Become A Private Investigator
Startup Cost:
Learning Curve:
Flexibility:
Income Potential:

Private Investigators conduct surveillance, gather evidence, and write up reports for a wide variety of cases. They are usually hired by attorneys looking for evidence in a case, insurance companies investigating fraud, and even individuals looking for evidence of an affair or illegal activity as grounds for a divorce. A private investigator must have strong analytical skills and not mind spending hours surveilling and collecting evidence. They must be careful to remain well within the bounds of the law or risk charges or having their PI license taken away.

The startup costs involved will first include getting licensed. Each state has its own requirements with regards to becoming a private investigator, so be sure to check your local laws. A written exam may sometimes be required, and typically you need to have a clean record yourself without any felonies in order to become licensed. Other startup costs can include the equipment you'll need to monitor and investigate. The flexibilty can be low as private investigators need to monitor activity as it happens, rather than on their own schedule. Be prepared for long hours, but also be aware that the income potential can make it well worth it. Depending on where you live, the going rates will vary for private investigators, but it is not uncommon for PIs to charge upwards of $50-60 per hour for their services.


Most private investigators come from either a military or police background. If you don't have such a background you may want to consider a degree in a field like "criminal investigation".

Be prepared to back up your written reports and evidence gathering with in-court testimonies. If you are not one who handles confrontation well, then this may not be for you.

Make sure you don't mind long hours of independent work. Alternatively, some cases may require you to use your interpersonal skills by mingling and interviewing others.


 
 
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