Complete Guide: Running or Starting a Private Investigation Business for Sale


The private investigation industry is booming, and there are many opportunities to hop on this opportunity If you are looking for a career change, if you have always wanted to start your own business, or just buy an established private investigator business for sale then this may be the perfect opportunity for you.


A private investigator works on cases that are not necessarily criminal. They could be hired by an insurance company to investigate if someone has filed a false claim, for example. Private investigators can also look at the financial records of a company to see if any suspicious dealings are going on, or maybe a husband or wife having an affair, and in some cases help find a missing person…each case is different.


If you're intrigued by the prospect of entering the private investigation industry, keep reading as we explore how to start, buy, or run a private investigation business. Whether you're an experienced investigator looking to venture out on your own or an individual with no prior background in the field, this guide will provide valuable insights and practical advice to help you navigate the path to success.


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What is a private investigation business?


A private investigation business is a company that offers professional investigative services to individuals, businesses, and organizations. Private investigators, also known as private detectives or PIs, are hired to gather information, conduct research, and uncover facts related to various types of cases. Private investigation businesses handle a wide range of assignments, which may include but are not limited to:


Background Checks: Conducting comprehensive investigations to verify an individual's personal, professional, or criminal history.


Surveillance: Monitoring and observing individuals or locations to gather evidence for legal, personal, or business purposes.


Fraud Investigations: Investigating cases involving insurance fraud, financial fraud, or corporate fraud.


Infidelity Investigations: Assisting individuals who suspect their partner may be involved in an extramarital affair.


Missing Persons: Conducting searches and investigations to locate missing individuals, such as runaway children or long-lost relatives.


Asset Recovery: Tracing and recovering assets that may have been hidden or fraudulently transferred.


Intellectual Property Protection: Investigating cases of copyright or trademark infringement, piracy, or trade secret theft.


Legal Support: Providing investigative support to attorneys and law firms for cases involving witness interviews, evidence collection, and background research.


Private investigation businesses operate with a strong emphasis on confidentiality, professionalism, and adherence to legal and ethical guidelines. These businesses employ skilled investigators who possess a diverse range of expertise, including surveillance techniques, interviewing skills, research abilities, and analytical thinking.


Whether you are interested in starting a private investigation business from scratch or acquiring an existing one, entering this field requires a deep commitment to integrity, a passion for uncovering the truth, and a dedication to providing exceptional investigative services to clients.



What tools do private investigators use? 


There are many tools and vehicles that private investigators can use to conduct their investigation. The choice of the tool or vehicle depends on the nature of the investigation.


Private investigators employ a diverse range of tools and equipment to aid them in conducting effective investigations. The selection of tools largely depends on the specific nature of the investigation at hand. Here are some commonly used tools and their purposes:


Surveillance Equipment: Binoculars play a crucial role in observing subjects from a distance. They help investigators maintain visual surveillance without drawing attention. Additionally, professional-grade cameras with advanced zoom capabilities are used to capture clear images or videos for evidentiary purposes.


GPS Tracking Devices: Private investigators often utilize GPS tracking devices to monitor the movements of individuals or vehicles discreetly. These devices can provide real-time location data and historical tracking information, assisting investigators in gathering evidence.


Covert Cameras and Listening Devices: Private investigators may employ spy camera gadgets disguised as everyday objects, such as pens, keychains, or buttons, to discreetly record audio or video. These covert devices allow investigators to capture evidence without arousing suspicion.


Background Check Software: Access to specialized databases and background check software enables private investigators to retrieve public records, conduct comprehensive background checks, and gather valuable information about individuals or businesses.


Computer Forensics Tools: Private investigators often use advanced computer forensics tools to recover and analyze digital evidence from computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. These tools aid in retrieving deleted data, examining internet browsing history, and uncovering hidden information.


Social Media Monitoring Software: With the proliferation of social media platforms, private investigators utilize monitoring software to track and analyze individuals' online activities. This helps in gathering information, identifying connections, and detecting potential leads.


It's important to note that the use of these tools must adhere to legal and ethical guidelines, ensuring the privacy rights of individuals are respected. Private investigators continuously adapt their toolset to stay abreast of technological advancements and investigative techniques. The specific tools used may vary based on the investigator's specialization, the requirements of the case, and local regulations.



