Ask a California Private Investigator

I’ve never hired a private investigator before; how do we do this?
We understand that for many people, this is a new experience and we try our best to make it easy. Give us a call and let us know what it is that you need and we will work with you to develop a strategy that will work for you.

My request is rather embarrassing…

It’s okay. We’re adults, and we’ve seen it all. Whatever your situation, you can rest assured that we will treat you with respect and discretion.

What is the cost for the initial consultation?

We do not charge for the consultation. Our goal with the consultation is to simply ascertain your needs and see if we can help.

How long does the consultation take?

Each case is different and we can’t estimate an average. Whatever the case, we will take however much time is needed to address your situation and needs.

How should I prepare for the consultation?

Set aside at least fifteen minutes where you can talk openly about your situation without being overheard by uninvolved parties (co-workers, children, etc.). If for any reason you are concerned about being monitored – by your spouse, for example – be sure to use a friend’s cell phone, a secure email address, and a credit card that your spouse will not see. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. We are here to help.

Can you guarantee the retainer amount is all that I will need to pay?

Unfortunately, no. We will, however, guarantee that we will not exceed the retainer amount without your authorization. If you do not wish to continue, we will stop the investigation. It’s entirely up to you.

Why can’t you guarantee the amount?

Every case is different. If we are conducting surveillance, we are at the mercy of the person we are watching, and we have no control over their actions. If, for example, the subject spends the day driving around town, we will need to charge for the mileage. If the subject goes into a nightclub that has a cover charge, we may need to enter the club to get the evidence you need. We don’t know how the investigation will proceed, or what additional services you will request, until we have commenced.

Again, you will have control over whether or not to exceed the agreed-upon retainer amount. If we are getting close to going over the retainer amount, we will contact you and the decision to stop or continue will be yours. We do guarantee that you will receive a thorough, timely, and professional investigation that will either solve or move you much closer to your case objective.

Will the surveillance investigator be in touch with me during the actual investigation?

Whenever possible, yes. However, our first priority when performing surveillance is to keep an eye on the subject and accordingly, our investigator may not be able to talk with you right away.

Okay, I’m ready to hire you. Now what?

At this point, we will give an estimate for our services. If the estimate amount works for you, we will need you to supply us with as much information as you have for your case and we will get started.

Why is your retainer more expensive than some I have seen on the Internet?

There are agencies out there that will lowball an estimate just to get your money. Once they start the case, they will add additional costs and nickel-and-dime you for everything they can.

We believe investigators who conduct their business that way are unethical and an embarrassment to the profession. If we give you an estimate, we will do everything possible to stay within that amount and provide you with the service you need.

How do we work out payment?

We will need payment for the full retainer amount prior to beginning your investigation.

For expediency and security, we use
PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account, you may still make a credit card payment through PayPal, via the links located on our Website. You may also submit a check for the retainer, but we will need to wait for the check to clear before beginning the investigation.

Will you guarantee that my investigation will provide the evidence I need?

No, and anyone who makes such a guarantee should be regarded with suspicion. Our job is to research and investigate the facts and to conduct surveillance. It is entirely up to the subject of our investigation to do (or have done) the things you suspect them of doing.

Will I get a copy of the photos or video?

Yes. We provide copies of our evidence in your choice of DVD or CD-Rom. We will also provide a final report, which will contain an accounting of our findings and an invoice, detailing how your money was used. We only use high-quality digital video recording devices, but we can take still images from the video should you need them.

Can you tell me why my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend is seeing someone else?

We understand that infidelity can be a heartbreaking, life-changing experience and our mission is to get the information you need. We will treat you and your case with the care and compassion you deserve; however, we are not counselors and cannot provide explanations for the unfortunate things that may be happening in your life.

I know my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend plays around. Can you have an investigator provide them the opportunity to cheat?

Absolutely not. We're aware that there are 'investigators' out there who provide this type of service; they clutter the daytime talk shows with their stories and video footage. The fact of the matter is that no decent investigator would indulge in this sleazy and highly unethical behavior.

Will you help me confront them with the evidence of their cheating?

