Private Investigator FAQs
A private investigator or detective is an independent citizen that is hired by private clients to gather information and search for evidence on civil or criminal issues regarding legal, financial, or personal matters. Often, a private detective has a background in law enforcement and is extremely skilled in investigation and knowledgeable about the law. Requirements differ by state, but most require a license to practice investigative services.
There are several fundamental reasons to hire a private investigator that apply to any situation that a potential client may have. The most important of which are neutrality and objectivity. A basic core principle to a properly conducted investigation (of any kind) is to assume upfront that the matter being investigated will eventually end up in litigation of some type. Options such as handling a situation yourself or perhaps utilizing your own attorney can potentially lead to questions of bias, inappropriate influence, conflicts of interest, lack of credibility or other unethical and negative associated consequences. These results could not only nullify any helpful information that had been obtained in the investigation itself but could also potentially expose a person or company to liability and lawsuits themselves because of the actions they took. Utilizing my services ensures you have an impartial and ethical gatherer of facts. As a result, you can confidently take those results and make the most informed and beneficial decision for either yourself, your client, or your company.
Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. I also have the ability to perform work in Rhode Island. Work outside of those states would require a client to authorize the use of subcontracted investigative services through my firm.
It is always best to document a consistent pattern of behavior by the subject(s) over a period of varying days and time frames, even if something impactful occurs in the very first hour of field surveillance. As a result, I work on a pre-paid retainer plan. I believe in being completely upfront and transparent in my associated billed rate of an engagement. My initial retainer is for a minimum of 12 hours of field surveillance. With the exception of sales tax and surveillance specific expenses, my hourly rates are all-inclusive and range from $100 to $200 per hour, depending entirely on the complexities and location of a given case. Surveillance specific expenses such as necessary hotel accommodations, a ticket to follow a subject into a concert or an entry fee into a gym are not included in my hourly rate. My billing rate incorporates the following into one straightforward hourly fee: fuel/mileage, wear and tear on the surveillance vehicle, research and preparation time, video and report processing time, along with licensing, insurance, and other necessary operational related costs. I intentionally avoid gimmicky and costly upcharges and add-on fees for “mileage”, “administrative tasks”, “drive-time to/from surveillance location”, “report preparation”, etc. My billing approach is upfront and convenient and leaves my clients fully informed and comfortable. I am aware that my rates are not the lowest or cheapest. However, my rates reflect the unique benefit to my clients that I am working their file directly. Please note, “private work” or work provided for individuals along with work performed for attorneys and other non-reoccurring and unique services performed utilize the pre-paid retainer structure. A traditional invoice after services are performed system may be utilized for repetitive corporate work, particularly for work performed directly for insurance companies.
The quickest way to initiate the process is to fill out the “Send an Assignment” form below. This request goes directly to me, and I will reach out to you directly, typically within 24 hours at the latest. To provide the unique one-on-one service I am known for, I cannot take on every potential client that contacts me. If I can be of service, a specific hourly rate is discussed. After the rate is verbally agreed to by the client, the on-boarding process is rapid and convenient: an e-signature contract is e-mailed out immediately after our initial call concludes, along with a secure link to pay for the starting minimum 12-hour retainer. Checks and cash are also accepted. Dates and start times are then hard scheduled for actual surveillance (or “field work”). As the file progresses the client is kept fully updated, adjustments are discussed and made, and additional hours can be budgeted. The video and final report are provided when the client decides to close the file. A potential client may also initiate a case by calling 1 (888) 6GETUNUM. I will answer the call myself. If I am unavailable, please leave me a message. A case can also be initiated by e-mailing me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. If preferred by a potential client, face-to-face initial consults may be arranged at any location of their choice, or by appointment at my office location.
During our pre-surveillance workup call, my client and I decide on the most useful times/dates for surveillance to be performed. Minimum four-hour blocks of time are scheduled. Once I am on scene, a minimum of four hours is worked. Please note that billing/reduction of the pre-paid “surveillance” or “field” hours begin when I physically arrive at the surveillance location, not when I leave my office.
If a client would like to continue after the initial 12-hour retainer has been depleted, minimum installments of four hours may then be pre-paid, and the investigation will continue.
I cannot guarantee a particular set of results regarding any engagement. Ethically and legally, I cannot influence, “trick,” or entrap the subject of the investigation in any way. I cannot lie about, exaggerate, or fabricate observations of the subject of the investigation. Consequently, payment is structured on pre-paid billable time, not on what does or does not occur during surveillance hours.
Typically, those types of files can be quite complex. The pre-paid retainer concept will be utilized; however, discussing the matter will allow me to anticipate the extent and depth that the engagement will likely need to be and determine appropriate fees. Please call or fill out the request form below, and I’ll respond promptly to discuss your matter in detail.
At the conclusion of surveillance, the client is provided with time and date-stamped video and a detailed report that describes the events in the video and what occurred during surveillance hours. The final product is provided solely to the client who contracted the services of Unum Investigations, LLC. A copy of the report and video will be retained by my company for three years, after which it is destroyed. If surveillance is not necessary as part of our engagement, it will be clarified and discussed beforehand, and the written report alone will be the final deliverable work product.
Ethically, I cannot use inflammatory language or descriptions, or indicate any bias towards the subject of an investigation or surveillance. Doing so would be a terrible operational approach for both myself and my cherished clientele. All final reports will be written in neutral, plain, and factual language.
As hard as it may be, it is always recommended that a client never confront or present the findings of an investigation until after the investigation/case is completed in its entirety and the final report has been provided. If the balance of surveillance hours are unable to be completed because of the actions a client took during an ongoing investigation, it is likely that the client will have to forfeit their remaining balance of pre-paid hours as the case may be too dangerous or volatile to continue working on.