If you’ve always been a fan of private investigation television shows and there’s also a part of you that’s interested in the criminal justice field, when it comes to choosing a career, have you ever thought about becoming a private investigator?

Although a lot of the job consists of research (which means sitting behind a desk at a computer), by becoming a private investigator, there are all kinds of opportunities afforded to you. Plus, you can make a comfortable salary (around $35-45,000 annually) and even transition into starting your own business.

If this sounds more and more like something you would be interested in doing and you’d like some tips on how to start your own private investigations company, here are five tips for how you can get started:

Take private investigation courses. The first thing that you need to do is sign up for some private investigation courses. You can do this by going to a college in your area or enrolling in a program online. Just make sure that it’s an accredited institution. For a list of some of the best private investigation training programs, visit Pinow and put “private investigator training and education programs” in the search field.

Get your license. Once you’ve gotten the type of education needed, the next step is to obtain your license. In order to get one, you will be required to pass a written exam, to undergo a thorough background check, and to pay a licensing fee. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that certain states will not issue you a license to start your own company without you having some level of experience in the field. For this reason, you might want to get an internship with a private investigation company before getting your license. PI Magazine is one website that can offer you details on what’s required by each state to get a private investigator license. Just go to the site and put “private investigator license requirements by state” in the search field.

Purchase the right equipment. In order to do your job effectively, there are going to be some pieces of equipment that you will need to invest in. Some of them include a computer (a laptop will probably be the most convenient), a camera, and a tape recorder. Those three things should help you to get off to a good start.

Network with local law firms and insurance companies. If you were to speak with someone who works for a company like Global International Security Services about something else that you should do to get your private investigation company off of the ground, something that they might recommend is that you network with some local law firms and insurance companies. The more people are made aware of you and what you do for a living, the easier it will be to get clients.

Practice your sales pitch. A prospective client is not going to hire you just based on you having a license. You’re going to need to present them with a great sales pitch. So before meeting someone with the hopes of handling their case, be prepared for what you want to say. The website, Inc., has an article on the incorrect ways to present a sales pitch. You can read it by going to the site and putting “the deadly sins of a sales pitch” in the search field.

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