“Who Do You Work For?!” The 7 Types of Clients That Hire Private Investigators

Have you ever been asked what you do for a living? I tell them I’m a private investigator (PI).

Kind of interesting, right? You don’t get to meet private investigators every day, let alone talk to them about what they do.

Inevitably, the next question asked is:

“Who hires you?”

Many people are curious about the world of private investigation, but aside from “educational” shows about private investigators (like Cheaters), I’m surprised at the lack of information available. Web search results show that all private investigator services are for cheating spouses or domestic cases.  Case in point:

There are a lot of false assumptions about the identity of private investigators and our clients.

In truth, private investigators offer many customers a mix of useful services, and hiring a private investigator can be worth the investment.

Here are seven types of people that commonly use our services:

Human Resource (HR) Professionals

As an HR pro, you strive to bring in quality employees to fill open positions in your company. But how can you be sure new employees will be a great fit?

By hiring a private investigator to conduct a background check.

Running a background check before you hire an employee (a pre-employment screening) helps to develop and evaluate a candidate’s profile. Any reputable private investigation agency can solve that problem.

A good screening will help you answer several questions, such as:

  • Does the candidate have a criminal record? Avoiding workplace violence is crucial and is one of the first items a pre-employment screen uncovers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries in the United States in 2014, 403 (9%) were workplace homicides.[1] (You’ll also want to make sure your investigator complies with pre-employment regulations and laws – see Ban the Box for more info.)
  • Do their resumes check out? PIs screen candidates to ensure all the resume details are true. Lying on a resume is illegal in some states, not to mention it’s ethically wrong and can lead to serious harm to a company’s reputation if it becomes public.
  • Did they attend the college(s) they claim they did? The number one lie on resumes comes from “education padding,” where applicants embellish or fudge their education information. PIs can track down college records, attended years, and degrees a candidate received.
  • Are their past employment records accurate? PIs specialize in tracking down past employers. PIs can often uncover false employment claims or omit previous employment on a resume.
  • Is he/she a sex offender? Sexual harassment costs companies bundles of money. In 2011, over $52 million was doled out to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.[2] That number doesn’t even count the number of women (and men) who don’t report the act, which could be as high as 1 in 3.[3] PIs can access nationwide data on sexual offenders so that you can avoid this problem altogether.

Safety Professionals

Preventing workplace injuries is an integral part of the job description for occupational, environmental, and industrial safety professionals.

The ability to administer the workers’ compensation program is lumped into many of those job descriptions. On top of that, it’s beneficial to a safety manager to be informed about how to save the company money. One way to do this is by eliminating fraudulent claims.

How do you work towards eliminating fraud?

You guessed it: hire a private investigator.

Private investigators can conduct investigative services like surveillance on fraudulent workers’ compensation claimants. Obtaining compromising video and a detailed report of a fraudulent claimant’s activities can magically make claims go away. Safety professionals who partner with a competent and well-versed surveillance expert can help deliver this result.

Insurance Claims Adjusters

Unfortunately, insurance fraud is a booming business in today’s world. Automobile accidents, arson, and healthcare fraud total approximately $40 – $80 billion annually, [4] costing the average U.S. family anywhere from $400-$700 per year.[5]

And on top of obtaining high-definition video footage of an insurance fraudster on surveillance, insurance companies hire the best private investigators to perform automobile accident reconstructions, interview claimants and witnesses and gather law enforcement records to determine who is at fault and who might be cheating the system.

The result equals money saved, and risk avoided.

Lawyer /Attorney

Lawyers are another type of private investigator client.

Private investigators can help lawyers dig into opposing parties’ backgrounds, interview potential witnesses, and aid in litigation.

Also, private investigators serve subpoenas and specialize in tracking down witnesses and plaintiffs who may not want to be found. Hiring a PI to do the legwork is a cost that’s worth the investment.

Caregiver or Homemaker

What if you need a babysitter to watch your child, but the next-door neighbor isn’t available?

Conducting a background check on a nanny, babysitter, or caregiver gives you peace of mind.

You’ll want to know if the person looking after your son or daughter is responsible enough to babysit your child. Private investigators can locate past and current criminal records and sexual offenses and verify your babysitter’s identity.

Business Owners

Business owners want to make sure their business interests are protected. They also want to determine if they’re getting into business with the right partners.

Hiring a private investigator to conduct a business background check on a client’s business partner, a.k.a a due diligence search, helps to evaluate the quality of a business partnership.

You’ll want to know what kind of credit the candidate and the business have, a list of their business assets, the business representative, any negative media associated with the business, and any other past issues.

Businesses also use private investigators to conduct security and integrity audits.

