Talking with a private investigator is not something most people do every day. Here’s how it works.
When you call one of my offices, you might speak directly with me or one of my investigators.
You might be surprised that we are going to get right to the point with you.
We want to understand your situation, and exactly what you would like us to do about it.
After 43 years of investigative experience, it would be very rare for you to have a case we have not heard of or done previously.
We also want to determine if what you are asking us to do is legal.
For example, we get many calls from people who want us to “bug” the phone of their spouse or significant other, or retrieve their text messages. This is not something we do, as even attempting these assignments would be against the law.
After I understand your situation, I’m going to tell you 3 things:
- What service or services will be done to solve the problem
- How long it will take
- How much it will cost
That’s it. This will likely be a pretty quick call. I’ll answer any specific questions you have, but I’m a straight shooter and you’ll have everything you need in front of you to make a decision. Easy.
Even if you don’t choose Martin Investigative Services, I want you to choose a good private investigation firm. I’ve even posted about some other good private investigators I recommend. I care that you get quality work, even if it’s from another agency. Make sure the private investigator you select is licensed, in good standing with the State they are licensed in and that they have an office you can meet with them about your case. As I have often said on radio or TV, having an office doesn’t make you a good investigator but it does give the client some confidence you will be accessible during the investigation. Never give someone cash in a bar somewhere and expect a first-class investigation.
No hidden fees
We all have a preconceived nightmare anytime we take the car in for repair work. We always fear that they will approach us before the job is done and say they found something else wrong. Sometimes it’s true, and other times, they are just taking advantage of your ignorance to collect some extra money by selling you something you don’t need. Any time you go the garage, your first instinct is figuring out how to avoid getting ripped off.
A good private investigator won’t charge you hidden fees. They should be able to tell you, up front, what the job will cost. Most of our assignments are completed for $150.00/hour and $0.95/mile. This would be for surveillance and serving court documents. We charge $300.00/hour when we interview and interrogate subjects in the workplace to determine who is stealing time, money or product. We have flat-rates on some assignment like locating friends and family which is done for $350.00. Be prepared to provide your investigator with a retainer. Most private investigators will not exceed the retainer amount unless additional funds are place in your account.
An investigator who is only interested in making money won’t have much to say up front, at least nothing very meaningful. They will act like they are your friend and initially encourage a hands-off approach. In reality, the investigator should be asking you lots of questions.
Some parts of the investigation that will be hands-off on your part, but any good investigator will ask you to participate and make you aware of your responsibilities. If you get a firm quote up front and are helping actively in the investigation, you are avoiding getting ripped off. We strongly recommend on all our surveillance cases, for example, that the client be kept aware of our efforts via their cell phones. This provides rock-solid information about the person we are watching and what they are doing. At some point, the client may decide they we have obtained enough information and to stop the surveillance.
There is a lot of simple (but important) work that is part of any investigation. Since investigators often work by the hour, any simple tasks you can do will save you money. An example would be gathering all relevant details, including names, phone numbers, dates of birth, addresses, photos, description and social security numbers, if applicable. Simple teamwork and listening to the your investigator’s request and/or instructions will save you time, and more importantly, money.