Can a private investigator work from home?

Can you work from a home office as a private investigator and is it dangerous?

The short answer is, yes, you can work form home as a P.I.

I did it for years and it can be great, if… (and honestly, there’s no way to say this that doesn’t sound mean, but) if you can be left alone to work!

Working from home has three main problems for a P.I.

1. You’re family will probably not understand you are “at work”.

That means you will be frequently interrupted (at least it will feel that way) and if you are left alone (usually because everyone else has actually gone to a job), you will be drafted to put out all the brushfires that come up during the day in normal life.

Of course, being “flexible” for those things is a great benefit of working from home, but still, it can be rough.

If someone else is home during the day, you may find even more interruptions.

2. You may lose your mind.

I don’t mean you’ll go crazy, but you can lose the healthy perspective you gain by leaving the house regularly.

Working from home you may tend to spiral inward and focus too heavily on your own little world.

Get out! Remember how big the world is and that there are other people whose lives are just as important as yours.

As Matthew Kelly teaches in his great book Resisting Happiness, “Everyone is carrying a heavy load and fighting a hard battle.”

3. Danger.

Okay, maybe just the possibility of an increased level of danger.

After all, we are working cases where people lose custody of their children, lose worker’s compensation benefits and even go to prison. You may find someday, maybe even years after a case is closed, that a guy is sitting in a bar on his daughter’s birthday complaining about how “that P.I. took my little girl from me”.

Never-mind that he’s an alcoholic who beat his wife and kid, he can still find a way to blame you. The next thing you know, he’s pounding on your door and waving a gun.

Huge Tip: Get and use a “private mail box” (that’s different from a “post office box”). Get one from a company that will hold your mail and packages then use that address for EVERYTHING.

Hopefully, when the guy climbs off his bar stool at midnight, grabs his gun and shows up at your “address”, he only finds a closed business. (Heck, with a little luck, maybe the cops are keeping an eye on the businesses at that strip mall!)

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

Sun Tzu’s Art of War for Private Investigators.

Sun Tuz wrote the classic The Art of War about 2,500 years ago, but a 21st century private investigator can learn from it including my favorite lesson: War is the Art of Deception.

I don’t like conflict.

I just don’t. But… sometimes private investigator work is adversarial. That means, frequently, one side wins and the other side loses.

Hopefully, as a P.I., you’re on the side of Truth and if you have an adversary he or she is violating someone’s rights or trust and you’re the one trying to help get good information so your client can make a wise decision.

So, when you are trying to win during a conflict, you may want your opponent to mis-read your position so they make a mistake allowing you to “win”.

For example, going into an interview, if you know a lot about what happened and who was involved, you may want to “play dumb” allowing the subject to underestimate you and maybe they will slip or give-up a piece of info they think doesn’t mean anything to you!

Do you have a lesson from The Art of War you want to share? Drop it in the comments!

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

P.S. – Don’t miss this… deception works both ways, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make (in surveillance, interviews, infidelity cases or just about any time!) is to underestimate your “opponent”!

Never underestimate your opponent!

What to do when mistaken for a cop as a private investigator.

I got a question from a follower and he asked, “What do you do when you’re working as a private investigator, but mistaken for a police officer”?

The only time I recall this happening to me was when it didn’t involve any case I was working on, but when I would be in a neighborhood and the kids on the street would call out, “Five-O! Five-O!” to let the corner boys slinging dope know a cop was in the area.

I’ve never had someone I was interviewing or trying to get information from mistake me for a police officer and I think that’s because I’ve always been very clear that I’m a P.I.

Of course, there were times I was “pretexting” for information and posing as a construction worker or flower delivery guy and they had no idea I was working as a private investigator. But it would have been impossible to mistake me for law enforcement then!

Forbidden Pretext

Some pretext are forbidden by law or ethics (or both!) and for one of those reasons or the other I would never pose as…

Law Enforcement

Additionally, I would tread lightly on any fake identity where the real thing requires a license form the state.

And here’s a big one… Never use any kind of pretext to get banking information in the United States. Currently that’s a federal offense and the law is written to cover any clever little loophole you think you’ve found in it!

Lastly, I personally would never pose as any kind of clergy. That’s because I think getting to heaven (and taking as many people with you as you can) is the whole purpose of life and I never want to mess with someone trying to reach that end goal!

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

P.S. – If you are posing as law enforcement, well… that’s kind of a loser move. Why can’t you get the information you need in a legitimate way? You gotta’ work on your private investigator skills!

Let me humbly suggest you start by learning the things in my special report, “If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things”. You can get it right here…

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One way to document evidence of your experience to get your P.I. license!

Sample Affidavit for a Private Investigator
Right click on the above affidavit to “save as” for your own records.

Use an affidavit (a sworn statement) to document your experience to get your private investigator license from the state.

You may ask, “How can I prove my experience to get my private investigator license from the state”?

One way is to use pay stubs from your employer at the time, but here’s an idea that may help if you get stuck… Continue reading

What a private investigator can learn from the movie Caddyshack!

You may remember the classic 1980 movie Caddyshack with greats like Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray and Ted Knight, but do you know what it can teach a private investigator about mobile surveillance?

If you remember the climatic scene at the end of the golf tournament, then you know there’s a series of large explosions that fail to kill the gopher, but do change the end of the golf game.

The explosions are huge, and one explosion in particular is a gigantic fireball, but here’s what you may not know… Continue reading