Not all private investigators fit the description of Colombo: the old image of a P.I. wearing wrinkled clothes, sporting baggy eyes from lack of sleep and chewing on a old cigar is the stuff of television. Today’s private investigator industry is high tech and any investigator worth considering need to be trained and certified. In Monroe County there are many professional private investigators. Finding the one that meets your needs and budget will take a bit of investigating on your part as well.
The Usual Suspects
You need to find a private investigator and not just any private investigator. There are many ways to do this. Obviously if you have any friends who may have had a similar investigative need, you might try getting the name of the investigator that was used. Or you can go to the licensing organization for private investigators in New York state (einvestgators.com for example) to find the names of several possible private investigators through the contact information obtained from their directory. A Yellow page listing their qualifications also makes a good starting point. Make a list and start making calls.
Before you jump right in and start telling the investigator about your needs, there are a few things that you need to be asking him or her. It’s important to know the licensing requirements for an investigator in Monroe County. You should call the licensing board directly, as sometimes online databases are not up to date. Is the person’s license displayed in a conspicuous place in his/her office?
And just because someone is licensed doesn’t necessarily mean they are good-to-go. Have any complaints been filed? Ask how many years of experience does the private investigator have. And what’s more, how much experience does he/she have relevant to your particular type of case or better yet, how many cases like yours did the private investigator handle in the past year? And finally, does the investigator have any references from people whom he has worked for on cases similar to your own? You should definitely ask. The answers to questions like these help you separate the pro’s from the wanna-be’s.
You can bet that an investigator will likely check you out a bit before doing any work for you. That said, you should do the same to him. Website’s for private investigator’s don’t generally have a testimonial page with quotes from previous clients, but the county public records very well may. So check them out. You can discover if the investigator has any DUI offenses or criminal record or has ever declared bankruptcy. The absence of these may not mean he/she is a good private investigator but it does shed some light on the type of person you are working with.
It’s always good to know if a retainer is required. What will the fee structure be? You should not be surprised to hear that most private investigators charge an hourly rate and additionally expect to be paid a retainer fee. Ask for an estimate on the total charges for the case. Furthermore, will the private investigator charge you for disbursements (photocopying fees, telephone calls, and travel expenses)? Does he offer you a written contract that is easy for you to understand?
As you can see, finding a qualified private investigator in Rochester NY is a little more complicated than what you see in the movies or television. You’re dealing with personal information and people’s lives (including your own). You owe it to yourself to spend the time to investigate on your own so you find a qualified professional that will work for you and with you until your case can be closed.