Why Your Local Private Investigator is Likely Not Your Best Choice

local private investigatorWhen considering hiring a private investigator, many of us would hop on Google and search for help, ending up with the closest local private investigator or two. Much like a plumber or a window cleaner, we automatically assume that all Michigan Private Investigators are essentially the same. We might shop around for a better rate, but, because we haven’t worked with a private investigator before and we don’t really understand what they do; if they sound knowledgeable on the phone, they get the job.

To some degree, we are right. Most Michigan private investigators are the same. They offer the same basic services, they are usually very small businesses (one or two people working part time) and essentially, they all appear to be the same. Unfortunately, there is a very big difference between an actual Michigan private investigative agency and the average neighborhood PI. Here’s how:

The average PI is a generalist

They don’t specialize in any one area and even if they do, they aren’t actually busy. A real Michigan private investigative agency will have many full-time investigators working for them. Those investigators almost always specialize in one of two types of investigative work. They are busy because they are really good at getting results, not because they are within 3 miles of your house.

Real private investigative agencies are used by the professionals

Corporations, real attorneys who actually work on significant matters and sophisticated buyers, all use PI agencies that are proven experts. In the PI world, the actual expert investigators who can make your money-well-spent, work for an established agency and do not pass off “database information” as an investigation!

You’re likely going to run into the local private investigator out in public

Is it really in your best interest to entrust your case to an investigator who likely knows many other people in your immediate community? Every private investigator will promise to keep your story confidential, but can you trust them if they know people in common with you? Do you want to run into the investigator who worked on your case at: your child’s school? The grocery store? Starbucks? Most people don’t.

The local private investigator will likely subcontract your work out to someone else

Unfortunately, this is an extremely common practice in Michigan. You hire the local PI and they in-turn hire someone else to do the job, usually someone who works very cheaply and who you have never met and know nothing about. Possibly even someone who is unlicensed to practice investigations in Michigan in the first place.  What is the likelihood that your case will turn out well if the person they subcontract with has little or no experience? What are the consequences if they blow it and get caught? This is just bad business practice, but it happens all the time and will likely happen to you!

One way that most Michigan private investigators are equal is the cost

Most PIs all charge approximately the same for their services, including real private investigative agencies. This makes the choice of a larger agency over the local PI easy.

In metropolitan areas like Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and the Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, a real Michigan private investigative agency may not have their offices within a few miles of your home, but they certainly can and do handle cases like yours throughout the region and don’t need to be the closest choice. You would be far better served retaining actual experts who do the type of work you are seeking regularly rather than choosing the neighborhood PI and wasting your money. Go with the best choice, contact ASG today!


Signs that your local private investigator is small time and not the best choice for your case:


      • They don’t have an actual office. If they don’t have an office, we would bet it’s because they don’t do much business and are not experts.
      • There are only one or two people working at the office. Again, this is a sign that they don’t do much business and have limited resources. These agencies are usually the ones that will take your case and subcontract the work to someone cheaper who you never get to know about. Let alone approve of.
      • They work from home or from a house converted into a business office. Unless you live in a rural area, this is a sign of a very part-time business run as a hobby, not a profession.
      • When you call, the owner answers the phone, or no one answers the phone. An actual agency has many employees eager to assist you, not one person or an answering machine.
      • Their website looks like it belongs to a company pretending to be big. You know the look and feel. It looks cookie cutter or purports to be an international PI agency. Anyone can claim to be something, few are.
      • Their contract has a “non-disparagement” clause in it. This essentially means you can’t say or post anything about your experience with them online. If they do a terrible job, you can’t give them a poor review or talk about your experience without being sued by them. You should never sign a contract with such provisions in it.
      • No State or National Affiliations. Real private investigators network and belong to organizations that support continued learning with other experts in the field.