Hiring a Pensacola Investigator
What You Need to Know Before Hiring Any PI
What You Need to Know Before Hiring Any PI
We understand that many of our new clients have never hired a private investigator before and that many are nervous, confused… or even feel guilty about needing the services of a private investigation agency. The first thing to remember is that a private investigation agency is like any other service business – we are here to be of service to you! The bottom-line is that you are hiring an agency to represent your best interests. What kind of company do you want working on your behalf?
Do words like “Professional, Experienced, Discreet and Proven” come to mind? Good! You will find all of those qualities in every one of our investigators…
Is CompassPoint Investigations licensed and insured?
Absolutely. All private investigations agencies and private investigators working in Florida are required to be licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; licensing in Florida is a rigorous process requiring years of verified experience, a clean criminal history and a commitment to work ethically and legally. If any firm is not licensed, they are breaking state law and you should not use their services.
Unfortunately, the states of Alabama and Mississippi do not currently require state licensing for private investigators. This is unfortunate because this lack of regulation leaves open the possibility that any private investigator you hire may be inexperienced, unprofessional and even a convicted felon!
To demonstrate our desire to only provide the very best investigators to you, all of our private investigators are licensed in Florida before assigning them cases in Alabama or Mississippi. We maintain the required state business and occupations licenses in each state and have been members of the Mississippi Private Investigators Association since June of 1998.
Although no longer required in order to renew or start a PI agency license in Florida, we maintain professional liability insurance because we are committed to acting in a responsible and ethical manner while working on your behalf.
I may want to hire CompassPoint Investigations, so how do I proceed?
At your convenience, contact our firm to meet or speak with our agency’s owner or manager so that we may discuss the specifics of your assignment. You will not be charged for the time spent during this initial consultation or while discussing and formulating your investigative needs. We understand that most clients are not exactly sure what to ask or say; don’t worry we’ve been there too. Everything will be covered with you during your call. We will guide you through this process step by step. Keep in mind, any and all information you can provide us regarding your case will help us in getting the results you want and expect. Everything will be held in the strictest sense of confidentiality regardless of the subject of our conversation.
What happens next?
In most cases we will ask you to fill out a Client Intake Form first. Then an agreement will be provided to you that will outline the costs involved in your assignment as well as provide you general information regarding the investigative process. A retainer, or initial amount of money, will be required before we can begin working. Once we receive the completed Investigative Services Agreement and the retainer, an experienced CompassPoint investigator will be assigned to your case. The investigator will review the details of your assignment with you and begin at a specified date and time.
How do I return the Agreement and Retainer to you?
You can fax the agreement back to us or you can scan and email it to us or you can send it in the mail to our office. We can accept Checks, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards via fax or over the phone.
Are there times when it is beneficial to have more than one investigator working on a case?
Absolutely. Surveillance, especially while following someone in a car or in a suspicious neighborhood, can be difficult. If you have a critical event that must be documented leaving little to chance, then assigning a second private investigator during limited periods would be a very smart decision on your part. A second investigator can be provided at a substantially discounted hourly rate.
What if another party contacts your firm and questions you as to whether or not you are working for me?
We will not release information to anyone regarding your case other than you but we will be more than happy to discuss details of your case with your attorney, if you have legal representation, provided that you approve this ahead of time.
If “caught in the act,” rest assured that we will NEVER TELL a person that we are investigating him or her, even if confronted by the subject directly.
We routinely do not tell law enforcement officers the specific details of our assignments; who we are investigating, why or for whom we are working are all protected by Florida Statute 493.6119 which says, in part, “Except as otherwise provided by this chapter or other law, no licensee, or any employee of a licensee or licensed agency shall divulge or release to anyone other than her or his client or employer the contents of an investigative file acquired in the course of licensed investigative activity.”
We are, however, obligated to comply with all court orders demanding information.
I want you to find someone for me, will you tell him or her that I am looking for them?
In instances not involving a legitimate business or legal need, like finding family members, missing acquaintances or lost loves, we require that the person being located approve the release of their whereabouts and contact information before providing that information to the client. If we do locate that person and he or she refuses to share additional information with you, we can deliver a message for you instead.
To put the shoe on the other foot, what if it was you we were hired to find and we unknowingly provided your contact information to a stalker or someone who meant you harm? We feel that we have the duty and ethical obligation to maintain a subject’s safety after finding them and will take appropriate measures to ensure that this happens.
What types of surveillance equipment are going to be used on my case?
That depends on the specific demands of your unique situation. The most common equipment and state of the art technology used by our surveillance teams are:
What can I expect at the conclusion of my case?
Every case is unique but upon conclusion of your assignment we can provide you with a professional written investigative report detailing the hours worked, our findings and any additional information pertinent to your request. Investigations which involve surveillance will usually return digital photos and/or videotaped footage in your preference of media, file-type or on a DVD playable in most players and computers. You may prefer not to receive a written report but opt instead for an in-depth briefing over the phone or in person with the investigator assigned to your case, that’s fine too.