How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Private Investigation Business: With Companion CD-ROM


If you spent your childhood reading detective novels and thinking how amazing it would be to start your own, or if you just decided it is time to retire from your current job in the police, military, or other investigative agency and start your own company, the concept of owning and operating your own Private Investigation Business is probably very enticing. With a massive upside and potential for growth, the industry has been booming for years. With all self-employment opportunities up and private investigation ...

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If you spent your childhood reading detective novels and thinking how amazing it would be to start your own, or if you just decided it is time to retire from your current job in the police, military, or other investigative agency and start your own company, the concept of owning and operating your own Private Investigation Business is probably very enticing. With a massive upside and potential for growth, the industry has been booming for years. With all self-employment opportunities up and private investigation in particular up by more than 16% according to the IRS statistics on small businesses, now is the time to get into the industry.

This book was written for anyone who has looked at the idea of private investigation and decided that it would be ideal for them. You will learn everything you need to know about working in the private investigation field, starting with the basics of what you can expect and what preconceptions you may have that are just Hollywood fancy. You will learn how to choose a niche of investigation and how to start thinking in the abstract, questioning everything but recognizing facts for what they are. You will learn the key differences between a private investigator and a police officer and why those who want to be the latter should consider all their options before getting into private work. You will learn how to investigate a case and how to perform all of your necessary actions legally. Whether you will be operating out of your home or you are looking to buy or rent office space, this book can help you with a wealth of start-up information, from how to form and name your business to deciding if this will be a joint venture or if you would rather work solo.

Valuable information on forming a Partnership, LLC, Corporation, or becoming a Sole Proprietor, the four types of business formations, is included, and also the legal implications of each. This complete manual will arm you with everything you need, including sample business forms; contracts; worksheets and checklists for planning, opening, and running day-to-day operations; lists; plans and layouts; and dozens of other valuable, timesaving tools of the trade that no business owner should be without.

While providing detailed instruction and examples, the author leads you through every detail that will bring success. You will learn how to draw up a winning business plan (the companion CD-ROM has the actual business plan you can use in Microsoft Word) and about basic cost control systems, copyright and trademark issues, branding, management, legal concerns, sales and marketing techniques, and pricing formulas. You will learn how to hire and keep a qualified professional staff, meet IRS requirements, manage and train employees, generate high profile public relations and publicity, and implement low cost internal marketing ideas. You will learn how to build your business by using low and no cost ways to satisfy customers, and also ways to increase sales, have customers refer others to you, and thousands of excellent tips and useful guidelines. You will learn how to hire contractors to help you and which licenses and liability insurance you will need. You will learn which contracts and forms, including privacy agreements, you must have on hand and which business structure is best for you.

You will learn how to find clients and what tools you need, including the right camera and lenses. You will learn how modern computer equipment can accent your investigations and how to start using internet searches through public records, private databases and courthouse records to speed up the process. Learn how to perform background investigations, interviews, and surveillance and what the basics of each kind of investigation entails.   The companion CD-ROM is included with the print version of this book; however is not available for download with the electronic version.  It may be obtained separately by contacting Atlantic Publishing Group at

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice.  Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601383310
  • Publisher: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 347,294
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Determining Your Prospects in the Private Investigation Profession 17