For example, a PI can do anything from investigating the security of a building or inspecting the quality of service at a restaurant. Private investigators can follow salespeople to learn if they’re regularly attending their sales meetings, stake out bars and clubs to ensure the staff isn’t stealing from the register, and attempt to (legally) “break into” data storage companies to test their safeguards.

Landlord (Property Owner)

Renting your property to bad tenants is a problem. Hiring an investigator helps mitigate the risk of renting to untrustworthy renters.

That’s your property that you’re allowing someone else to live in, so you have a vested interest in ensuring it’s not torn to pieces once the lease expires. Vetting your tenants upfront can help to ensure you collect your rent check every month and alleviate property damage concerns.

Private investigators can help by conducting a background check on your potential tenant to find criminal records, prior evictions, civil suits, and bad credit. Searches like this will paint a picture of your potential tenant on the front end. From there, you can decide to rent to them or hold off and wait for a better candidate to come along.

What Other Ways Can Private Investigators Serve You? 

You may wonder, “Who are the best private investigators near me?” Well, hiring private detective agencies can be mysterious and vague. So, leave a message in the comments below with your questions.


[1] “What you should know about workplace violence – CNN.com.” 2014. 12 Jan. 2016 <http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/27/us/workplace-violence-questions-answers/>

[2] “Sexual harassment charge statistics – EEOC.” 2009. 13 Jan. 2016 <http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/sexual_harassment.cfm>

[3] “1 In 3 Women Has Been Sexually Harassed At Work …” 2015. 13 Jan. 2016 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/19/1-in-3-women-sexually-harassed-work-cosmopolitan_n_6713814.html>

[4] “Fraud statistics – Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.” 2012. 13 Jan. 2016 <http://www.insurancefraud.org/statistics.htm>

[5] “FBI — Insurance Fraud.” 2015. 13 Jan. 2016 <https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/insurance-fraud>

16 replies
  1. David Hawkins
    David Hawkins says:

    That;s really interesting that there are so many potential clients for a private investigator. I know a friend of mine suspected his wife of cheating on him and he was considering going to one of these private eyes. I’ll have to pass this info along to him so he can have a better idea of what a investigator will actually do. Thanks for the info!

  2. Gregory Willard
    Gregory Willard says:

    I think it’s very interesting that landlords will hire private eyes to mitigate the risk of renting. I know that a lot of people will use a background check to figure out who the person is, but I never thought they would hire a service like that. It’s good that different people will use different techniques to get the job done.

    • Adam Visnic
      Adam Visnic says:

      Saving our clients money is the name of the game. If you can prevent property owners from renting their places to an untrustworthy people, you can make sure that their rental income keeps flowing.

  3. James Bergman
    James Bergman says:

    I think I am seeing a trend here. It looks like most of your clients, hire you to do background checks. It is certainly different than what TV shows would have us think, and it honestly makes me much more comfortable knowing that most PI jobs are so mundane.

    • Adam Visnic
      Adam Visnic says:

      Indeed James. Our jobs are very mundane at times, but with instants where we get a kick of adrenaline when finding that exciting lead or capturing incriminating footage of a workers’ comp claimant. Thanks for the post.

  4. John
    John says:

    After reading this article, it seems like hiring a private investigator can be really helpful from a legal standpoint. From what I’ve read, the evidence collected by private investigators can be extremely powerful in a court of law. This would be really beneficial since I had no idea private investigators did more than investigate adultery cases.

  5. Ridley Fitzgerald
    Ridley Fitzgerald says:

    It’s good to know when to hire a PI. I like how you said that safety professionals would want to hire one to show how safe, or unsafe a company is. Construction companies probably need that a lot more than other businesses.

    • Adam Visnic
      Adam Visnic says:

      Construction companies have high EMR at times due to all the injuries that can occur on a job site. Many times, in my experience, I’ve seen all too often people attempting to cheat the system out of their workers’ comp from legitimate injuries that become abusive in nature.

  6. UIA Investigation
    UIA Investigation says:

    Hi Adam Visnic,

    Brilliant Post!!! Thanks so much

    UIA Investigation is the best professional private detectives agency in Florida, USA. Provides professional detectives services across the US like in Naples, Tampa, Florida and many other cities.

    Please contact us for any investigative matters and we will be glad to assist you. Please take a look at http://www.uiainvestigation.com for more information.

  7. Alice Carroll
    Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for the tip about how I should also check the employment records of a private investigator before hiring one. I’m interested in finding one soon because I have a suspicion that my husband has been lying to me about something based on his body language around me. I don’t have any evidence on me so a lot more observations will have to be made.


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