Are you considering hiring a private investigator? Plenty of options are available to you in Canada, but who you ultimately decide to hire is critical to getting the answers you need. Here’s what you should look for in a Private Investigator and what you should ask before hiring them.

Does the Private Investigator Have the Right Credentials?
In Canada, Private Investigators are regulated by provincial licensing bodies. In Ontario, for example, Private Investigators are licensed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s Private Security and Investigative Services Branch (PSISB). The PSISB is also responsible for setting standards for training and conduct and enforcing the rules and regulations that govern the industry. Before you hire a Private Investigator, check to see if they are licensed and in good standing with the regulatory body in the province where they’ll be working.

How Much Experience Do They Have?
Check how long the agency has been in business and what types of investigations they do. If you need something complex such as a multi-site corporate investigation into employee theft, you may need an agency with more resources than if you only need to investigate the ownership history of a company.

Do They Have Good References and Reviews?
Talking to an agency’s references is a good way of assessing their reputation. Ask the references to be honest about their experience. If they have nothing negative to say, ask them if they can think of one thing the agency could do better. No company is perfect, so if they are being straightforward with you, they should be able to point out something the agency could improve.

What Is Their Communications Policy?
Assess whether you can communicate easily with the Private Investigators and the agency staff. You need to feel confident that they are giving you timely updates but also that they respect and listen to you. Ask how often you can expect to hear from them and what format they will use for responses (text, email, phone calls, etc.) You may find that you’ll only get a report at the end of the investigation, or they may have a policy of texting you every time they arrive at and leave a surveillance site. Each of these scenarios would be ideal for some people but unacceptable to others, so set out your expectations in advance.

Do They Have the Right Insurance?
A reputable Private Investigations agency is fully insured with a comprehensive general liability package. This is an indicator of a professional agency that takes its responsibilities and risk exposure seriously. Liability insurance covers any damages that may occur during the investigation, which protects you, the Investigator, and their agency.

What Are Their Fees and Fee Structure?
Ask about the agency’s fees and fee structure. They may charge an hourly fee or offer a flat-rate service for some of their investigations. Check to see which fee structure would apply to your case and whether expenses are included in their fees. Ask for an estimate of how much you can expect to spend on the investigation. Agencies should be transparent about how fees are calculated, when they will invoice you and whether they require a retainer. Avoid agencies with exceptionally low fees: your mother was right when she said, “you get what you pay for.” Going with the highest price is not always advisable: other factors are equally or more important.

Can They Empathize with My Situation?
If the investigation involves something personal to you, it may help you to work with a Private Investigator who can understand what you’re going through and will respect your thoughts and feelings as well as your privacy. This may not be your top criteria for your current case, but your circumstances could be different if you have to hire them again; check to be sure the agency you’re working with will be able to work with you in that context as well.

Hiring a Private Investigator in Toronto

If you’re looking to hire a Private Investigator, Star Quality Private Investigations® should be at the top of your list. We have decades of experience in all areas of Private Investigations, from background checks and skip tracing to technical surveillance countermeasures. We have the experience, expertise, equipment, and technology to get you the answers you need to plan your next steps.

As an agency with a respected presence in the community, we understand our role as trusted confidants. Our approach is professional and respectful but direct and empathic. We will get the answers you need and deserve for the most pressing questions in your life. We are here for you 24/7/365; contact us today for a free consultation.