Where do I start?

Investigation and/or research services don’t have to be expensive, so before you hire anyone, start by thinking seriously about all of these things:

1. Do you really need a licensed and bonded private investigator?

2. How you would describe the problem you’re trying to solve?

3. What will you do when you get the information you seek?

4. An honest and unemotional assessment of what you have to gain or lose, 

5. How much time and money you’re willing to spend to get what you need.


If you don’t yet know all the answers, we can discuss them during the initial consultation to see if we are right for your needs.


People often have concerns, doubts, or suspicions about a person or a situation, and these instincts are usually correct. They may already have the information they seek but need something confirmed or supplemented. 


Consider there may be other ways for you to get the information that don’t require advanced skills, methods, discretion, or the cost of hiring an investigator. 

If you decide to work with us, we will work with you to design a plan to be as efficient as possible with your time and money.


Finally, think about what you intend to do with what you learn. Using the information to make a personal or business decision is very different from using it in court.

Do you give free consultations?

We offer a free 15-minute phone call to discuss your case.


You never have to give your full name, or even your real name, during the initial call.


No records are kept of those initial consultation calls. 

What can I expect when I call you the first time?

Additional Information

When you call, a live person will answer the phone. 


If we’re unable to take your call at that time and you leave a voicemail, we’ll return your call as soon as we can. We know it’s important to talk to someone as soon as possible, so we don’t screen calls.


Before you call…

Think about how to describe the problem you’re trying to solve, what you’ll do when you get the information, what you have to gain or lose, and your budget. We’re going to ask you about those things and more.


Then call us…

We usually only answer, “Hello, this is ___. How can I help you?” This is for a reason. If someone accesses your phone records, they may call our number to see who you’ve been calling. 


And, if they’re checking your phone records, then they already suspect something…but at least we’ll know they know, so we can adjust our approach appropriately.


You never have to give your full name, or even your real name, during the initial call. There is no reason for you to share any personal information before you make the decision to hire an investigator. However, we will need your real information if we both decide to move forward with providing services to you.


During the call…

We believe in mutual trust, discretion, respect, and security.

Anything and everything we discuss on the call is always confidential. 

Your trust has likely been violated by someone else or you have something to discuss that is sensitive and that’s why you’re calling us.


In most cases, we can have a 15-minute conversation. You will most likely have some questions for us and we will probably have some questions for you to help us both better understand the issues. 


If at the end of the call it makes sense for us to move forward, we can make an appointment to meet and discuss the issue further face-to-face. In some circumstances, if we both feel comfortable, we can move forward with the process on the telephone.

Do you take every case?

No. 


Our goal is to provide every client the same high level of professional excellence and the outcome they desire.


To achieve that goal, we assess each case on our probability of success for the timeline, budget, scope of work, and risks. Those four things are interconnected, and like most things in life, can be resolved with more resources and/or planning. So, we will always negotiate with you, where possible.


We won’t take your case if we suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or if we suspect you’re being untruthful with us in any way. This is non-negotiable.


We also won’t conduct investigations for persons who have any kind of court-ordered protection or restraining order filed against them. (Stalking masked as “surveillance” is against the law.)


Difficult clients will also be turned away because they often need services someone else provides; such as a lawyer, psychotherapist, financial counselor, or travel agent.


Where possible, we can refer you to other service providers.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept several different methods of payment, including credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), personal checks, money orders, PayPal, and cash.


If your bank, debit card, credit card, or cancelled checks can be accessed by anyone else (e.g. spouse or employee on a shared bank account), we can discuss alternative methods for payment. In some cases, clients will buy a pre-paid credit card or have a friend or relative make the payment. 


Don’t let inconvenience prevent you from calling us. We’ll find a way that works for everyone.

How will charges appear on my credit card?

If you need to pay with a credit card, we'll let you know how to recognize how our services will appear on your statement.


Should someone inquire about us after seeing your billing statement, obtaining other information about us is intentionally difficult.

Can I just drop into your office to discuss hiring you?

We don’t have an office that’s open to the public.


Instead, we work on an appointment basis and will meet with you at a time and place that works for everyone involved.


This protects both us and the clients. 

How quickly can you start an investigation?

This is usually determined by our current caseload.


In order to maintain a high level of professional excellence in our investigations, we only handle a limited number of cases at any given time.


We assess each case on our probability of success for the timeline, budget, scope of work, and risks. Those four things are interconnected, and like most things in life, can be resolved with more resources and/or planning.


Although not the norm, if there is an open slot, the planning cycle is simple, and the retainer is on already file, we can usually get started the same day.


Please let us know if you have special circumstances. We’ll do everything we can to meet your needs.

Will you provide copies of the video, photos, or a report?

Yes. You will be provided with copies of any video, photos…and if specifically requested, a detailed report.


It’s important to know the time it takes to compose a detailed report is billable time. It can often take as many hours to compile the report as it did to collect the information. 


You’ll save time and money if we simply discuss what we discovered in our investigation and send only you what you need.


Also, you may reduce your risk by not having a formal report that could be discovered by someone else.


For clients that desire or require a formal report, we can discuss the content and format to make it as efficient for you as possible.

Are my communications with you kept discreet & confidential?

Every case is kept strictly confidential and always handled in a very discreet and professional manner.


Your security is our security.


Some cases may require a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

What do I need to know about surveillance?

Surveillance is billed by the hour and can be unnecessarily expensive, especially when there is little or no information provided up-front (e.g. photo of the target), when not effectively planned, or worse yet when conducted by someone that’s happy to take your money for long hours.


