There’s a new app I read about today that helps someone hire a private investigator. For $59, it says you can hire a PI for a quick one hour job. On the surface it may sound like a good thing, but I see a lot of problems.
I am not going to mention the name of the app because I do not want to promote it. I am sure you can find it yourself but, why?
It has been reportedly started by a guy who allegedly spent big bucks hiring private investigators to check on his kids after his divorce. The article claims (emphasis on “claims”) that he “never knew if they were actually doing what they were hired to do”.
Point #1: If you hire a private investigator for surveillance and no activity happened, it is reasonable (assuming they may not already do it) to have them videotape for 15 seconds once per hour to prove that they are on the scene. The private investigator cannot make things happen. He or she should only be an unbiased observer from a distance documenting activity.
The author of this app reportedly wants to make private investigation “affordable and less skeezy”. Not sure what skeezy means but affordable is a nebulous term at best.
Point #2: When you hire a private investigator, it is much like hiring an attorney. You get what you pay for. The app says the PI would be hired for $59 an hour. Likely, somebody is taking a cut for a referral fee. Which means, you may as well try to find a PI on Fiverr.
Most good private investigators I know work somewhere in the range of $75 to $125 per hour. Price depends on market, experience, specialization, etc. Surveillance cameras and other equipment, to do the job right, costs money. Licensing, insurance, and, in many states, ongoing continuing educations units (CEUs), cost money.
This is also assuming that the private investigator is just going to run out, watch someone for an hour, and be done. Any time the private investigator works on your case, they should be paid (much as a lawyer but usually not that nitpicky). So, if you hire a PI to go out and do surveillance, and something happens, it is going to take their time to put together a report and edit together relevant parts of the video. One hour of surveillance work, IF there is substantive activity, could result in 1-2 hours of report preparation, depending on how much video needs to be edited and packaged, as well as transferring a time/date stamp so you can verify when it happened.
The article says the private investigator could be hired for a quick hour’s worth of work. Really?
Point #3: Again, you get what you pay for. Many quality, professional private investigators will not run out for just an hour’s worth of work. Many have a minimum number of hours because it just is not worth the time to run out for an hour’s worth of work.
The app is targeted to the DC area. So, for those who live around the nation’s capitol, if you want to find someone who has little experience, so desperate for work that they will take a “cheap” case and, possibly, mess it up for you because of their inexperience, have at it. It would be like buying a suit at Walmart, only worse.
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