What are the requirements needed to become a private investigator? 


What are the requirements to become a private investigator? Becoming a private investigator entails several key requirements and qualifications. A successful private investigator should possess keen observation skills and be adept at utilizing technology for investigations. Strong communication abilities and the capacity to work independently are also crucial. Additionally, maintaining emotional composure in challenging situations and possessing a strong sense of justice and good judgment are important traits.


When it comes to becoming a state-approved private investigator, specific requirements vary by jurisdiction. For instance, in the state of New York, the Department of State has outlined certain prerequisites. Here are some of the key requirements as per the Department of State's guidelines:


  1. Minimum Age: Applicants must be at least 25 years old.

  2. Business Entity: Establishing a business entity is necessary to operate as a private investigator.

  3. Private Investigator Examination: Passing the private investigator examination is a requirement.

  4. Experience: There are multiple pathways to meet the experience requirement. Applicants should either have three years of experience working for a licensed private investigator firm or an equivalent position, or possess 20 years of service as a police officer or Fire Marshall.

  5. Fingerprinting: Applicants are typically required to undergo fingerprinting as part of the application process.

  6. Proof of Bonds: Providing proof of bonds may be necessary.

  7. Liability Insurance: If the intention is to hire guards, liability insurance for employees is required.


It's important to note that these requirements pertain specifically to the state of New York. Other states or jurisdictions may have their own set of criteria for becoming a private investigator. For more detailed information on specific requirements, it is recommended to consult the official source provided by the New York Department of State at the link mentioned above.


Meeting the necessary qualifications and fulfilling the state requirements are essential steps toward becoming a licensed and recognized private investigator, ensuring compliance with the regulations governing the profession.



How do private investigators charge?


Private investigators employ various methods when it comes to charging for their services, and the pricing structure can vary based on several factors. Here are some unique ways in which private investigators may charge their clients:


Hourly Rate: One common approach is to charge an hourly rate for investigative services. The investigator tracks the time spent on the case, including research, surveillance, and report preparation. The hourly rate may differ depending on the complexity of the investigation, the investigator's experience, and the geographic location.


Flat Fee: Instead of charging by the hour, private investigators may offer a flat fee for specific services or types of cases. This approach provides clients with more cost certainty and allows investigators to set clear expectations regarding the scope and deliverables of the investigation.


Retainer Fee: In some cases, private investigators require clients to pay a retainer fee upfront. The retainer fee is an agreed-upon amount that covers a specific period or a set number of investigative hours. The investigator deducts their fees from the retainer as work progresses, and additional fees may be requested if the investigation extends beyond the initial agreement.


Milestone-Based Billing: For longer-term investigations or complex cases, private investigators may utilize milestone-based billing. They establish predetermined milestones throughout the investigation, and clients are billed accordingly when each milestone is reached or completed.


Expenses and Disbursements: Private investigators often incur expenses during an investigation, such as travel costs, database access fees, or equipment rentals. These expenses may be billed separately, either at cost or with an added administrative fee.


It's important to note that the pricing structure can vary significantly depending on factors such as the investigator's experience, the location, the nature of the case, and any specialized skills or resources required. It's recommended that clients discuss pricing and billing arrangements with the private investigator upfront to ensure transparency and clarity regarding costs and expectations.


Each private investigator may have their own unique approach to charging for services, so it's essential to have open communication and establish a clear understanding of the financial aspects before engaging their services, for those buying an established private investigator business for sale the old pricing structure should be kept for a certain period of time for those returning clients.


How to start to a private investigation business?


Step 1. applying for the license: Many states require a certain level of knowledge before approving your application, for example, an 'X" amount of years working for a private investigation firm or a retired law enforcement agent you will have to pass an exam, apply for a surety bond and much more ...check with your state office for the exact requirements.


Step 2 : Training: Self-defense training is a great way to protect yourself. It doesn't matter if you're a private investigator or not, it's always good to know how to defend yourself even tho Private investigators do not need to be physically strong and can work in an office environment for the majority of their day.


Step 3. Getting your business set up: Once you have your licenses approved and passed your exam, you will need to start setting up your business.


Step 4. Choosing your services: A private investigator may be hired by a person who is concerned about the behavior of a family member or friend. They may also be hired by an employer who has suspicions about one of their employees, you can do all or select a niche, like an insurance fraud specialist, or missing person.