Also, the complexity of a successful surveillance operation depends upon the target itself, access to the target, and the scope of information you need us to obtain. It’s possible a second investigator may be needed, especially in the case of moving surveillance or 24/7 coverage.


For these reasons, many clients abandon the need because they can’t afford it. But there may be other ways to get the information you need without excessive cost. 


When we understand the requirement, we can then discuss your options and plan effectively to meet your needs. We’ll never start an investigation without discussing the plan.


For example, if you already know the most common locations for the target you want surveilled, we can build a plan to confirm their presence at those locations at specific times, rather than watch them for extended periods of time. We may also hire informants to help cue us or confirm the target has arrived or departed. 


If you need specific information, such as a single video or picture to prove the existence of something, where the target goes on certain days or times, how long they stay, whom they meet, or what they do when there; then we can build a plan around those well-defined requirements.


These types of approaches save you money and greatly reduce risk.


If you need surveillance on a difficult target who may create risk for our investigators, we can discuss separately those requirements, along with the necessary methods, costs, and timelines. 


Higher risks will likely create additional costs and possibly other support requirements (e.g. aircraft).


You tell us the “what, when, and why” and we’ll tell you the “how and how much.” 

How much does a private investigator cost?

Our base rate is $85 per hour, per investigator. The total cost is primarily determined by the scope of work and the number of hours it’ll take to achieve it. Other factors are also considered.


The more upfront and reliable information you can provide us ahead of time, the better the estimate we can offer you. When we understand what you need to know or the results you’re trying to achieve, we’ll develop an effective and efficient plan that meets your needs.


We assess each case on our probability of success for the timeline, budget, scope of work, and risks. Those four things are interconnected, and like most things in life, can be resolved with more resources and/or planning.


We’ll always negotiate with you, where possible.


If you have special circumstances, please let us know in advance.

How much is the retainer?

In many cases, we require a retainer deposit, which is based on the number of hours we estimate it’ll take to complete the job. Our services agreement contains specific information on those rates.


Investigative services are then billed against the retainer.


At any point during the investigation (and at the completion of the case), we will inform you of the remaining balance.

I’m thinking of doing this myself. Is that legal?

If it is your spouse you are following, it is probably legal. If not, if it is an ex-spouse or ex-boy/girlfriend, you are probably criminally stalking that person. It’s against the law, creates an unnecessary risk, and has very real consequences.


Keep in mind when considering this option, even if you are on solid legal ground, the person you’re trying to surveil knows you, your friends, your habits, and/or your vehicle. 


When you find what you’re looking for, you may become emotional and could make a mistake. They may recognize or at least become aware of you.  And at the point that they discover you, you’ll be exposed. 


As a result, you may also be pushed into taking immediate action (e.g. forced to move out that night) when they realize what you know or feel you have broken their trust. You may also create risk for others (e.g. your kids, family, and/or friends) or may lose access to your personal belongings.


In most cases, you are simply too close to the action to think and act objectively, rather than emotionally. 

What's the benefit of proving my spouse is cheating?

It’s often the “not knowing” that is the worst aspect of cheating in a relationship.


It can be a difficult time should you suspect your partner isn’t being faithful. Obviously, if your partner is cheating, you definitely have the right to know. If they’re not, then you need proof in order to alleviate your uncertainty and concern. It’s only by having the facts that you can confront your partner or get on with your life.


In most cases, clients just want concrete proof so that they can gain some understanding, peace of mind, and then make a decision. Basing your decisions on facts rather than feelings or emotions can make decisions easier.


Note, many state family courts aren’t concerned about infidelity or the reason for your breakup, but the evidence we uncover in the course of our investigations may give you additional “leverage” in your divorce negotiations. People prefer to keep certain behaviors out of the public eye.


In other cases, concrete proof is the only thing that can force the unfaithful spouse to finally come to terms with the situation and admit the truth so that the healing process could begin to move forward.

Are there any other costs besides the hourly fee?

We don’t add extra for mileage or meals as long we don’t have to travel out of the local area.


We require reimbursement for unusual expenses such as paying informants, copies, access to events (e.g. concert tickets), airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, etc.


We also require reimbursement for any equipment (e.g. remote cameras) that must be abandoned or cannot be recovered due to operational changes and limitations directed by, or caused by, the client (e.g. cancelling services without notice).

Do you handle cases of child custody?

  

Yes. As parents, we share your concerns.


We handle different aspects of child custody disputes; from proving that someone is actually working (or has an income), to proving a parent is exposing a child to a potentially harmful or dangerous situations or people.


This could also include situations where alcohol, drugs or physical, mental and/or emotional abuse are involved, or even a young child being left unattended.

What does a background investigation include?

When we understand the results you’re trying to achieve, we’ll develop a plan that meets your needs, timeline, and budget.


A background investigation can include everything from finding out where someone presently lives to a comprehensive background check. Comprehensive checks can include available criminal and civil court records, public records checks, interviewing associates, social network analysis, going through someone’s garbage (a very dirty job, but often very productive and informative), and surveillance to confirm certain information.


Our background investigations are not to be confused with the “instant Internet background checks” that can be purchased on-line. Those are just collections of data that may or may not be correct, or meet your needs.

Do you conduct pre-employment background investigations?

The answer is “no” with one exception. 


Pre-employment background checks are covered by the regulations and rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and we don’t meet their compliance requirements. If you’re an employer, you should become familiar with this law.


One exception within FCRA is for a position where the candidate is going for a job where the annual income will be greater than $75,000. We can conduct those investigations.