How to become a Private Investigator: The First, Must-Do 2 Steps!

The first two steps you must take (everyone does) to be a Private Investigator are first, find out what agency in your state licenses private investigators then second, find out what the requirements in your state are to get your license.

1. Find out what agency in your state issues Private Investigator Licenses.

This agency is usually at the state level. It’s usually the same agency that issues license for security guard providers.

Don’t miss the fact that the agency may have a very bland, boring name. Sure some states have a Division of Homeland Security who will issue the license, but in some places it might be The Department of Commerce.

2. Find out what that agency (the state) requires to get your license.

This is usually written out in state law and it can change over time (as laws do).

The license issuing agency may have a website or brochure that explains, in simple terms, what the requirements are, but reading them directly from your state’s statutes is pretty darn helpful as well.

Usually there is an experience requirement, a test and a background check.


Finally, do NOT trust what people tell you online in forums, comments or elsewhere! They may be right at the moment they post the response, but I see a ton (a TON!) of wrong or out-of-date information online!

Should you even try to be a PI?

If it’s “in your blood”, then maybe you should look into it by following the two steps I suggested here. Also… don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. If not, you can get it right here…

Get Instant Access to Your FREE Private Investigator Report!

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Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

How to get testimonials for your private investigator business.

Private Investigator Marketing real-world example.

This week I want to share with you how to get testimonials for marketing your private investigator business.

Note: Here’s where you can see my video about getting testimonials.
You cannot have too many testimonials for your business.
You cannot have too many people saying how great you are and how much you helped them.

In today’s world, that’s done with thumps-up, smiley faces, hearts, bells, or whatever the thing is now that’s going around on social media.

Lat’s face it, people look at reviews, “likes” and other “social proof”. And there’s something to be said for that, however… those things can be gamed.

People can buy likes, hearts, smiley faces, and all those other magic stickers that social media use to demonstrate validity. Those things can be (and are!) gamed. But, that only goes increases the value of actual, real testimonials!


Of course, testimonials can be fake. Testimonials can be lies. We know that. But if they are… That’s a crime!

If you’ve got extra hearts, stars, or thumps-up on your social media post, that may not be necessarily against the law, but faking testimonials, lying and having testimonials that aren’t real, is illegal. That will jam you up!

So, while criminals, scammers and rip-offs will fake testimonials, most legitimate businesses will shy away from those outright lies. That outright criminal act.

Here’s an interesting little thing you may not know…

There’s a lot of scam investment companies that will cold call or spam their marks for the initial contact. But, here’s a giveaway, an interesting thing. When they begin to send paper work out, they’ll send them out by FedEx or UPS overnight anything to you in order to get your money, but they will not mail it to you through the US Postal Service. Why is this?

They don’t want to commit US postal fraud!

They know, if they mail a hundred letters to people asking for money for something illegal, they’ve just committed a hundred counts of mail fraud – simply by mailing the letters! And it’s very easy to prove it!

And that’s where they’re going to get jammed up. They know they can send the exact same stuff through FedEx, and the postal service – this giant federal agency with armed officers with arrest authority – those guys, their investigators, will never look twice at them!

Sure, they may have other three letter agencies we’ve got to worry about, like the Federal Trade Commission, but the FTC is overwhelmed. However, if the U.S. Postal Service gets one of these scam letters submitted from just one citizen… well, that’s solid physical evidence of a federal offense!

So the rip-off “companies” will not send anything by US Postal Mail.

Likewise, I think a lot of people are more reluctant to fake testimonials because that will get you jammed up way more than fake smiley faces and thumps-up on social media.

So testimonials have greater value than social media “likes”. You can never have too many testimonials.

How to get testimonials.

Now, the tricky thing… How do you get testimonials for your website and marketing materials? Let me suggest two basic methods.

1. Ask for them.

Number one, you can ask. Right after you satisfy a client, once they’re happy, you can ask them to do you a favor. Ask them to text it to you or to post something on social media or whatever.

