pays to ask for the investigator’s credentials. They should also be bonded and have general liability insurance coverage, all of which should have proof that they can show you. If the investigator or the agency is hesitant to provide you with these documents, you should be cautious about hiring them. It’s probably best to move on and find another investigator with the right credentials.

Not Asking About the Investigator’s Methods

Aside from experience, it’s also crucial that you ask about the investigator’s methods and what process they are following when doing their work. An experienced investigator should be able to outline a strategic plan of action based on your individual case. Why, do you ask? Just like any other profession, there are certain guidelines and ethical boundaries that have to be followed. If your investigator’s methods are questionable and may even be illegal, then you’re better off hiring someone else.

Hiring an Investigator Without Meeting Them

Make sure you hire an investigator only after meeting them in person. While it may not always be possible to meet them due to a number of reasons, you should try your best to set up a meeting at their own office. Yes, a professional and reputable private investigator should have a decent enough office to receive clients. Otherwise, an investigator operating from a dingy basement or a Starbucks is already a big red flag. 

Waiting Too Long to Hire a Professional Investigator

Yes, your search for a private investigator takes time and effort, but you need to find the right one as soon as possible. By their nature, most situations for which you’d hire a professional investigator won’t resolve themselves. More often than not, cases are time-sensitive, and the longer time it takes for you to hire an investigator, there could be a lot of development on your case already. Whether it’s a custody dispute, a computer forensics investigation, or an employee background check, it might get harder to solve as time progresses. 

Don’t wait too long when hiring an investigator. Once you’ve found someone who suits your needs and your qualifications, set up a meeting and ask them to start as soon as possible.


Regardless of your current situation, hiring a private investigator could very well be the solution to your problems. However, finding a competent and highly skilled investigator can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t know anything about working with one. Hopefully, these tips help you avoid any of the common mistakes in hiring an investigator, so you won’t experience any further complications with your case.

Security Solutions International is the number one local private investigator and bodyguard service in Fredericksburg, VA. Our security agents and investigators are highly trained and certified to provide quality service that focuses on safety, reliability, and customer satisfaction. If you’re looking for a private investigator or other effective security solutions, feel free to give us a call. Contact us today to get started!