Starting a private investigation business of your own has a lot of appeal. Not only can you pursue your interests in investigation and criminal justice, but you also can be your own boss. But before you hang your PI shingle outside, there are a number of steps you need to consider in order to legally practice private investigation in your state. Below are five tips to bear in mind as you begin to think about starting your own private investigation business.
Know the Requirements:
As you start to consider the possibility of opening your own investigation business, you need to research the legal requirements necessary to become a licensed private investigator. Every state has different requirements, so make sure you are specific in your research. However, the core requirements can be fairly similar. Many states require at lease three years of professional investigation experience in order to get licensed. Moreover, many states require the passage of an exam in addition to a licensing fee. Some states may require that you obtain insurance, so be sure you are thorough in your research before you begin.
Get the Training:
Once you’ve researched the requirements for licensing in your state, the next step to consider is your training. If come from a law enforcement background, you may feel as if you have a strong understanding of the skills and tools required for the job. And while that may be the case, private investigators work in a different legal arena, somewhere between law enforcement and private citizen. As such, it is in your best interest to study or train with an established private investigation firm first so that you might fully understand the nuances of this legal middle-ground.
As you begin to piece your business together, one of the main considerations you need to factor in is how you want your business to be structured in order to limit your personal liability. There are a number of options available to private investigators, but the primary two are sole proprietorship and a limited liability corporation. Being a sole proprietor is a simpler process but leaves you with more personal liability. It can also limit you if you wish to expand. As an LLC, you have more paperwork but your personal liability is reduced. Think carefully about how you want to run your business and consult a knowledgeable attorney before moving forward.
Pick your Field:
Private investigation covers a wide range of areas and services. From investigations into car theft, insurance fraud and missing persons, there are a host of services you and your business can offer the public. When determining what services you want to provide, be sure to consider your own strengths, your professional network and what services might maximize your income without consuming all of your time and attention.
Join the Club:
Once your business is up and running, it may be a helpful to join a professional association of other private investigation firms. This will help lend your business some legitimacy while also making your company show up on professional service lists when potential clients do their research.
Starting your private investigation service requires research, passion and drive. And with professional training from New York Intelligence Agency, which offers PI training services, you can set yourself up for success as a private investigator.