How much respect will you get as a private investigator?
There are going to be people who are fascinated by what you do. There are going to be who will like what you do and are intrigued by what you do but you’re not necessarily going to get a lot of respect.
Police officers, honestly, most of them are going to look at you like a wannabe cop.
And then the general population… I think people are intrigued by what we do and they like what we do. But speaking from a work perspective… if you go to serve process or you go to do an interview, how much respect do you think they’re going to give you? Not necessarily a lot. It always surprises me when they do.
Repo Case Study
When I’ve worked repossession cases, what I would do – because I was given the hardest of the hard, the toughest cases, the ones where the repo agent couldn’t find the vehicle – I would go and find the vehicle and then call the tow truck to come in and get the vehicle.
One time I did this on a guy who had a history of taking off fast, so when he went into a house for a few minutes, I disabled the car. When he came out of the house, he did manage to limp it down the road for little ways before the tow truck arrived.
When the hook arrived, I held my badge out of my car window and I point him over to the skip’s car. As the tow truck driver begins to hook-up the skip’s car, the skip gets upset about this.
So the tow truck driver points over to me and says, “Well there’s the private investigator right there.”
Somehow the tow truck driver felt that I had a certain amount of authority. The skip, oddly enough, must have picked up on that and was decent to me.
Let me point out here, there is a difference between respect and authority.
How much authority do you really have as a private investigator?
You’re going to have to convince people to talk to you. You’re going to have to convince people to give you information. And you can’t force it.
There are times when you do have more authority than the general population believes or understands. In the case of a repossession, I’m authorized by the true owner of the vehicle to take possession of it so I do have a considerable amount of legal authority.
But, generally, you don’t have any more authority than the average citizen, so often you’ll have to use your skills with people to get what you want rather then being a bully and pushing your way through based on your authority.
But going back to this idea of respect, how much respect will you be given?
A Real-World Example
Back when I used to teach the skills of private investigations in college classrooms (skip tracing, accident investigation, surveillance, etc.), where I fine-tuned the information I’ve now put into the Investigator’s Ultimate Guide Series, the admissions office called me on the phone. They said, “We read in this national magazine an article you wrote and we would love it if you would come and talk to our incoming class.”
You see they saw this article that I had written and that had been published in a national trade publication for private investigators. So they thought, “My goodness, here we have this nationally-recognized expert and he’s right here in our town! Let’s give him a call.”
I said, “I’d rather not. I don’t really want to come in for a day for that type of thing.” They said, “We’d really like to have you come in.” I said, “Try these other investigators. They’re good guys, they’re good speakers.” They say, “We’ve had those guys speak in the past. We’d really love if you’d come in and talk to our class.”
So reluctantly I agreed.
They said, “Oh great, do you know where we are?”
I said, “Yeah, you’re right down there off the expressway.”
“Oh you’ve heard of our institution?”
I said, “Yeah, I’m one of the professors out there.”
You could just hear the disappointment in her voice. “Oh, you’re just one of our professors.”
And there it is. When she saw me in the magazine and only knew me as a nationally-recognized expert, she was very excited. When I was an expert she read about, she was very excited to have me as a speaker. But when she found out I was “just” one of the professors she lost her enthusiasm. You know the old saying, “No prophet is welcome in his own town.” (Luke 4:24)
Of course she still wanted me to come in and speak, but her respect for me was greatly diminished. I was the same guy. Same private investigator. Same skill set. But now I wasn’t some hard to contact expert, I was “just” one of the professors. Go figure.
But this is a key element for you to understand when you try determine how much respect you’ll get as a private investigator.
There will be people who, when they see you at the height of your professionalism – and I’m talking about doing your job well, doing your job ethically – they’re going to look at you and say, “Wow, this P.I.! He/She really knows what he/she’s doing.” They’re going to have respect for you.
Other people? Your family? You’re still just going to be “dad” or “my brother” or “my sister”.
The people around you who know you, they’re not going to hold you in as high esteem as the people who have seen you work at your peak level.
So how much respect will you get? It varies on who you’re talking to and what they’ve seen from you. Hopefully, if they’ve seen you work at your peak performance, they’re going to have a great deal of respect for you.
By the way, that’s very good for business as well.
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it on the home page of my blog.