“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”
Donald J. Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal
While many licensed private investigators come from a law enforcement background, they can come from any walk of life. Regardless, many licensed private investigators are first time business owners, who are more used to receiving a paycheck, than creating their own income stream. So, what do you need to do to build and grow your business?
As a licensed private investigator, you need to know what your knowledge and skills are worth. You are the professional. While there is a lot of information on the internet, you are the one that knows how to use open source intelligence and have professional resource sites to augment your research. You may also have staff, other private investigators, someone to run your office, or a bookkeeper. You may be paying rent on professional office space, or even if you work from home, there are expenses for office equipment, utilities, and those professional only resource sites cost money. Everything is part of your worth. If you didn’t have the knowledge and skills, as well as the overhead costs for running your business, you wouldn’t have all of the tools you need to do the most effective and efficient job for your client.
How do you determine your worth? What is your hourly rate? How did you arrive at that amount? Your rate should be calculated by your overhead costs, multiplied by three, based on the experience you bring the customer and the case. Don’t baffle them with bull! Do dazzle them with brilliant results.
The art of negotiation needs to start at the point of first contact. If someone has contacted you they realize that they need the help of a professional. For most, this is the first time they have ever called a licensed private investigator. So, how do you negotiate a fair price for you and the client? You need clear and precise answers about what the client needs and expects by using your professional services. First, you need to ask what their budget is. What do they hope to achieve? How can you help them achieve their goal? While you may use many of the same techniques or resources across cases, each client is different, and so is their situation.
Once you are armed with this knowledge, how do you use it to negotiate? You have to let the client know what you have to offer them. If it’s a potential adoption reunification case talk about your expertise with DNA and genetic genealogy.
If it’s a cheating spouse case, talk about the technology that you have available, that may make the difference in getting the proof they are seeking, for their own vindication or as potential evidence in a court case.
Vera Wang said, “When you have a passion for something then you tend not only to be better at it, but you work harder at it too.” Doing what you love and bringing passion and energy to your business and clients will contribute to the success of your business. Being a competent professional that is in the business to use their skills and knowledge to help clients is a HUGE part of your worth!