Private Investigations and Personal Security/Type of Investigations To Pursue


Hello again Claude,

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 can only speak for myself and this is just my opinion. I love surveillance and I know that billable hours makes money. You can make money doing research, especially if you are good and have some really good clients. However, surveillance is used to get current information. It is easier for me to make money doing sub-contract surveillance cases when I don't have many clients, than it would be for me to make money doing sub-contract research type cases. Research is usually done by using the Internet & database providers. You can usually find the information you need for a client in 5 minutes to 3 hours. I usually do a surveillance from 8 to 12 hours per day for at least 2 days. If it is a domestic cases, I can even substantiate the use of more that 1 investigator to get the job done.
Nonetheless, you need to be a good researcher to do any investigation successfully. There are plenty surveillance investigators, but the best ones provide great research prior to any surveillance and or investigation.

Surveillance is not easier. It may appear easier. However, surveillance investigators have to be good at a lot of things. They need to be good researchers (to do background prior to surveillance), videographers (head on a swivel alertness,shoot steady video that tells a story), be an Undercover Narcotics Detective & 007 (be, patient, go undercover, never blow your cover, never be intimidated, have gadgets & equipment to make your job easier and better than the next PI), drive like a undercover Paramedic without mert (effectively follow/purse vehicles in all weather/road conditions), be an Actor/Actress/Sales person (be able to BS people to get information they shouldn't be given you), be a computer geek (if you're good, you'll spend a lot of time doing reports, so you better know your computer and it's programs), Time Management Skill (to manage all of your responsibilities including invoicing your clients) and be a relentless investigative reporter (have a never take no for an answer mentality and submit your report/facts/evidence ASAP-For the morning News LOL).

They are a lot of surveillance investigators, but few have all of this qualities rolled into one.

A good Researcher need to be computer geek, analytical, extremely thorough and a perfectionist. However, a good researcher/investigator will also have many other the above surveillance investigator characteristics.

Again, this is my opinion & experience. I consider myself very good in both areas, but I do far more surveillance for obvious reasons.

Take Care...

Best regards,  

Claude Ammons -QM

Claude Ammons-QM

Email addy.-

Alpha & Omega Foundation Enterprises Inc. DBA...

Corinthian Group/P.I. # 23070

517 N. Mountain Ave. # 118

Upland, Ca 91786

Toll Free # (877) OUR-EYEZ = 687-3939

Bus. # (909) 931-3595  Fax # (909) 923-7297

Member: N.C.I.S.S.

P.I.C.A.-2nd VP



Visit us at  

Private Investigations and Personal Security

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Claude Ammons


I enjoy answering questions relating to private & general investigations including but not limited to locates, skip tracing, surveillance, stalking, child custody, criminal defense, civil, corporate security/executive protection, workplace violence/threat assessments, personal security, security surveillance systems and GPS tracking/monitoring products & services. Specifically, I answer questions regarding state laws concerning private investigation practices, as well as the best practices & standard operating procedures used by most reputable private investigative firms. I can give you state & federal references when dealing with issues that may or may not be legal in your specific state. IE- Some states have laws which conflict with federal law such as California's "2 party law" for surreptitious audio recordings. I offer tips on how to identify the right investigative firm for your particular case and what type of questions that investigative firm should be asking you. QUICK TIP #1: NEVER hire a Private Investigative firm that is not concerned about providing you a written contract that specifically outlines the agreement and responsibilities of both parties!!! A written contract should be expected & demanded by both investigative firm and client 95% of the time. I have numerous resources and will point you in the right direction. Whether it is hiring an attorney, a specialist or offering tips on conducting LEGAL investigations & research yourself. I offer advise regarding the kind of info you can legally obtain, what's not legal for you to obtain and when you need to hire a professional to obtain the info on your behalf. Lastly, I have over 20 yrs of experience as a Security Professional/Consultant and 12+ yrs within the Investigative profession. As the 2009 President of a state Private Investigation Association, I have professional knowledge, experience & established resources that supply me with the most recent legislative issues & industry trends.


Corinthian Group experience includes but not limited to all areas of surveillance including Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud, Domestic Infidelity Cases, Computer Investigations & Forensics, Personal Injury & Automobile Liabilty, Loss Prevention, theft interviewing & interrogation techniques, Under Cover assignments, Stalking prevention & suppression, surveillance tactics & countermeasures and surveillance system & lighting consultation experience. Corinthian Group also has experience in security consultation & protective services to the corporate & private sector. These services include Bodyguard/Executive Protection, identity theft prevention, work place violence & volitale terminations, GPS tracking/monitoring services, TSCM/Debugging( Technical Surveillance Countermeasures) and security system products & diagramming experience.

2009 PICA President (Professional Investigators of California Association) NCISS (National Council of Investigations & Security Services)-Member CALI (California Association of Licensed Investigators)-Member SCFIA (Southern California Fraud Investigators Association)-Member WAD (World Association of Detectives)-Member

Publications Hellium: Blog: and my m

PSO (Security Course) Weaponless Defense Tai Karate & MMA training Wicklander & Zulawski-Interview & Interrogation Techniques Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST)-832 Level 3 CA State licensed Private Investigator-CA PI # 23070 Law Enforcement Training Center-Computer Investigations

Awards and Honors
Elected as the Association President of PICA in 2009. PICA was an Association that focused on legislative bills that would have a negative impact on our profession if passed at the state level... PICA was a member oriented association that was positioning itselt to provide its members with resources to help them successful grow and or sustain their businesses. Awarded for presentation of GPS Tracking devices. Honored for service as the 2009 PICA President and the 2008 & 2007 PICA 2nd Vice President respectively.

Past/Present Clients
SCRMA (Southern California Risk Management Associates), Markel Insurance Corporation, Imhoff & Associations (Nationwide Criminal Defense Law Firm). Private clients are Confidential!

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]