Private Investigators, a waste of money?

  • Do you know whether you actually need to hire a private investigator?
  • Are you familiar with the benefits of hiring a private investigator?
  • Have you researched on your own?
  • Where is the place to look when you need to hire a private investigator?
  • How can you be sure you are hiring the best private investigator for your situation?
  • Are the private detective's fees going to be too high?

If you are like most people, you probably haven't given much thought to using a private investigator, let alone considering how to go about finding a good licensed private investigator with the right experience, in the areas that matter to you.

Where to look and who you can trust for a referral

We have been retained by clients who said they called the police and were given a referral to us. This is great, however, in my opinion, when the police have given our name in the past, at least until the mid-1990's, this was most likely as a result of just opening the old phone books and skimming through a few advertisers.

in present times they probably conduct a quick internet search, since that is where most all easily accessible advertising has gone. Few police department referrals were as a result of the front desk receptionist, the dispatcher or a detective actually knowing any private investigator by reputation, unless they were sending a retired co-worker-turned private investigator some business.

Attorneys refer Private Investigators

Can you rely on the referral of an attorney? Sometimes you can trust an attorney's referral to a private investigator. If you have an attorney that uses a particular private investigator and refers business to the private eye, this could be due to the investigator having a good reputation, possibly a successful working history with the attorney or because of a reciprocal professional relationship. "You send me clients and I'll send you clients."

While you may get a referral to a very good private investigator from an attorney, you should also consider checking around some on your own. We have found that too many attorneys don't know a good private investigator. Most of them do the same thing that the police used to do, open the phone book or search on the internet for a prominent advertisement, not necessarily a good company.

To their credit, we have received numerous phone calls from law firms, the principal attorneys or their secretaries and paralegals, for the purpose of interviewing us and exercising some due diligence on their part, for the benefit of their clients.

These calls tell us that the lawyers calling actually care enough to look into a private investigator for their client, rather than simply choosing one at random from a paid/sponsored listing somewhere. If a lawyer doesn't know a good private investigator, he or she should do some research before referring one.

I have always been a little surprised to hear how many attorneys are not aware of the benefits in using a good private detective. We get phone calls from their worried, frustrated, angry and disappointed clients. We have had many conversations with our clients over the years who have told us they cannot understand why their attorney has not thought of some of the points we have discussed with them, or that the attorney has lost their case or part of their case because the attorney has not already hired us to take care of these critical points. This could have been avoided. There could have been fewer complaints filed against attorneys at the State Bar of California.

Clients tell us in most situations that they have asked and even told their attorney to do these things, to hire a private detective to do research, interview witnesses, conduct surveillance or other services we provide. Money wasn't an issue for some of these people, still, no action and painful missed opportunity. This is a big waste of time, money and loss of potential results. These mistakes are often life changing.

Some attorneys fancy themselves as investigators. While this is good to a point, attorneys usually do their best when steering the ship and delegating the investigative tasks to the private investigative professionals who specialize in investigative services.

An attorney that embraces the case for their client, understands what is happening, what needs to happen and how to achieve the results necessary, usually has a proven track record of winning. Those attorneys have the reputations to prove it. It is no wonder that most of the attorneys that we work for are the ones we would want in our corner when we need the best. We work for the best attorneys in California; the attorneys that win cases, go on to write books, write case law and sit on the bench.

Most law firms have access to some on-line information search companies to conduct their own searches. They are relying on one or two larger information companies and not getting anywhere close to the results some private investigators can get for them. Most of these law firms do not have the most accurate and up to date access. They do not know all of the resources available to private investigators and how to focus on the best information from an investigative perspective. Computer searches don't provide follow up work in the field; they don't confirm what is going on at the present time.

When an attorney finds a good private investigative firm that employs the best techniques and proven methods for obtaining accurate information, one that can provide this information in a well written report and capture quality video evidence, you have a recipe for a winning team.

On many occasions, we have collaborated with top attorneys and discussed the various facets of a case. We discuss the best options, the most productive areas to focus, the paths to take, and then we get to work. Any seasoned attorney will admit that any court case can be made or lost depending on the preparation and presentation.

We have been contacted by thousands of clients over the past three decades that have hired us to work on their court cases. Most of these clients did this on their own, while in some situations their attorneys discussed this with them and encouraged them to find a good private investigator, on their own. We can provide our findings directly to the attorney, to maintain the client privilege or give the information to the client.

Find a Private Investigator Detective

"How do I find a private investigator?" Too many of us wrongly assume that the job of a private investigator or private detective is a simple one. While some tasks are relatively simple, they can be even simpler to screw up. Some people, given the simplest of tasks can make a mess of things. This is usually either attributed to miscommunication, inexperience or laziness. Can you afford to hire a private detective or an attorney that doesn't get it?

Private investigators have specialized skillsets in various areas. They also have limitations. It is up to you and your investigator to discuss this and decide where they can be of value to you. Communication is imperative and your private investigator, just like your attorney, should be accountable to you.

If you find yourself in a position that you will benefit from the experience and know-how of a licensed private investigator, you need to hire a good private investigator. The best private investigator available, experienced in the field you need assistance in.

Learn more about investigative services here.

You are your own best advocate. No-one cares more about your welfare than you do. Do some homework and you will not be sorry. You need to speak with a private investigator. Ask yourself some important questions before contacting one and do your best to find the best private investigator for you.

  • What do I think a private investigator can help me with?
  • What are the results I expect?

Before you hire a private investigator you need to do the following;

  • Make sure you get the private investigator's real name.
  • Ask for and get the private investigator's current business name.
  • Verify whether he or she has a private investigator's license in their state.
  • Check the private investigator's information with the state.
  • Read on-line reviews for the private investigator, not on their own website.

In Southern California we have been deluged with so many advertisements for private investigators in Los Angeles we find it difficult to tell who is actually in the Los Angeles Metro area and nearby counties, let alone, who is really qualified to be a private eye.

The state of California requires licensees to have experience in some related field, but the state relies on the claims of the applicant and the person or company who vouches for their experience. It's not a perfect system. Many private investigators have obtained licenses while not honestly possessing the legal experience required. These same individuals purchase state test questions from unscrupulous sellers on-line. They will be happy to take your money.

Ask a  private investigator:

  • Where is the private investigation firm located?
  • Are they in California?
  • Do the private investigators know Los Angeles County?
  • Are they familiar with Orange County?
  • What is their experience?
  • Who will actually be conducting the work for you?

Before you hire any private investigator in California we strongly suggest you visit the state's website at This is the Department of Consumer Affairs' Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. This is the agency bureau that licenses and oversees Private Investigators, security guards, lock smiths and some other professionals in California.

Please feel free to check us out with the state. You can check by using the business name Linked Investigations or the license number. Our license number is 15568. We have provided a button with an internal link that brings you right to the page of the state's website to check an investigator's license.

If you have any trouble we will be happy to help. Our consultations are private, free and without obligation.

Mike Garroutte is a licensed California private investigator. He is the owner of Linked Investigations in Costa Mesa, California. He has been a private investigator based in Orange County, California for over thirty years.

Published on: 
December 1, 2012
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