Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Investigator

If you’re asking “Where’s a private detective near me?,” you’re already unsettled. Something already doesn’t feel right, or doesn’t check out. Getting in touch with a private investigator should be the first step toward putting your mind at ease and getting life back to normal, and not a rabbit hole that raises more questions than it answers. To that end, there are questions you should ask of any professional investigator before you hire them—even Barefoot Professional Investigations.


Why Should I Hire a PI?

The first question is one to ask yourself. Why are you thinking of hiring a professional investigator? You may need a background check on a prospective employee, witness interviews, or help locating a long-lost loved one. You may need more specialized assistance like computer forensics or debugging and electronic countermeasures, which not all PIs offer. Knowing your needs will help you narrow your search. Your PI will also have questions to ensure that they’re the right fit and to understand your needs; thinking ahead will help you clarify your needs.


What Are Your Qualifications?

North Carolina requires licensure for private investigators, with requirements for age, citizenship, character, and experience; other services, like surveillance countermeasures, have further licensing requirements. Your PI should also be insured and bonded, and should be able to furnish proof of each of these things.


But licensure is only half the picture. Experience also makes a big difference when you’re seeking the best private investigators. Even though our work relies heavily on research and databases, it’s also based heavily in the ability to draw connections and ask the right questions—a skill honed by years’ worth of experience.


Do You Have References?

Most of us are asked for references when we’ve applied for jobs. A professional investigator is no different, and should be willing to put you in touch with past clients who can attest to the level of service provided.


How Will Communication be Handled?

This is a question that cuts both ways. Things come up during investigations. You’ll remember things that might have slipped your mind during the early stages, and we’ll uncover information that may need context or clarification. So it’s very important that each of us knows how and when to reach the right person for answers.


Will You Provide a Detailed Report?

Once the investigation is over, your PI should give you a detailed breakdown of their findings. In certain circumstances, it’s also necessary to present those findings in court, so you should find out whether the investigator in question has experience in a courtroom setting.


What Will This Cost?

This isn’t something that can be assigned a one-size-fits-all answer, since each client’s situation and needs are different. A good PI will take the time to understand the full scope of your needs, tailor their services accordingly, set proper expectations, and—this is especially important—put everything in writing. Any investigator who won’t do these things isn’t worth hiring.


Red-Flag Questions

Answers to certain questions you might ask—or information volunteered during an interview—might give you pause. If you notice any of these, the investigator you’re interviewing probably isn’t the right one for you:

  • A willingness to bend the rules
  • A promise of certain results or findings
  • An unwillingness to answer questions
  • Hesitation to work with lawyers or law enforcement
  • A history of breaking confidentiality


If you’re searching for a qualified professional investigator in Charlotte, you probably have some questions of your own that we haven’t covered here. And, as we’ve mentioned, we will have a few of our own. So for a confidential consultation, we invite you to get in touch with Barefoot Professional Investigations today.