Of course, in our business, there’s a lot of cheating spouses victims and other types of victims who are embarrassed by that. They might not be willing to go on social media and expose their problem (even though the solution they found may help others). I totally understand and respect that! But, this makes our little world of getting testimonials much more difficult.

But, you can ask them to send you a text or write a letter and say something nice about you or your service. And you can ask them, “Hey, can I use that as a testimonial?” You don’t have to use there full name! You can just put ‘Adam B.’ and whatever quotation he gives you. Or maybe, “Sandra S.” and whatever testimonial she gives you. Use that.

Personally, I keep all of my testimonials anonymous unless I have specific permission to use their name or company name.

So, The first way to get testimonials is to just plain ask for them. That’s especially true when you’re first starting out.

2. Freewill Testimonials

What you’re going to find, over time, is these testimonials just sort of come to you naturally.

This is what I have discovered over the years and didn’t expect it but I’m really appreciative of them!

People contact me all the time. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t hear from somebody who’s over-the-top happy about the courses I sold them!

They contact me, they send me feedback or they send me email and they say very kind things.

The Downside, (kinda’)…

However, to me, it is super awkward.

Look, if you’re online at all, you know about trolls and haters. At first, that may aggravate you and bother you. You may say to yourself, “Oh, I’ve got to explain to this person why they’re so ignorant.” Forget about it. Just ignore trolls and haters.

They don’t bother me at all, and the funny thing is, I don’t know why they don’t. it’s just funny to me more than anything.

Personal Note:
If I stop and reflect on it to long it’s actually very sad because… “Hurt people, hurt people.” There are a lot of trolls who are broken and hurting so they lash out. It’s sad really.

But, now that I’ve been online for over six years teaching and helping, I do get those very sincere emails and they say very deep things. I get people who I had no idea were following me for years and they’ll say, “When I was starting out, you helped with this this and this. I learned these things from you. Now, I’ve got my own detective agency. You’ve changed my life.” People say that to me! They send me emails like that! That’s heavy! That’s a responsibility. That scares me more than trolls who hate me. I don’t care about the trolls. But to be reminded that what I say and do changes lives… That’s a heavy responsibility.

So, I want to remind you as you do job as an investigator, we are changing lives. You are changing lives!

People will lose custody of their kids, not because of anything we do, but because of the evidence that we bring forward. They lose custody because they’re a crackhead and they leave their kid unattended a hot car while they go to buy dope.

If we’re not there doing our jobs, that evidence doesn’t get brought forward. People’s lives change because of what we do.

Businesses are able to get a fair shake when they get hustled in a contract. When we collect the evidence for them to get their money back, they can keep their doors open employing workers and spending money in the community to help other businesses as well! We are 100% changing lives. And that’s a very heavy thing.

And when I get emails and messages from people who tell me that, wow. It’s a real wake-up call for me, but it’s also powerful testimonial.

Again, with total privacy and anonymity, I can use these little quotes to help build trust with potential new clients who I can then help with their problems!

When they can see one, after another, after another of testimonials of people who’ve been satisfied with things that I sold them, that’s very powerful. You can use this same strategy.

So, keep your ears open when you get a kind note from someone or something pleasant is posted about you online. Take a little snippet of that. Save it in a document of some sort in a folder on your computer labeled “Testimonials”. Then you can go there anytime you want and pick out testimonials for when you’re releasing a new product, a new service or doing some promotional thing


1. You can ask for testimonials and get them.

2. People will voluntarily say nice things about you. You get those as testimonials.

3. Keep your testimonials in a place where you can find them when you need them.

If you like these helpful tips, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

Get Instant Access to Your FREE Private Investigator Report!

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Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

How to start your own Private Detective Agency.

If you’ve got your Private Investigator License (or are about to get it) then let me share with you three must know things as someone who’s been-there-and-done-that about how to open your detective agency making money skip tracing, doing background checks, surveillance, process serving and all the rest!

1. Think about REAL numbers.

The first thing you need to do, is think about real numbers. The real number of clients you can get. The real number of what you can charge per hour, or per service. The real number of how many hours of surveillance you think you’ll be working. The real number of skip traces you’ll do. Etcetera!

