In 2019, there were 96,100 private detectives and investigators in the United States. The estimated job growth looks positive at 8.29 percent. If you have ever considered private investigation as a career, it’s a good idea to do some research. Like any career, there are pros and cons to becoming a licensed PI. Let’s take a closer look at those pros and cons to help you decide whether private investigation is the right choice for you.
The Benefits of Becoming a PI
Variety of Cases
As a private investigator, you will likely work with a diverse range of cases. This includes everything from tech and corporate industries to law enforcement and private citizens. If you enjoy constantly learning new information and working with different types of clients, you may enjoy a career as a PI.
Control over Your Career
If you own a PI firm, you can choose who you work with. This may include big corporations, small businesses, private firms, or insurance providers. You will also be able to decide which type of services you offer and what you specialize in. This type of job flexibility is ideal for those that prefer to have control over their job.
Private investigators that own a firm have complete financial freedom. You will decide how often you work and what you charge your clients. If you work for an investigative firm, you will typically earn less income. However, you will also not have to worry about firm-related expenses like you would as a self-employed PI.
Do you love solving complex puzzles and mysteries? Does research, analyzing, and writing appeal to you? If you answered yes, you will be happy to know that private investigation offers a consistent stream of mind exercises and challenges. These mental skills are necessary to gather key evidence for clients that would likely not be able to find otherwise.
For most PIs, their personal values include upholding justice, honesty, and helping others. This line of work allows investigators to do work that aligns with their values. In turn, this creates a rewarding career.
The Disadvantages of Becoming a PI
When considering private investigation, it’s important to note that the initial costs can be expensive. You will need to pay for PI training, licensing, and certifications. Depending on which state you live in, you may also need to do an apprenticeship before you can earn your license to work. This is no different from most careers, which require some type of education and/or training to get started.
If you own an investigative firm, it’s important to know how to successfully run a business. Aside from working with clients, you will have to juggle various business tasks. This may include marketing your services and website, answering potential clients’ questions about your firm, and growing your firm (i.e. taking on more clients, offering new services, or partnering with another firm). You will likely find that the business tasks are just as challenging as the investigation work.
Unpredictable Work Life
Your work hours and pay will vary greatly based on where you live, whether you own or work for a firm, and the demand for PIs in your area. In general, it’s common for PIs to work long hours on some days and short days on other days. When you take on a time-sensitive case like finding a missing person, you may have to conduct surveillance. This will likely be a case that requires long hours until your client receives the answers they need. Indeed, it’s essential that you plan for these contingencies, especially if you have children or pets that require your care.
Repetitive Work Duties
While TV series and movies make it seem like PIs only do spy-like work, this fails to show the whole picture of what real investigators do. It’s true that PIs take on some interesting cases. However, they also do a lot of research, analyzing, and observing. This work can be considered less exciting by some, but is a crucial part of investigative work. In general, PIs will spend more hours behind a computer than out on the field.
As a private investigator, you may be put in potentially dangerous, high-risk situations. This is especially true when taking on criminal cases or conducting surveillance. The suspect may become aware of you and try to assault you. Indeed, this all depends on the type of case and what is required to solve it. There will be cases that only require a background screening or fingerprints. Other cases will have a greater safety risk. It’s just important to be aware of this when considering this career.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s article discussing the pros and cons of private investigation work. It’s a highly rewarding career that allows you to work with a variety of clients and continue to learn new skills. If you are in need of an expert Florida private investigator or just want to learn more about PIs, contact PATRIOT Backgrounds and Investigations today. We would love to meet you and learn how we can help meet your specific needs.