If you’re a private investigator you know, it’s not uncommon to be working a surveillance case and to get a phone call from the client saying something’s changed at the last minute and they need you to stay out there, an extra hour (and sometimes it might be many more hours). Are you prepared when you get that call?
It’s Good Money
Let’s face it. A call like that can mean anywhere from an extra $85 to an extra $300 or more.
You don’t want to be in a position where you lack what you need to make that “extra” money.
If you follow what I teach, you probably have a minimum amount of time that do a surveillance for. You might, like me, have a three hour minimum. Because, let’s face it, you don’t want to run out someplace and just to set up for an hour on it then to have to leave. Even at $85 an hour, that’s more trouble than it’s worth!
With my 3 hour minimum, I used to joke, “I don’t answer the phone for less than $200.” Of course, I answered my phone all the time, but it was a cute thing to say that conveyed I wasn’t going to take cheap clients.
So, on a three hour minimum surveillance that’s extended by just one hour, going from three hours to four hours, that’s 33% more money than what you thought you were going to make! That’s not an insignificant amount of “extra” money to make.
But can you do it?
When you get that phone call, or when circumstances change and you find yourself having to go long, make sure you’re prepared. Here’s my list of things today to have in your surveillance vehicle that will allow you to go that extra mile.
1. Waste Container
This is going to be the first, most urgent, and most non-negotiable thing that would force you to end your surveillance early.
Again, when it’s a surprise that you’re doing surveillance longer than planed, it’s not as if you had a chance to moderate your water intake or prepare for going a long haul. Having a bottle for waste collection is important. ‘Nuff said.
2. Drinking Water
Have plenty to drink in your vehicle. Extra bottles of water.
This is not something that is going to immediately cause you to have to end a surveillance, but it’s one of those things that can become extremely uncomfortable, and depending on the weather and the heat, it can be dangerous not to have enough!
Having food is much less important water, but why suffer?
The thirst will drive you off of that surveillance from a safety and danger point of view before the hunger will. You can go much longer without eating than you think. But, having extra food in your vehicle is very helpful.
Moreover, have a quiet food. If you have bags of chips, they’ll make you extra thirsty, which means you’re consuming more water, which means you’re filling up your waste containers more quickly. However a bag of chips is also a noisy snack. You want a quiet food you’ll be able to eat without having to worry about drawing attention to yourself from people walking by on the sidewalk or nearby dogs.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got anything in your vehicle, including a cooling fan, that’s noisy enough you’re reluctant to use it, then you won’t use it. That’s the same as not having it!
Have some kind of audio. Books on tape, podcast or the radio.
This one isn’t a deal breaker. You can go all night with nothing to listen to, but it makes the surveillance much, much easier if you have something to feed your brain. Something that you’re enjoying.
Obviously, you cannot read. Looking away from what you should be focusing on is bad news. It’s going to cost you. Do not be playing on your phone. Aside from the light it gives off, especially at night, a phone is a distraction. You simply can’t do surveillance well while you’re playing on your phone. Period.
5. Toilet Paper
Have some toilet paper in your vehicle. If you have to use it, you’re in pretty bad shape. But, if you have to use it and you don’t have it… well… one guy I know came home without a sock once.
Toilet paper does have some auxiliary uses aside from the obvious, including if your windows are fogging up it might give you a clean dry thing to wipe the inside with. And if you cut yourself, it can act as a temporary bandage or used to stop a little bit of small bleeding you might get, but a roll of toilet paper can go a long way towards allowing you to continue your surveillance.
The Most Important Thing: Power
The most important thing you need to have in your surveillance vehicle to continue a surveillance is a power source.
If the battery on your camera dies, then you’re done with surveillance. You’re not able to take any more video.
You need to have some auxiliary or back-up power source.
That might be an inverter you plug into a cigarette lighter to run to power your camera. Maybe your camera can be run or powered off of some different type of adapter that goes directly into the cigarette lighter. Maybe you have an extra battery pack your surveillance vehicle like I teach in The Investigator’s Ultimate Guide to Surveillance.
But, have some source of power. If you run out of power, you are off the surveillance. It’s over.
Make sure you have plenty of digital media.
If you’re running a surveillance where you’re recording, say a house covering the front door and the garage because hen the door opens and they step out, you don’t want to be reaching for your camera trying to press record. Maybe you have your camera recording constantly.
If you want to capture every moment, you’ll burn through a lot of digital media. You might find yourself burning through a few hours of digital media before that person comes out. So, the most important thing is power, and the thing is to make sure you have plenty of digital media to capture what you need so your case will be a success.
Do you have anything you want to add to the list? Leave a comment!
If you like this helpful list, 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. If not, you can get it right here…
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.