The decision to hire Tampa Private investigators is not one that should be made lightly. Most people, and companies, don’t have a private investigator on their speed dial. So, when hiring investigators in Tampa, or anywhere in the State of Florida ask the following questions.
1 Are you licensed and do you have insurance?
This is the number one question to ask as Florida has guidelines governing who may be licensed as a private investigator, or as a Tampa private investigator firm. Insurance against liability protects you from incidents involving the PI firm and its employees.
2 What areas of expertise does your firm have?
Most Tampa private investigators have several areas of expertise – but, it is best to avoid firms that claim they can investigate anything, as most are one person shops. Firms may specialize in areas such as: family law matters, cyber security, physical security (bodyguards) or technical countermeasures for industrial espionage. Mid to large size firms are likely to have more areas of specialty than a one person firms. Solo investigators cannot possibly have expertise in all areas where a private investigator is called on to assist.
3 Can you provide me with references and/or a work samples?
An experienced investigator should be able to provide you with references. If he or she has no references it is a red flag. Work samples are summaries of cases worked by the private investigator. While it may be stripped of any identifying information, the reason the investigator was hired, what the investigator did, how he or she handled the case, and the resolution of the case must be made available to you. Ask for investigative samples of a case like the one you are hiring for.
4 What member of your firm will handle my case?
Most private investigation firms have a team of individuals who have specific areas of expertise, or can run routine aspects of your case such as criminal background checks. Your entire case, or certain aspects of it, may be done by other team members. But, do ask who the supervising investigator will be and ask about his or her qualifications.
5 How do you conduct your investigations; do you use sketchy or illegal ways to get information?
At first, this seems to be a silly question, who is going to admit to wrongdoing at a job interview? But, due diligence demands that you speak about this as unethical investigators can cause a lot of pain to their clients – see Anthony Pellicano. One way of protecting yourself, and your investment, is to set out in writing the parameters that govern how the investigative firm handles your case.
6 Are our communications private and privileged?
In Florida, there is privilege and protection for a Florida licensed private investigators communications with clients. If the client is an attorney, the investigator’s work is further protected by client-attorney privilege or the work product doctrine.
7 How much do you charge?
Usually, a Tampa Bay Investigative firm charges by the hour. However, set fees are often available for routine work such as a background checks, locating of a person, and similar tasks. When a private investigator is paid by the hour, it is customary for the firm to also charge you for expenses such as mileage, travel time and expenses. The Grafton Group is a Florida private investigations firm based in Tampa and providing services statewide. It's principals and directors have many years of experience. If you need a private investigator in Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater, or nearby areas in Florida, call us at 813-658-9438 or use our online contact form.