This has become a popular question since a certain television show went on the air. Our mission is to simply obtain and provide you with the evidence you need; after that, how you handle the situation after that is up to you. We will not make your personal situation a public spectacle.

Can you help with legal advice?

We recommend that if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.

What if I need something that may not technically be legal?

If we believe your request to be illegal or unethical, we will not take your case. We operate within a very strict code of ethics, as well as in accordance to all applicable laws.

Are there investigators out there who will?

Perhaps, however, we do not associate with them and will not provide referrals.

Can you get video or photos inside of stores, bars or restaurants?

Yes, we can. Our technical department is one of the best in the industry, and you simply wouldn’t believe some of the things we have been able to do with miniature cameras. And no, we’re not going to tell.

Is my case or request confidential?

We will not discuss any aspect of your case with anyone for any reason, nor will we confirm or deny that you have even hired us without your written consent. We will not share any case information with anyone other than yourself or your attorney, should an attorney be involved, without your written consent. If you have an attorney, you will need to let us know their name and advise us that they will be calling before we will talk with them.

We believe that personal issues should remain personal. 

I have special needs when it comes to communication, are you discreet?

Absolutely. We understand that the nature of your case may not be something you wish to discuss with co-workers, friends or family. Much of what we do is highly personal and we will work with you to determine the best means of communication.

Additionally, if your case results in a report and evidence, we will send the information to you at whatever email and/or physical address you wish. If you do not wish to receive a hard copy of the report and evidence, for whatever reason, we will not send one. Our mission is to serve your needs to the best of our abilities, whatever those needs may be.

How quickly can you begin my case?

Usually we can begin once we receive your retainer.

How does the surveillance work?

We have a four-hour minimum when it comes to surveillance. We will gladly conduct more than four hours, but no less. We will work with you to determine the best strategy for conducting surveillance. In many cases, the four hours can be split into different days, however.

We will schedule surveillance to meet your situation, and will have one of our field investigators at their assigned location fifteen to twenty minutes prior to the agreed-upon start time.

Do your investigators work for other agencies?

No. Our investigators work exclusively for us and undergo a lengthy, selective screening and training process before they are allowed to work on their own in the field. If your investigation requires out-of-state work that we cannot conduct, we will contact an investigator from our network of affiliates.

Can you tell me about some of the techniques your investigators use?

No. Our investigators have developed their techniques and equipment through years of experience and education and to share those techniques would not be advantageous for them or us.

Over the years, we have utilized passenger cars, sports utility vehicles, vans, trucks, stationary vehicles, roadwork vehicles, bicycles, skateboards, skates, scooters, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, jet skis and boats. We have a vehicle for every situation. For those surveillance situations when a vehicle will not work, we have climbed into hollowed-out trees, crept through poison oak, crawled through deer trails and climbed mountains. We have jogged, walked dogs, sold items door-to-door and used many other creative techniques. Whatever it takes to work your case, we will do it. Most importantly, we never trespass or break any harassment or anti-stalking laws while doing so.

Can you tell me how to conduct my own investigation?

No. To do so would place us in a position of potential liability should something go wrong.

Are you able to detect ‘bugs?’

Bugging’ or electronic eavesdropping is a vastly misunderstood area. There is no single device that can detect surveillance microphones or cameras, regardless of what the so-called ‘spy stores’ are trying to sell. We do conduct bug sweeps, using a wide array of devices and techniques. This can be a very involved process. Contact us for more information.

I need your services right now. Can you help?

We try to serve the needs of our clients as best we can. Depending upon the subject, location and availability of our field investigators, we may be able to work a case on very short notice. However, the better lead-time we have, the better we will be able to handle your request. We do not charge extra for rush cases.

I’m calling for someone else…

We appreciate that you are trying to help your friend, family member or employer and will of course work with you in order to protect the party you are calling for.

I’m in California, but the person in question is outside of the state. Can you help?

Most likely, yes. Many of our investigators are able to work in a number of other states, and we also have a dependable network of affiliates who we can work with to take care of your needs.

I’m not in California, but the person in question is. Can you help?


Is there anything else I should know?

We’re here to help. If you have any questions or concerns that aren’t addressed in this FAQ, please contact us.

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