Hire A Local Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator, No Need To Contact A National To Act As Your Middleman (Part 2, Of 2 Parts)
In Part 1, of this article I discussed the fact that several National Advertisers are spending huge amounts of money on advertising platforms which are designed to separate the consumer from the decision making process on what Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator they should hire for their private investigation needs. Essentially these advertisers are becoming the “UBER” of the Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator Business where their goal is to “connect” the consumer with a New Jersey Private Investigator while at the same time:
- Totally stripping the consumer of his or her ability to partake in the decision making process on which New Jersey Private Investigator to actually hire for their investigative needs,
- Charging a substantially more expensive hourly rate for services then New Jersey Private Investigators currently charge,
- Retaining 67% of the hourly rate and sub-contracting the job to a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator and paying the Private Investigator only 33% of the monies paid by the consumer,
- These national Private Investigator advertisers are operating (in the opinion of this writer) illegally in New Jersey by failing to be properly licensed (see below),
- The higher hourly rate charged by the advertiser for New JerseyPrivate Investigator Services, the lower hourly rate paid to the investigator, taking the consumer out of the process of choosing his or her investigator and lastly these advertisers are not even licensed to operate a New Jersey Private Investigator Business.
All of this sets the consumer up to have a very, very bad experience when they hire a Private Investigator through a national advertising platform that promises to “Connect” you to a New Jersey Private Investigator; do yourself a favor “connect yourself to your own Private Investigator.
As per my statement the advertisers are operating illegally in New Jersey, once again here is the law:
N.J.S.A. 45:19-10: License to conduct business, violation of Section as misdemeanor
No person, firm, association or corporation shall engage in the private detective business or as a private detective or investigator or advertise his or its business to be a private detective business or that of a detective agency or investigator without having first obtained from the superintendent a license to conduct such business, as hereinafter provided. Any person, firm, association or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this Section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Before I answer this question it is important I tell you something about my background and my New Jersey Private Investigation Business. I am the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department with close to thirty-five years experience in New Jersey’s second largest municipality. During my time on the police department I worked in the field during the night, weekends and holidays. More often then not as the ranking officer on duty, if I was not the first officer/supervisor to arrive at the scene of serious crimes or major incidents I was called to the scene in order to make clear and informed decisions in all kinds of incidents while gathering all of the available information. Throughout my twenty-seven years as a Jersey City Police Supervisor I was the primary and final decision maker in a myriad of incidents such as: domestic violence, child abuse, child endangerment, child custody in addition to overseeing investigations of shootings, aggravated assaults, robberies and narcotics complaints; I was often tasked with putting in place and coordinating surveillance activities to combat and prevent these crimes.
After retiring from the Jersey City Police Department and hoping to continue working in a field that I truly enjoyed I formed Cowan Investigations, LLC, a Full Service Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator Business. While preparing for the opening of this Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator business I invested in tens of thousands of dollars into state of the art surveillance equipment while also investing heavily in office equipment. In addition, I spent north of thirty two thousand dollars ($32,000.00) purchasing a state of the art surveillance van to be dedicated to my New Jersey Private Investigation Business. I also invested thousands of dollars to contract with a premier web designer in order to construct a user friendly website which includes material I worked on and wrote myself in providing extremely helpful and relevant information to the prospective client who is seeking information on hiring a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator.
In my New Jersey Private Investigation Firm I provide thirty minute free consultations to clients who have a need to see how the Private Investigator Process works and my thoughts on how to proceed; after all how many people ever have had to hire a Private Investigator or for that matter how many people even know someone who has hired one. The point I am trying to get to is the fact that I offer personalized Private Investigator Service to clients as do many of my colleagues here in New Jersey; unlike the national Private Investigator advertising firm that sends out a text message (first Private Investigator to respond is assigned to the case) to anyone who faxed in their Professional New Jersey Private Investigator License and endured advertising firms exhaustive 7 minute interview (sarcasm).
How does hiring a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator through a national advertising platform hurt the client who is searching for a New Jersey Private Investigator?
First off, truth be told there are many highly competent, trustworthy and professional Private Investigators in New Jersey; on the other side of the coin, as in any profession there will also be some incompetent, dishonest and unprofessional Private Investigators. Personally I do not work assignments provided by these national advertising platforms but I do know some very good investigators that will take work from these firms at certain times in addition to some “not so good investigators” who accept this work. Here is what you have to consider when you contract with a national advertising firm to be the “middleman” in your hiring of a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator. When the advertiser sends out your assignment by text message to New Jersey Private Investigators who have signed on with them you must consider which Private Investigator will be the quickest to respond, why is this? This is extremely important because the Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator investigator will be assigned not based on your needs and the Private Investigators abilities but based on how quick the New Jersey Private Investigator is able to text back the advertiser of Private Investigator Services accepting the Private Investigator Assignment. Are you going to get the highly professional New Jersey Private Investigator who has invested tens of thousands of dollars in purchasing surveillance and other equipment? Or, are you going to get the Private Investigator who is an idiot that shows up with a cell phone and tells you that this cell phone doubles as a video and still photography camera? All I can tell you is that only the uninformed would hire a New Jersey Private Investigator through a national advertiser, and at the very least the hiring of a Private Investigator in this manner is a crapshoot.
I am going to speak for myself here, however, I am certain many Licensed New Jersey Private Investigators would agree with me, at least to some extent. As I previously wrote, I have invested tens of thousands of dollars into my Private Investigator Firm in order to be properly equipped, insured and to present potential clients with information while presenting a professional image. I have worked tirelessly providing content for my website, information that is critical to a person considering the hiring of a Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator. I also would like to think I have a good background and resume to be an owner of a New Jersey Private Investigator Business. More importantly, I offer potential clients one on one personal service and I treat potential clients with respect, empathy and most importantly confidentiality. On most occasions when I work cases I spend a lot of time talking to clients, completing paperwork and such and don’t even bill for some of these long conversations; often these conversations are not relevant to the investigation, many times it’s the client just letting off steam about his or her problem. It is very much like when I was on the Jersey City Police Department, often I would just be an active listener while people spoke, which would usually calm them down during a highly emotional time in their life, often all they needed was someone to take the time to listen to them while providing an empathetic ear.
As I wrote before, I do not accept work from these Private Investigator Advertising Platforms, but for a moment lets pretend I did work a Private Investigator job assigned through them; while considering this it is important to keep in mind the Private Investigator Advertiser assigning the work to me is skimming 67% off the top of all fees. The Private Investigator Advertiser also requires the Licensed New Jersey Private Investigator to provide a “free consultation”; I already provide a 30-minute free consultation in my New Jersey Private Investigator Business, often speaking at no charge for up to an hour with potential clients. Keep in mind that the National Advertiser Of Private Investigator Services also requires that the New Jersey Private Investigator obtain written consent from the client prior to the investigator extending an investigation past the time that you the client has pre-authorized. If the New Jersey Private Investigator does not have the client’s authorization to extend surveillance hours in writing the Private Investigator will not get paid, or, at the very best you will have to chase your money.
If I was to take such an assignment where I was only paid 33% of the hourly rate this is how I would work the job (this is not an exclusive list):
- At best you would get a fifteen to twenty minute consultation; I would further advise you that that any further contact with you in regard to the private investigation would be billed in increments of five minutes. This billing would include text messages, emails and phone conversations.
- By way of example: lets say you had contracted me to conduct surveillance in a cheating spouse investigation for four hours from 6:00pm to 10:00 pm: I followed your spouse all night long while noticing and photographing some suspicious behavior but not acquiring the proverbial “smoking gun” evidence. I am now following your spouse it is 9:59 pm, she pulls into to the lot of a hotel and parks obviously waiting for someone to arrive, I try to contact you for authorization to extend my hours but you fail to respond, what do I do now? If I stay to get the evidence I might not get paid because the client did not authorize it, what do I do?
I am going to tell you what I am going to do, I would leave, I am not going to chase anyone for my money nor am I going to have to plead to be paid. Of course if I did leave without attempting to acquire evidence it would be unprofessional; this is why I will not work under such conditions.
In closing, do yourself a favor and stay away from those national advertising platforms that want to interpose themselves as middlemen in your hiring of a New Jersy Private Investigator; do the research yourself on licensed New Jersey Private Investigators.
About the author: Bob Cowan is the owner of Cowan Investigations a full service New Jersey Private Investigations Firm, Bob is the former Chief of the Jersey City Police Department and has 35 years experience as a police officer in New Jersey’s second largest municipality.
If you wish to speak with me regarding this article, or if you need a consultation regarding it’s contents please do not hesitate to call me at 732-837-8444, seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm.