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What’s really involved in being a private detective?  

A private investigation career has its good points and its bad points.  It is a good industry to be in although obviously has both good points and bad points as with any career.

Years ago we had 21 offices throughout the UK and it was ‘job and a half’ supervising all of them and the staff.  Some people are naturally suited to the position and possess the aptitude to jump straight in and get on with on with it.  Others take a little longer and need more training.

The surveillance role is primarily suited to ex-military or ex-police officers due to basic surveillance training that they may already have carried out. That doesn’t translate automatically, to making them the best at the job. It is very much about attitude and thinking on your feet. If you are the type of person that has been in a multitude of situations or scrapes where you need to talk fast and have a feasible excuse then these are good attributes. Tracing of missing people requires a someone with different skills.

In order to understand what is required from you there are several things that you need to know beforehand.

There is no set schedule and don’t expect to be working 9.00am to 5.00pm with weekend off. You can get a call to work unexpectedly for an assignment on the same day as the call, or you may have to work unexpectedly longer hours during surveillance.  You may travel several hours to a surveillance assignment and be out of town for several days. This can be difficult if you like to spend a lot of time with the family and doesn’t suit everyone.

Occasionally you will be required to interview or just speak with unsavoury characters. If you are working for local law firms investigating a murder or rape case then expect to end up in the ‘dodgy’ end of the city.

Insurance Fraud investigations also have their moments. If you are unfortunate enough to have blown your cover then angry claimants are not the nicest people to have to deal with. Once the individual realizes they were being followed they are likely to make it very apparent that they know you are there. The best course of action is to just walk away (or drive quickly) and lay off the case for several days, returning if necessary with a different agent and change of vehicle.

Being a private detective can mean that you have many uncomfortable moments.  On surveillance assignments you are required to park in a neighbourhoods as discreetly as possible.  Neighbours are often trying to look into your vehicle windows, children are playing around your vehicle, and you can get extremely paranoid that you are moments away from something bad happening.  During interviews of claimant’s, or witnesses, there will be times when it is uncomfortable. Moments where there is some defensiveness or hostility on behalf of the individual being interviewed.

As an employee you are obviously guaranteed a salary but as the business owner, as with any other business, you have play both hands and make sure the work is coming through the door to keep everyone in a job.

It is of course necessary to have a reliable vehicle. That can be a car or van fully equipped with surveillance cameras and monitoring gadgets.  The latest vehicle tracking systems can be watched live on a PC, Tablet or Mobile device and these need to be kept charged and ready to go.

 The wear and tear on your vehicles will be extensive. It is like having a mobile office and without it you cannot exit in this business.

If you are thinking of setting up a agency of your own then give it a try. Please be sure to read industry manuals and be up to date on the laws regarding privacy. Make sure that you have enough money to survive on. Do not expect that the cash will come rolling in from day one. New equipment and advertising, websites and petrol alone can mount up very quickly.

Bear in mind that a lot of work from the private and commercial sector comes from word of mouth. This means that you will need to build a good reputation as quickly as possible. People have short memories and after years of building up a sterling reputation it can take a few lousy days to blow it.

Obviously everyones experience is different as a private investigator. We all get frustrated at times by not getting the results we want on occasion. Just keep at it and you will more often than not get the gratifying ‘ear to ear’ smiling results that make it all worth while.

 


Comments

04/29/2014 9:59am

Hey it sure sounds like something that I would like to do, a bit more exciting than the usual 9 to 5

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Ellen Rose Kim
05/07/2014 4:29am

When I was a kid, I always dreamt of to become a detective someday. And now at law school, I'd like to be one still. Those cases like murder and psycho rape interest me a lot even though I know tough schedule may have for PI nowadays.

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jonterns
05/26/2014 7:33pm

I think the irregular schedule would be a deal breaker for me. The work does sound interesting and some of the cases are really involved though, it might make up for it.

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shaun wright
05/26/2014 8:46pm

I would guess that surveillance has to be the worst part of the job. Sitting for hours watching and waiting for someone to do something and then when they do, it probably has no bearing on the case.

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05/26/2014 9:35pm

It can be boring at times with many hours of nothing happening but once it does, the adrenalin kicks in and if you catch someone up to no good you forget the boring bits

Reply
07/19/2016 9:23am

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06/15/2017 7:03pm

thank you

Reply
06/15/2017 7:04pm

thank for all given info

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