Frequently Asked Questions

Should I hire a licensed private investigator? Oftentimes hiring a private investigator can save you research time. If you have a case that is going to go to court, hiring a private investigator also provides you with a third party, dispassionate person to present evidence for you in court. Hiring a licensed private investigator also gives you some recourse if the private investigator does anything unethical or immoral towards you or your case. A licensed private investigator can be disciplined by his or her state private investigation board. Their board will also institute certain requirement for the private investigator to protect the consumer. While a license is not a sign of skill, it is a sign of basic competence.

How do I find a competent private investigator? There are signs of competence in a private investigator, but these signs are not a hundred percent dead on indicators. The private investigator should be willing to show you his or her state license, if asked to. If the private investigator has a good Internet case management system for tracking his or her cases, that is a good sign. If the private investigator dresses professionally that is a good sign. Not all private investigators will have an office outside of their home, but if yours does that is a good sign. Also type in the private investigator's business name in Google, if you see a lot of negative reviews on them it may be a good idea to move on to the next one, as one private investigator who did not pay his taxes and had his license revoked in Missouri used to day "they know what they are worth". Don't let a few negative on-line reviews sway you though, by the very nature of the job private investigators will incur detractors in their line of work.

What do private investigators charge? Private investigator fees vary widely. The amount of money a private investigator charges depends a lot on the demographic. The larger the city and population the more you can expect to pay a private investigator. Some private investigators charge a flat rate for certain services such as people locates or "skiptracing", background checks, and other information brokerage services, actual field work can vary from between $75.00/Hr. to $300.00/Hr.

How do I get the most "bang for my buck" out of my private investigator? Be sure you clearly define what you want to know to your private investigator. Make sure you set an update interval with your private investigator, a phone call every three or five days. Make sure you know what the private investigator's invoicing policy is. Make sure you agree on a completion date, but also be flexible here because your private investigator might find that your case is a little more complicated that you and him or her anticipated. Make sure you get your agreement with your private investigator in writing, it does not have to be a whole contract, but make sure you get the basic agreement between your private investigator and you in writing, even if it is just an E-mail.

What if my private investigator does something unethical or tries to cheat me? If you find out that your private investigator did something unethical, immoral, or illegal in your case, submit a complaint to his or her private investigation state board. If your private investigator did something clearly illegal in your case, report it to the authorities. Private investigator state boards are usually pretty good at trying to weed out "bad actors", but they don't catch them all. Private investigator state boards make sure that people with serious criminal convictions are not licensed, people that can't even support their state by paying their taxes are not licensed, perverts and stalkers are not licensed. But sometimes people do slip between the cracks. This is why you need to make a complaint about any serious infraction that you are aware of with your private investigator. Here is the Missouri complaint form: COMPLAINT

How can I assist my private investigator with my case? Make sure you have concise and comprehensive information for your private investigator when you hire him or her, so he or she gets a good, clear understanding of what your case is about. If something happens while your private investigator is working your case that is related to the case, document it. Takes notes, take pictures if you can, take audio if you can, get video if you can. Document, document, document! Get as much evidence as you can on the related event and then call your private investigator immediately and get your evidence to your private investigator as quickly as you can. Remember the time and date of the event is very important. 

How do I find out about the Private Investigation Profession in Missouri? Below is a list of contact details and Links so you can find out whatever you want to know about the Missouri Private Investigation Profession:


Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire Investigator Examiners

3605 Missouri Boulevard

P.O. Box 1335

Jefferson City, MO  65102-1335

573.522.7744 Telephone

573.526.0661 Fax

800.735.2966 TTY

800.735.2466 Voice Relay


Here are the Statues and Rules for the P.I Board:

Here are the PI Board Members:

Here are the PI Board Staff Members:

Here is the PI Meetings Agenda Past and Present:

Here are the Disciplined Licenses:

Here are the PI Board News Letters:

Here is a search for MO. Licensed Private Investigators:

Here is some Reading on the MO. Private Investigator Exam:

Here is some information about Continuing Education Courses:

Here are the Various Forms for Private Investigator Licensing: