Private Investigations and Personal Security/Type of Investigations To Pursue


Hello again Lyn,

I would like to become a private investigator specializing in personal/business background checks, pre marital/relationship screens, missing persons, re-uniting birth parents & children, skip tracing, product liability, employee character screening, corporate espionage, and company vs.competitor investigations.

My question is, can one eventually make a decent living,(I guess to me that would mean, at the least, making a living from one occupation), performing the above investigations as opposed to going the surveillance type invesrigations route?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd enjoy being more of a researcher/information gathering type investigator as opposed to investigators involved with odd hours filming and photographing domestic and criminal/drug/sting operation type issues.

I've spoken with a few P.I.s around my locale, but it seems that they are enjoying or performing more surveillance/infidelity types of activities.

Is this because these investigators might consider surveillance/filming/photographing more profitable or might surveillance activities be somewhat easier than the data-base accessing and researching segment of private investigations?

I would very much appreciate a response from an experienced professional.

Thank you greatly.


Mike E.


I'm a personal security expert, not a PI, so I don't have any direct experience to offer in response to your question.  However, I do have an opinion based on general knowledge of economics and business.  

Anyone in business for themselves starts out trying to do what they want to do, and usually has to modify that somewhat so that they are doing what someone is willing to pay them for.  So, I think most PIs do surveillance/infidelity activities because that is what most customers ask for.  It might or might not pay better than research-based activities, but I'm pretty sure it is considered harder work.    You might try asking those PIs you know why they do so much surveillance work.   
Best, Lyn

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Lyn Bates


Are you being stalked? I can help evaluate the amount of danger you are in, and can provide very specific suggestions for increasing your safety, and for managing your situation. As a founding member and the current Vice President of AWARE (a volunteer, nonprofit organization), I have helped thousands of women learn to protect themselves from crimes ranging from minor harassment to serious assault. I am currently writing a book on safety for stalking victims. I have lectured at annual training meetings of the American Society of Law Enforcement Training, Women in Federal Law Enforcement, the International Women Police Association, the American Society of Criminology, and the American Women`s Self-Defense Association. In 1997, the American Tactical Shooting Association gave me their annual Tactical Advocate Award for teaching and writing.

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