I've never hired a private investigator before. What exactly do you do?
We do everything within the law to help you solve your problem. It may mean conducting surveillance on someone you suspect of wrongdoing. It may require talking to witnesses of an accident. It may involve digging into court records and databases to find out about an individual or a business. It might entail working with other experts or law enforcement agencies to expedite a case that's long forgotten.
The methods we use to help you get the results you want are as varied as the cases we take on. We will be happy to discuss how we would conduct your investigation, prior to being engaged.
How much will an investigation cost?
That depends on the type of case. The agency usually charges by the hour, plus expenses, which includes mileage, the cost of database searches, photography, source fees, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Before beginning a case, we give you an estimate of the cost of investigation, usually with a low and high range. The more information you provide us, the less we have to do to obtain the information you seek.
How do I know the work is being performed?
We provide detailed time sheets to all our clients, which delineate each task, the time taken to perform it, and any out-of-pocket expenses associated with it, on a daily basis. In addition, we provide a memo on any substantial progress made, as well as a final report.
Do I need a contract?
All of our cases are governed by the prevailing laws of Washington State. If you wish to have a contract, we have a standardized form, which can be tailored to your precise request. Please let us know if want one with your case.
Do private investigators have to be insured?
All investigators in the State of WA are required by law to either be bonded or carry liability insurance. Our agency is covered by a $2 million insurance policy that includes errors and omissions. We have never had a claim filed against us.
How about the location services I've seen advertised on TV and on the Internet? They claim to find people for a lot less money than private investigators.
Typically, these services will run nationwide searches on everyone with the same name and supply you with the results. If the person you want to locate has an unusual name and isn't trying to conceal his or her identity, you may get lucky.
But what if your person is more difficult to find? Our agency subscribes to databases that can provide far more specific and timely information about individuals and businesses. It's not unusual for us to find people without ever leaving the office.
But we don't always rely on computer resources. Often, we find people the "old-fashioned" way-by talking to people, researching personal histories, and using the skills we've honed to ferret out information from unlikely sources.
How long will the investigation take?
This depends on each individual case. Some cases take less than a day. Some cases—such as unsolved crimes—may take years. Before taking on any case, we decide with the client how often we will be in touch, and how often progress reports will be provided. We try to provide as accurate a timetable as we can on when we expect to achieve results.
How can I be assured my case is handled confidentially?
All investigators in the State of Washington are bound by the law as outlined in the Revised Civil Code of Washington, Chapter 18.165, which specifically pertains to private detectives. In subsection 160 (8), it states as grounds for disciplinary action "divulging confidential information obtained in the course of any investigation to which he or she was assigned."
All private investigators licensed by the State of Washington must and do consider their clients' information completely confidential.
When will I be billed?
In most cases, we ask for a 50% retainer fee on the estimated cost of investigation. This is so we are sure of covering our out-of-pocket expenses. The remainder of the fee is due upon completion of the case. We accept personal checks, credit cards and PayPal.