So you finally made a decision about your career and said to yourself: “I want to be a private investigator”. The first question is – what do you need to be a private investigator?

The answer is that in order to become a Private Investigator, you need to undertake specialist training either with an agency or organize and then apply for a license from the regulatory body called Security Industry Authority (“SIA”). The training can be provided by a detective training institute, for example Institute of Professional Investigators.

Apply For The License At The SIA Website

From this year onwards, a private investigator license is compulsory for all commercial private investigator activities. It is illegal for an unlicensed detective to practice surveillance or undertake investigations for the purpose of obtaining information about a particular individual or their activities and location or about a property that has been lost or damaged. You can apply for the license at the SIA website and check on its progress via a portal on the site. You must apply for renewal of your license up to four months before your current license’s expiration date.

Quality Customer Service

After you’ve become a licensed detective, you then can either get a job at a detective agency, be employed by a professional organization requiring in-house investigation services, or be self-employed. The first thing to consider when starting a private detective agency is what you, as a private investigator, can do. Professional ethical conduct directs that private investigators shouldn’t offer services they are not qualified to provide – for example, if you have years of experience in insurance or commercial fraud investigation, you shouldn’t provide forensics and computer analysis if you don’t have the training for it, unless you provide them on an agency basis. Like with any business, quality customer service is the most important priority and you should therefore consider your qualifications and experience carefully before beginning to offer your services.

One reason why years of industry experience would be beneficial when you start a private investigation agency is that you would have the necessary skills and qualifications to operate in a business setting. You have to consider the budget and its allocation to advertising, premises, investing in top quality equipment, environmental concerns and various other aspects of running a business.

Starting A Private Detective Agency?

Another thing to consider when starting a private detective agency is joining a professional body or a network of investigators such as World Association of Professional Investigators (“WAPI”) or Association of British Investigators (“ABI”). Both organizations have upheld high professional standards for many years and the membership is a worthy investment, not least because it would keep you updated on any changes in regulation and allows you to advertise in the directory.

You must also ensure that your investigation business is registered under the Data Protection Act, which is a legal requirement for all businesses, and that you obtain professional indemnity insurance. The latter can be provided by the ABI.