Step 5. Pricing: Private investigators are paid for the time and expertise that they bring to the table. They often work on cases that involve multiple tasks and investigations, which means that there is no set price for every case. 


Step 6. Buying your equipment: Depending on your services you will need to invest in equipment, this can be from a laptop or desktop computer with internet access to use for research. A camera is necessary to take photos of evidence or to document the scene of an event. 

Some of the common gadgets that private investigators use are:

- Hidden cameras, GPS trackers, Voice changers, Audio recorders, Spy glasses, Bug detectors, Radar detectors, and Smartphone jammers


Step 7. Find office space: A private investigator, also called a private detective, investigates crimes or other wrongdoings on behalf of the people that hire them. it is always smart to set up an office space to do their job and meet with clients, it is best to find an area where the required amenities are available and near freeways that allow for ease of travel throughout their region.


Step 8. Website: A website is an excellent way to make more connections with potential customers and present your private investigation business to people all around the world.


Step 9. Business number: Of course, you should only share your business number with clients and agencies that will reach you and never give out your number.


Step 10. Online Marketing : 

Marketing is the most important process when it comes to launching a new business when it comes to getting more clients for your private investigation firm Online marketing is one of the best ways to do so because it's cost-effective and reaches a wide audience.

Marketing your business online can be done with several different tools. You can start with Google Adwords, Facebook ads, or LinkedIn ads to name just a few. These are all fairly easy to set up and there are plenty of guides on how to get started on each one.



Conclusion: Should you buy or start a private investigator business for sale?


In conclusion, this article has provided valuable insights into the process of starting and running a private investigation business. It has highlighted the necessary steps and considerations for aspiring entrepreneurs in this field.


Now, the question remains: Do you have what it takes to become a private investigator? Whether starting or buying an established private investigation business for sale, The role of a private investigator requires a unique set of skills and attributes, including attention to detail, strong communication skills, analytical thinking, and the ability to handle sensitive and emotional situations. It is important to note that while private investigators and detectives may share similarities, they typically operate in different contexts, with detectives primarily working for law enforcement agencies and private investigators often working independently.


To sum it up! Once you have accepted a case, the work of a private investigator involves gathering as much information as possible. While some cases may be resolved in a matter of days, others may take months or even years to reach a conclusion. It is crucial to understand that the job can be both rewarding and emotionally challenging, as you may find yourself delivering sensitive information to clients or dealing with potentially dangerous situations, such as investigating fraud cases. Embarking on a career as a private investigator requires dedication, professionalism, and a commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards. With the right skills, mindset, and resources, you can find success in this dynamic and impactful field.


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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The laws and regulations regarding business licenses may vary from state to state and are subject to change. It is important to contact your local state office to determine which licenses are required for any specific businesses. Additionally, please note that this article contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission from our affiliate partners or Amazon links. If you are considering starting a business, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified lawyer, business broker, or professional in your area. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon as such.


















Facts & Questions

   Can a private investigator work globally? 

Private investigating businesses are not confined to a specific location. While they may primarily operate within a specific jurisdiction, many investigations extend beyond regional boundaries. With the advent of digital communication and remote access to databases, private investigators can conduct research, gather evidence, and collaborate with clients and colleagues around the world. This global reach adds a sense of adventure and widens the scope of potential cases.

   How do private investigators get information?

Private investigators often collaborate with various professionals, such as law enforcement agencies, legal experts, forensic specialists, and other investigators. This network provides opportunities for knowledge-sharing, skill development, and expanding one's professional connections. Building strong relationships within the industry can open doors to new cases and partnerships.

   What technology skills are needed as a private investigator?

Private investigators are at the forefront of utilizing innovative technology in their work. They leverage state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, GPS tracking devices, computer forensics tools, and advanced software for data analysis. Embracing technological advancements not only enhances efficiency but also allows investigators to gather crucial evidence in ways that were not possible before.

   Are private investigation cases alike?

Private investigation businesses encounter a wide variety of cases that keep the work interesting and exciting. From fraud investigations and missing persons cases to surveillance and background checks, each day brings a new and unique challenge. This diversity keeps private investigators constantly engaged and ensures that no two cases are exactly alike.

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