What is it like to be a PI?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 23, 2008 by floridapiservices

This is a very common question and the short answer is…it is nothing like what you see on TV. On the downside, you can spend countless hours trying to stay awake in vehicles just waiting for someone or something to happen. You can spend hours hiding in the woods with all the wonderful creatures that live there (especially in Florida…you can have plenty of company). You can hang out in some of the worst neighborhoods at some of the worst hours to be there. You are a snoop, a nosey person, big brother, a narc or even worse in some people’s eyes. The pay isn’t typically the greatest and the hours are certainly not the best. Why do we do it? The thrill of the hunt. You get to catch a cheating spouse, get the evidence to prove a criminal case, save children from a destructive parent and much more. There are rewards or “little victories” to coin a phrase.  Some cases can take you to beach resorts, some can take you to the swamp.

To be a PI, you have to decide what you want to do. Maybe you don’t want outdoor surveillance, maybe you would rather not be in the bad neighborhoods, but if you are like the typical investigator, you can’t afford to pick and choose. Not many investigators are pulling down triple digits. Most are getting by and hoping for more overtime this month than they had last month. It isn’t as glamorous as Hollywood would make it seem and that is why there is a steady stream of folks willing to pay for an investigation. They pay someone to do things that they wouldn’t want or are unable to do.

You also have to realize that you are not going to succeed every time and if you have a conscience, it is tough to deal with. We have a lot of clients that can’t afford much as far as an investigation goes. They may need help but only have a few hundred dollars. The chance of success is greatly dimished in these types of investigations due to the odds. What are the odds that on a particular night at a particular time, hubby is going to meet his lover? Sometimes, you have a pretty good idea, but most of the time it is a shot in the dark. We spend more time on most investigations that we ever bill for. We certainly are not getting rich, but we can sleep at night (or in the day depending on the case).

If you do decide that you want to be a private investigator, please do it for the right reasons. Do it because you care and want to make a difference. Make sure that the “gotcha” moment is worth the hours or even days of waiting. We, as investigators, would all be better off. Doing it for the money only may motivate some, but there really aren’t that many PI’s with the red Ferrari and the big boat at the dock that come home and have the maid cook supper and turn down the bed.

Til next time

Florida Private Investigator Services

Hiring a Jacksonville Florida Private Investigator

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 19, 2008 by floridapiservices

If you are looking for someone to handle a private investigation for you in the Jacksonville Florida area, here are a few things to keep in mind. All investigators in Florida must be licensed and must have that information (agency license number) on every advertisement, website, letterhead etc.  This is state law. You can verify the license status of any Florida Investigation Agency at this site:

http://www.mylicensesite.com

That is the website for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing.

All investigations are confidential by state law. The investigation can only be exposed by the client, with the clients permission or in a few rare instances, by the order of the court. In other words, a private investigation in Jacksonville offers more confidentiality that a police investigation in Jacksonville. The police investigation will become public record once the case is closed, charges filed or adjudicated.

There are a lot of excellent investigators covering the local Jacksonville area. There are also some national companies that advertise that they do work in the Jacksonville area, but what they really do is contract with a local agency and split your payments. Make sure that if you need a Jacksonville PI, you are getting the people that will actually do your investigation.  Make sure of what the agency charges up front both hourly and for a retainer and if any of the retainer will be returned if unused. In other words, you contract for 8 hours of service at $ 100.00 per hour but the investigation only takes 2 hours. Will the difference be refunded or is there a minimum payment per case?

These are just  a few quick tips to help you in your quest.

Until next time

Florida Private Investigator Services

What is the average cost of a Private Investigation?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 10, 2008 by floridapiservices

This is a very common question with not so easy answers. The rate of a private investigation can typically range from $ 50.00 per hour up to $ 250.00 per hour depending on the investigation and the location of the investigation itself. An investigator out of Orlando Florida, for example, may have to charge more than one located in Reddick Florida simply because the cost of doing business in a larger city can be substantially higher than the cost to work out of a small town. The taxes, surcharges and fees are usually higher in the bigger cities. The cost of renting or owning an office are usually higher in larger cities too. The typical agency will then charge so much per mile traveled and this can range from .29 and go up to as high as $ 1.50 per mile. Some agencies charge for pictures and video that are obtained as the result of an investigation. When you look at these expenses, you can see that a private investigation cost can be substantial. The cost of an investigation pays for a lot more than just an investigator and we will get into some of those costs in a future blog.

When you are considering a private investigation, you need to figure out exactly what you want the investigation to accomplish. Then together with your investigator, you can figure out the best and most cost effective way to proceed. Would the use of a GPS tracker help lower the  cost of an investigation? What about the legality of keystroke loggers and voice recorders? These issues and more may need to be addressed. The laws concerning the use of these tool can vary from state to state and there are also federal law that may come into play too.

Once that game plan is set up and agreed upon, the decision needs to be made about the best times to do the investigation (particularly investigations involving surveillance) so that the likelihood of success is increased. This can cut down on the time needed and subsequently the overall cost. We have had cases where the evidence is obtained quickly and the whole investigation only costs a few hundred dollars and we have had other cases where it took weeks of surveillance to get the result that we were all after. It is up to the client to decide how much she or he wants to spend and it is up to the private investigator to explain the reality of short term investigations so that everyone understands the possible outcomes.

Florida Private Investigator Services

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 by floridapiservices

This is our first blog here just to say hello. We will be blogging on issues related to private investigations and hope that you will find them interesting, informative and even a bit humorous on occasion.

Thanks for checking us out!

Florida Private Investigator Services

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