What is a realistic number of sales you’re going to make?

Got that number in mind?

Okay. Now lower it.

And lower it again.

You will UNDOUBTABLY be doing less paid work than you think you will. Base your finances on that realistic number.

Side note: About scam, rip-off business opportunity websites and “businesses”.

There are people out there that are running scams and hustles trying to sell what are called “business opportunities” or “Biz Ops”.

Usually it’s teaching you to sell something like “Scented Candle of the Month” subscriptions online.

They tell you if you buy their program for just $47 a month or $97 a month (or whatever) they will put up the website for you. They have the articles and blog post and the sales letters and all the images and photography and headlines.

You just pay $97 a month to do all the “work”and all you’ve got to do is just drive customers to “your” website. Very interesting.

They’ll tell you… If you generate just one sale a day, at thirty bucks per sented candel subscriber you’re going to be making $900 a month! Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

And if you just generate two sales a day, that’s $1,800 a month. And, my goodness, all you gotta do is generate ten sales a day to be making. $9,000 each and every month!


These are ridiculous numbers! You will NEVER get ten sales a day.

You won’t get two sales a day.

You. Will. Not. Make. One sale a day. Ever. Not on their “done for you” website scam!

They’re selling a subscription service to their website. Not candles.

They’re not even, doing what they’re, promising to teach you!

I get that it’s attractive. I get that it’s fun to imagine the money pouring in for doing nothing. But you can’t afford to fool yourself with these fake sales numbers when you’re starting your detective agency.

Back to your detective agency…

You need to look at real numbers. You’re not going to do a background check every day. You’re not going to be doing a surveillance every day. Whatever numbers you think you’ll be doing, you’ve got to scale them way back.

When you first open for business, you will have, essentially no money coming in. Not for a while.

2. Set a realistic budget.

The second thing, that I want you to do is to set a realistic budget. What is it actually (really!) going to cost you, just to keep your business open.

There are real numbers you have to pay to keep your website up and running every month. You have to pay to keep your cell phone up and running. You need to pay for internet access and subscription database services. You gotta pay for insurance just to have a private investigator’s license!

It’s going to cost you X number of dollars each and every month just to say you can take cases as a private investigator. And it cost you that whether or not you get any clients!

And make that a realistic number. Don’t say, “Well if I cut back on my morning coffee and eat ramen noodles three days a week then I can get by, with three hundred dollars a month.” Do the math for real. if it’s going to cost you five hundred bucks a month just to stay open… then it’s going to cost you five hundred bucks a month just to stay open you better be prepared for that.

Pro Tip: The X Factor

In fact I would say be prepared for whatever realistic number you have plus “The X Factor”.

Because eventually, the water pump on your surveillance van is gonna go out. (For me it happened on the way to a surveillance! Meaning I had to pay for a new water pump and I lost the income form the surveillance!)

If it’s not the water pump it’s gonna be something else. Something you’re not expecting and you’re going to need that little bit of extra money just to keep going.
So, that’s number two, get a realistic budget of what you actually need to be bringing in – of what it’s going to cost you every month just to keep, your doors open.

3. Learn Marketing!

The number three thing is marketing. I’ve preached on this so many times so you probably know, I’m not talking about advertising and spending money.

But maybe, for you, part of your marketing is writing articles on your blog. (That’s essentially free by the way!)

Maybe you’re going to write an article every week like I do and have done for over six years. That quickly adds up to an impressive resource for any potential clients!

Note Well: Here at you can key word search whatever you’re interested in and you will find good, trustworthy information on your topic of interest from the hundreds of articles I’ve written! Whether you’re interested in learning about private investigations or process serving, handcuffs, skip tracing or whatever – it’s in there!

But you need to be producing information like that and then promoting it.

Be careful because… Writing articles is great, and you can write six articles that first week and that’s phenomenal but, I would caution you a little… Maye you only need to write 3 articles that first week and then promoting them!

