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Private Investigator Consultations - Is There a Better Way?

What is a consultation with a private investigator? What might an investigative consultation entail, and how does a private investigator know what to ask the client? We will briefly discuss this and then share why we think the system is rife for abuse.

The Initial Private Investigator Consultation

A private investigator’s initial consultation with a potential client is a critical step in establishing the groundwork for the investigation. This meeting is not only about understanding the client's needs but also about setting realistic expectations and building a rapport.

Here’s a detailed overview of how a private investigator might conduct this consultation, the questions they may ask, and the process of formulating a plan for the client.

Initial Meeting and Assessment

Typically, a client and private investigator engage over the telephone. Most private investigation firms do not have public offices, although some do. There are too many disasters with having a public office that put staff's life in danger, so don't judge harshly a private investigator who would rather talk on the phone.

During the consultation a private investigator will likely include these factors in their conversation with you.

Understanding the Client’s Needs

The first objective is to understand why the client is seeking the services of a private investigator. This involves listening attentively to the client’s concerns and objectives. Then, as the client is sharing these details, most PIs are formulating a plan to provide the client in hopes of selling the client the service immediately.

If the service the private investigator offers does not get sold in that first consultation, it is likely the detective will never hear from the potential client again.

Confidentiality Assurance

The investigator assures the client of confidentiality, reinforcing the trust and security essential in such sensitive matters.

Gathering Basic Information

This includes the client’s personal details, contact information, and any relevant background information that might be pertinent to the case. The private detective will use this information to possibly market to the potential client, or at least have information for phone or email follow-up. This information will also be used, should you become a client to set up your case file.

Key Questions to Ask

Nature of the Case: What is the specific nature of the issue or problem the client is facing? This could range from personal matters like a missing person to more complex issues like fraud investigation.

Desired Outcome: What does the client hope to achieve from the investigation? Understanding the client's end goal is crucial for planning the investigation.

Timeline and Urgency: How urgent is the matter? Are there any specific deadlines or time-sensitive aspects that need to be considered?

Previous Actions: Has the client or anyone else taken any steps regarding the issue? This information can help avoid duplication of efforts and build upon what has already been done.

Available Information and Evidence: What information or evidence does the client already have? Any documents, photographs, or digital evidence can be valuable starting points.

Budget Constraints: What budget is the client working with? This will help in determining the scope and scale of the investigation. Herein lies the rub. We will discuss this shortly.

Sherlock Holmes on couch - No. 221B Consultants -
A private investigation requires processing, strategizing and close management. We believe that is worth more than a 15 minute free consultation

Developing a Plan for the Client

Analyzing the Information: The investigator analyzes all the information gathered during the consultation to assess the feasibility and scope of the investigation.

Setting Realistic Expectations: It's important to discuss with the client what is realistically achievable, considering legal boundaries and the nature of the case.

Strategizing the Investigation: The investigator formulates a strategy that outlines the investigative methods to be used, such as surveillance, background checks, digital forensics, or interviews.

Resource Allocation: Deciding on the allocation of resources, including time, manpower, and technological tools, based on the case’s requirements and the client’s budget.

Timeline and Milestones: Establishing a timeline with clear milestones helps in tracking the progress of the investigation and keeping the client informed.

Communication Plan: Setting up a communication plan for regular updates and feedback, maintaining transparency throughout the investigation.

Risk Assessment: Identifying any potential risks or legal implications involved in the investigation and discussing these with the client.

Agreement and Contract: Finalizing the details in a formal agreement or contract that outlines the scope of work, fees, confidentiality terms, and other relevant details.

Is There a Better Way To Help Clients With the Investigative Process?

Here's the deal...we started No. 221 B to rattle things up a little. We will never fully impact the private investigation industry, but, we believe there is a better way to really assist a potential client and it's called...

old 1800s England No. 221 B
We're offering the consumer an option seldom heard of: the consulting detective

Objectivity - The Modern Approach to Private Investigation Consultations

Right. So we didn't invent objectivity, that is to say freedom from bias, but we do believe it is in the potential clients interest.

For three decades I have heard clients say "I've never done this before", "I'm not sure, I will depend on your expertise", and other similar feelings when they call a private investigator. What this means is that the consumer is none-the-wiser. They know it's not like TV, but really what is private investigation like?

When someone is innocent, or has no experience, what is the first thing that happens to them ? That's right, they get taken advantage of. I am not saying all licensed private investigators do this, but I have personally known many to do just that.

An objective consulting detective may be paid for just one-hour of consultative time and help a client save thousands of dollars, and massive headaches from private investigators that don't know what they're doing.

Here Enters The Objective, Unbiased, Ethical Consulting Detective

At a later time we will share all the tricks that a private investigator can use to manipulate you into you buying there services, but for now, we want to talk about what makes a consulting detective more objective than another private investigator.

No Skin In The Game

A consulting detective helps clients obtain an objective plan. That may take an hour or you may require more, but suffice it to say, we are not selling you the investigative services. You will know upfront the cost of an hour of our time. You can hire No. 221 B for as little as an hour and have a great understanding of where your particular matter should go and how to get there.

Focused Attention

Because a consulting detective isn't likely to be in the field, you have greater access to an expert who can give you on -going advisory when you need it the most. No. 221 B focuses on the issue at hand, and doesn't have the distractions a field investigator may have.

No Commission Breath

Did you know many private investigation firms have sales people. There job is to bring you on as a client. The last one I knew received a nice salary along with a 20% commission. This is to say if you don't want to deal with salesy kind of people, consult first with No. 221 B consulting detectives.

We have nothing to sell you but our expertise and time and we're upfront with our pricing and the time it will take. And yes, even one-person agencies have to sell, that is a primary role in a detective agency, so don't think you are only sold to by the larger firms. One person shows have a strong impetus to sell you the job.


Look, there is nothing wrong with hiring a private investigator directly. The consultation process is integral to the success of a private investigation. It allows the investigator to thoroughly understand the client's needs, ask pertinent questions, and develop a well-thought-out plan. By ensuring clear communication, setting realistic expectations, and strategically planning the investigation, a private investigator can effectively address the client’s concerns and work towards achieving the desired outcomes.

However, what is better is a higher standard. Our consulting firm provides a higher standard based on experience and expertise. You will receive objective tactics that will go a long ways in a winning strategy.


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