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How to Choose the Best Toronto Private Investigation Agency: Private Investigator Checklist

Not all Private Investigations Agencies in the GTA are created equal. The consequences of choosing the wrong one can be costly, from delaying the investigation to getting incomplete or incorrect results. If you require a licensed Private Investigator, here are a few things you should look for before making your selection.

Is Their License Up to Date?
In Ontario, Private Investigators are required to complete a 40-hour training course and pass a test with a grade of at least 77%. They or the agency they work for also have to register with the Ministry of the Solicitor General for Ontario. You can check on the status of these licenses through Service Ontario’s website. You will need the relevant license number(s), so ask for this information when interviewing prospects.

Do They Have Liability Insurance?
Private Investigations agencies are legally required to have at least $ 2 million in general liability insurance. Ask for proof that their insurance is up to date.

Can They Do the Type of Investigation You Need?
Private Investigations agencies might have expertise in any or all of the following:

  • Missing persons and skip tracing
  • Covert surveillance
  • Infidelity Investigations
  • Employment Investigations
  • Background checks
  • Brand protection, intellectual property and corporate risk management
  • Child custody and welfare issues
  • Family Law
  • Financial searches
  • Divorce & Separation Investigations
  • Asset searches
  • Technical surveillance counter measures
  • Executive protection

Check to ensure that the agency you’re considering can provide the service you need. Discuss the details of what you want to find out so that you’re clear on what they can get for you and what’s outside the range of their authority or capability.

What Are Their Fees?
Be sure to ask not only about base fees but for details such as these:

  • How are the fees structured?
  • Is there a retainer, and what happens when the retainer is depleted?
  • Which expenses will you have to pay?
  • When is payment expected?

Is Their Work Product High Quality?
Ask to see an example of a typical report the agency might provide to a client.

  • How thorough is the work product?
  • Does it have a professional appearance?
  • Does it have logical or grammatical errors?
  • Does it lay out an easily comprehensible connection between the evidence and the report’s conclusions?
  • Is there enough detail for you to understand how the investigation was conducted?
  • Are the photographs and videos clear and high-quality, and do they depict what they claim to depict? Does the metadata match the times and dates given in the report?

These deliverables are essential for you and for any matter that may go to court. You will need clear and indisputable evidence if you have to go before a mediator or judge. The sample report should make you feel that you and your lawyer can feel confident walking into court.

Are They Willing to Work with Your Lawyer and Testify in Court?
You may need coordination between different members of your team, especially if you had other professionals working on your case before hiring a Private Investigator. Will the agency work efficiently and productively with your lawyer and your internal investigators if you have them? Will the evidence they collect meet your lawyer’s needs? If you need the Private Investigator to testify in court, will they be available?

How Experienced Are They?

  • Years of working in the industry pay off in various ways: Spotting patterns is the key to resolving a case quickly; developing this skill takes time in the field. Look for an agency that has investigators with decades of experience, either in Private Investigations or in police work.
  • People who have worked in the field for a long time have more resources to tap into. They know where to go, who to ask, and what documents and databases to examine.
  • An experienced Private Investigator won’t give up when the going gets tough. They know they can get answers for clients if they persist in looking for them. They’ll turn over every rock, look in every location, and interview everyone they can find. They are relentless in pursuit of the truth because they’re confident in their ability to track it down no matter how much effort it takes.
  • Good judgement is essential to working efficiently and effectively in Private Investigations. An experienced investigator will be better able to tell a solid lead from one that will be a waste of time.

What is the Agency’s Reputation?
A great agency has staying power because they’re reliable, consistent, and get results for their clients. Look for one that has a long track record of success and excellent testimonials or online reviews from past clients. Check to see if they’ve operated under another name in the past and if their management or ownership has changed over the years. This could be an indication that they’ve encountered trouble in the past. Lastly, look for an agency that has an office and professional setting where you can meet face to face.

Choose Star Quality Private Investigations®
Our agency excels at all the characteristics you should look for in a Private Investigations agency. With over 30 years in the business, we’ve built a rock-solid reputation for confidentiality, responsiveness, and unmatched success. Working under the leadership of Adrianne Fekete, a sought-after expert in the field, our specialized teams of investigators include the best of the best former law enforcement officers and executives. Our services are available at any one of our numerous locations in the GTA and beyond. Learn more about our agency, and read about our areas of expertise!

Do you need answers? SQPI is ready to get them for you today! We’re available 24/7 to get started on your case today. Contact us, and let’s talk.