Private Investigation: A Brief History 20

Private Investigation Today 21

Assessing Your Skills & Background 23

Learning About the Industry 28

Before You Open Your Business 33

Essential Factors to Success 35

National Research 36

Market Area Research 38

Starting from Scratch versus Buying a Franchise 41

Chapter 2 What it Takes to Become a Private Investigator 49

Developing Your Skills for Internship 51

Intern Progress Reports 53

Niches for Investigators without a License 57

Additional Training & Niches for Licensed Investigators 58

Chapter 3 What You Will Need to Open Your Business 69

Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business 82

Becoming a Small Business 83

Financial Avenues to Take 98

Lending Institutions 100

Joint Ventures 105

Federal Government 108

Writing a Loan Proposal 113

Professional Advisers 114

Trademarks 116

Fictitious Name Registration 118

Obtain an Employer Identification Number 119

Open a Bank Account 120

Secure an Accountant or Purchase Accounting Software 121

Get a Post Office Box 122

Permits and Licenses 122

Setting Up Your Office 124

Tools for Operating Your Business 127

Computers and Software 131

Setting Up Ledgers 138

Chapter 4 Finding Clients & Getting Paid 145

Web Site Design Fundamentals 146

Designing Your Logo 148

Domain Names 149

Search Engine Optimization-Explained 151

Marketing Your Business 152

Creating an Effective Brand 157

Using Social Media and Networking 159

Getting Paid 164

Secrets of Job Estimating 168

Price Strategy and Preparing Bids 169

Negotiating Contracts 171

Chapter 5 How to Investigate Different Cases 175

Investigating Infidelity & Divorce Cases 178

Conducting Background Checks 181

Investigating Personal Injury Cases 184

Investigating Malpractice Suits 188

Investigating Workers' Compensation & Insurance

Fraud Cases 189

Investigating Theft Cases 191

Bounty Hunting 192

Investigating Collection & Repossession Cases 193

Investigating a Missing Persons Case 194

Skip Tracing & Public Record Searches 195

Pretexting for Information 199

How to Spot a Bug or Wiretap 200

Chapter 6 Working a Case 205

Tailing the Subject 210

Counter-surveillance 216

Creating the Surveillance Log 217

Chapter 7 Maintaining Your Business, Avoiding Pitfalls, and Reaping Benefits 221

The Forms You Need 221

Taxes 223

Controlling Costs 224

Hiring Employees 225

Application of Federal Law to Employers 232

Creating an Ethical Environment 233

Deductions 235

Compensating Yourself 238

How Sudden Success Can Put You out of Business 240

Understanding Bankruptcy Laws 242

Chapter 8 Working with Law Firms & Enforcement Agencies 247

Chain of Custody 250

Working with the Police 253

Subpoena and Courtroom Testimony 255

Taking Depositions for Attorneys 257

The Work Product Rule 260

Chapter 9 Ethical & Legal Issues 263

Peeping Tom Law 268

Drivers Protection Privacy Act 268

Gramm-Leach Bliley Act 270

Knowing Your State and Local Laws 270

Liability 274

Types of Insurance 277

Ghostwriting 282

Chapter 10 Long-term Financial Goals for Your Business 285

Expanding Internationally 288

The Exit Plan 293

Leaving Your Business to a Family Member 295

Selling to Your Employees 295

Conclusion 299

Appendix A Checklists and Forms 301

Retainer Agreement 301

Itemization Checklist for Surveillance Operations 303

Surveillance Log 304

Sample Income Ledger for January 2010 305

Sample Expenditure Ledger for January 2010 305

Appendix B Additional Resources 307

Appendix C Glossary of Terms 311

Bibliography 317

Biography 327

Index 329

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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    Good info, shaky organization

    Working as a private investigator has a mysterious and exciting allure for many. However, there’s much more to the business than simply following people around and collecting money from clients. Author Michael J. Cavallaro hopes to enlighten, encourage, and prepare the would-be investigator with his latest book, “How to Open and Operate a Financially Successful Private Investigation Business”. “How to Open and Operate a Financially Successful Private Investigation Business” is a step by step guide on exactly what the title reflects – making it in the private investigations field. Are you the type of person that would excel in doing this type of work? Cavallaro drills his readers with plenty of questions to help them find those answers. Then he goes on to describe the type of training and certifications needed, how to set up a business in general, how to investigate a case, the different types of case possibilities, and much more. A CD-ROM is included and contains a ready-to-use business plan and plenty of helpful resource material. Despite containing a few editing mistakes, the book definitely has a great deal to offer the future investigator and it can be used as a starting point for beginners and a resource for the experienced. Even if you don’t know anything about the occupation and what it entails, Cavallaro lays it all out for anyone to follow. After reading it in its entirety, you could confidently decide if the field is right for you. Further, its business startup sections are applicable to almost any business, not just the public investigator. I’ve read several ‘how to start a business’ type books published by Atlantic Publishing Group and this section seems to be a standard inclusion. Not that this is a negative point – it’s just an observation. The information is extremely valuable and should be included. Simply, that if you’ve read one of their business start-up books, you’ll recognize the gist when you get to these sections. I did find the organization a bit jumpy though. The book begins with tackling the basics of what an investigator does as well as recommended training and certification steps. Afterwards, it moves into standard business startup guidelines and then back to nuances of the occupation. Next, we jump back to standard business practices and then back to investigation specific items. This bouncing between general business information and niche-focused details continues on through to the end of the book and makes following one particular line of thought more difficult. I would have liked to read *all* of what was expected of an investigator up front, starting at the beginning with training and certifications and on through cases, investigation practices, etc. The second half of the book could then consist of all the necessary general start up steps, detailing the business license, business plan, financial considerations, and on through taxes, employees, insurance, and more. Although the jumpy organization was a tad distracting, the book as a whole is a fantastic resource and a must-read for anyone looking to get started in the field. Reviewed by Vicki Landes, author of “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal”

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