How to Choose the Right Private Investigator for Your Needs

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Marleny Hucks
Marleny Hucks
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

When faced with challenging issues, hiring a private investigator can be crucial to finding answers and solutions to your problem. However, this process can be confusing and time-consuming, especially if you need help figuring out where to start. There are a few factors you need to consider, and this article will break down the key considerations you need to implement when choosing the right one: 

Define Your Needs 

Identifying your specific requirements can help you narrow the research to private investigators dealing with specific cases like yours. Some of the areas of specialization of private investigators include: 

  • Legal investigations
  • Background checks
  • Missing persons and skip tracing
  • Cyber investigations and digital forensics 
  • Surveillance
  • Insurance and compensation investigations


Once you have identified your needs, verify the credentials the respective private investigators have to recognize their level of expertise in your case. Ensure they have met the standards required in the state by being licensed and having ethical guidelines. You can do so by confirming with your state licensing board. Research any disciplinary complaint or case that has been filed against them. Ask if they are affiliated with industry associations such as NALI or NAPBS. 


It helps to choose private investigators with a good record to find your solution within a shorter period of time. For example, choosing a private investigator with local experience is crucial if you are in Myrtle Beach, SC. According to the team behind Stillinger Investigations, they will understand the local landscape well. They will also have a comprehensive network to help them mobilize local assets to enhance the investigation capabilities beyond conventional means.

Reputation and References 

Look for a qualified private investigator with a sound reputation and positive feedback from former clients. You can always check their former client testimonials, reviews, and references. The other places you could also look are online platforms such as Yelp, Google, and social media forums. Positive reviews can give you confidence, while too many negative comments are red flags that should be taken seriously. It’s best to avoid investigators with too many negative reviews.

Consult in Person 

Before making your final decision:

  • Schedule a personal meeting with the investigators. This will enable you to judge their communication style and attitude and how well they understand your case.
  • Inquire about their preferred methods of investigation, resources, and timeframe.
  • Observe with their willingness to address your concerns.

Trust your instinct about how you feel about them and act accordingly. 

Cost and Contract 

Get a budget and try to align it with your preferred investigator. Although price shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, it’s important because it helps one clearly understand how much this investigator charges. In addition, factor in any extra fee that is covered for the whole process, such as random check-ins. You have to go through all the terms indicated before you can sign any document or agreement. Mainly, this revolves around payment terms, confidentiality agreements, and the scope of work. Seek clarifications in case something is not clear. 

Hiring the right private investigator might entail a lot of research and patience. However, the above tips make it easier to make a good choice. It will help you find the perfect investigator to best serve your needs, ethics, and budget.

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