If you write six articles and they just sit on your blog and nobody goes there, that’s not super helpful.

If you write one article and you promote it on social media, or however you like to get the word out… Now that article can generate a little bit of traffic to your website.

Help people and be a resource to them. Then when they’re ready to purchase, they will come to you.

For Example: Don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

Get Instant Access to Your FREE Private Investigator Report!

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BONUS: Should you fear competition?

What I’m about to share with you is critically important. Should you fear competition as a private investigator?

No. Not at all.

Why not? Well, remember those articles you’re writing? Potential clients are learning to “know, like and trust you”. Then when they’re ready to make a purchase your services, they’re going to reach out to you rather than the other guy.

People buy from people, that they know like and trust. So you don’t need to fear competition.

The idea is they’re going to people develop kind of a relationship with you. I don’t care if there’s six other investigators in your town or twelve or twenty! I don’t care about that. Heck, let them advertise. Let them spend the money to raise awareness. And then when people start to look around, they’ll find you, and know you and like you and trust you.

So don’t fear competition. Actually, you should be worried if there’s no competition!

If you’re doing something that nobody else is doing, it may be because some people have thought of that already and failed every time!

I would explain it like this… if you think you’ve got a system that can beat the casinos, here’s my thought for you. Call the casinos, tell them who you are and give them your address. They will send a stretch limo for free to come pick you up and drive you to their casino, because they know there is no way you got a system that’s going to beat them they’re going to over time. They will pick your wallet clean! Millions of people have tried to beat the house and they fail every time. Your “new” idea ain’t gonna work.

Likewise if you’ve got a business idea or strategy you think is going to work, because nobody else is doing it…. Well, you’ve got to wonder if it’s been tried before and people have failed at it before because it’s unworkable!

But if there’s competition – if there are other private investigators in your town and they’re making a living at it – okay! It’s proven, this can be done, now it’s your turn to do it.

I want to end by saying, very definitively, you can totally succeed at this if you’ve got the right mental attitude, the right knowledge, the right skill-set and you follow, the pattern of the people who’ve gone before you who’ve been there and done that. At least listen to what they say and evaluate it.

Base your decision on good solid numbers, generate some resources (articles and whatnot), be genuinely helpful for people, and then when they need to hire you they will come to you. Give it some time. It definitely takes time, but this is totally doable.

Just some things to think about as you build and grow your detective agency.

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

How to be a real Private Investigator when online tools fail!

When social media skip tracing, online OSINT and internet background check tools fail you (and they eventually will), can you go into the real world and pull court records, pretext sources and conduct face-to-face interviews and investigations like a real Private Investigator?

In this week’s Private Investigator training video I discuss (and rant) about getting out from behind your computer and using sources and methods other private detectives don’t know how to use, don’t now exist or are afraid to use!

This will set you apart from other investigators, give you success when they fail and bring you the extra (and bigger!) paydays they simply cannot earn.

If you don’t know these sources and methods, be sure to check out my book 51 Weird Private Investigator Tricks That Actually Work: How to Trick, Track, Find and Follow Someone Like a Pro.

Remember to always use all sources and methods, legally and ethically!

As I say every week… Do the right thing even if it’s the hard thing!

If you like these helpful tips, then don’t miss out on my free special report If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

Get Instant Access to Your FREE Private Investigator Report!

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Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

Private Investigator Podcast Episode 6 now available.

My Private Investigator Podcast Episode 6 is now available and in it I discuss 12 pet peeves of private investigators, loss prevention officers, process servers and security guards.

Well… at least these are 12 of my pet peeves based on my 20+ years in the industry.

The good news is I had to kinda’ stretch to come up with twelve! That means, while you may have different peeves, I really don’t think there’s all that much to dislike about our jobs!

Let me know what you think!

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
and Best Selling Author

P.S. – This episode isn’t so you can go to work cranky and complain about everything. No! It’s to prepare you for the rough spots so you can plan you strategy on how to handle them with grace and professionalism! Be a Pro. Be a Class Act!