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 ShadowAnyone.com 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…
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.