Lookout Investigations believes experience matters and suggests clients check references before hiring an investigations firm. We will gladly provide professional and legal references.
Our experience includes more than 3,000 personal, civil and criminal investigations (including 50 jury trials) and more than 30 years investigative experience (20 years as a licensed California private investigator).
How to investigate your PI? Start with some solid tips:
- Does the person who will actually work your case personally have a state license. In California you can check: Here. (Hint: The lower the number, the longer the PI has been in business.) Make sure the license holder or qualified manager — not some intern or investigator in training — will actually work you case.
- Will they provide verifiable references (some PIs hide behind client confidentiality when asked for client references. The truth is most satisfied clients will gladly provide a reference.) Please see our “Kind Words” section for examples.
- Can you verify their experience (beware of vague claims of “law enforcement experience” or “military training.” Ask what agency they worked for, if they were “sworn officers” and whether their duties actually included investigation. Ask for a badge or unit number and a supervisor’s name. Ask why they left the agency!)
- Most CA PIs work on a retained basis with the hourly rate and expenses charged off against the retainer. Ask whether any unused retainer will be refunded and when (our policy is within 10 working days).
- Ask if you will receive a detailed work log or time sheet. You are entitled to a report if you request one. An oral report is fine, but if appropriate to your case, ask for a written report (but remember the investigator will charge for report writing time). For surveillance cases detailed field notes should be provided on request. (Lookout Investigations takes field notes as well as time-stamped photos every hour on surveillance assignments and will provide them upon request.)
- Actually speak with the investigator (other than office staff) for answers to your questions. This is important for the investigator to understand the client’s needs and the nuances of the assignment. If the investigator is unwilling or too busy to speak with a new client…well, think about it.
What does a private investigator do?
Private detectives and investigators find facts and analyze information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, including verifying people’s backgrounds, tracing missing persons, investigating computer crimes, and protecting…
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