The  following questions are asked often enough to warrant inclusion on this FAQs
    page.  A few questions are never asked, but were included here so as to allow us the
    opportunity to address certain issues.  The questions and answers are in no particular
    order, and cover a variety of investigative services.  Not all of them are likely to be
    relevant to you and your particular needs.  The list is, by no means, complete.  

    Please keep in mind that the answers to the questions convey company policy at the time
    of writing.  While we strive to keep this site updated, our policies are subject to change
    without notice.  If an issue is of particular concern to you, please raise it during the
    consultation to ensure that our current policy doesn't differ from the answer given here.  
    In all probability, it won't.

    I’d like to set up a time for a consultation; when can we meet?

    With few exceptions, the initial free consultation with a prospective client is conducted by telephone.  This allows us
    to quickly ascertain whether or not we’ll be able to assist you with your case needs.  If we feel that we're unable to
    assist you, we'll likely direct you to a qualified and experienced professional who can.  

    We offer in-person consultations, for a fee, to those interested in discussing their situation face to face.  You may call
    us to schedule a time to meet.

    Can I call you from a "blocked line" – will you answer calls marked "private"?

    Due to the sheer number of tele-marketers hiding behind blocked calls these days, we no longer accept calls marked
    either  "blocked", "withheld" or "private".

    We do respect your privacy.  We do not record the numbers that show up on our caller ID, nor do we ever return a
    call to a number unless specifically authorized to do so by the caller.

    If your number is blocked, you can temporarily unblock it by pressing *82 before dialing our number.

    Still - Do I have to tell you who I am when I call?

    No, we allow potential clientele to remain anonymous during the initial telephone consultation.  However, we may ask
    you for your first name.  

    Do I have to give you any specific information regarding the case when I first call you?

    No.  We will not ask for subject names, addresses, or places of employment.  However, we will ask for you to describe
    your relationship to the subject (i.e. "my wife", "my employee" etc.), where in the metro (i.e. "Bloomington", "Blaine",
    etc.) or state the subject resides or works, and type of employment and work schedule if we feel it's relevant.  These
    latter questions and answers will allow us to more accurately assess your case, and you should be prepared to
    answer them candidly.

    Is this legal – can I get in any trouble for hiring you?

    If we don’t believe that it’s legal, we won’t take the case.  

    Some investigators will violate laws out of sheer ignorance (most won’t do so intentionally); their misconduct may
    expose you to civil liability or criminal charges.  Be confident in who you hire.

    Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

    Yes.  We greatly exceed the licensing and insurance requirements as set forth by Minnesota state statutes.  You may
    verify this through the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services.  

    WARNING:  Some unlicensed individuals and companies actively solicit work in this area.  Neither the yellow pages
    directories, nor on-line hosting companies, require proof of licensure before placing an advertisement or hosting a
    website that offers private detective services.  We suggest that you be extremely wary of agencies outside the state
    of Minnesota that profess to have agents of theirs working here – very few of these companies have the license
    required to solicit investigative services here.  

    Can I get some references?

    We have done work for some of the leading lawyers and largest law firms in the area; “mom and pop” businesses,
    fortune 500 companies, and fortune 100 companies; county, state and federal government agencies; as well as
    private parties.  Our clientele expect and demand confidentiality, and we are obligated to respect that confidentiality
    by law.  In short, we do not violate client confidentiality to provide references.  However, you are encouraged to visit
    our "Testimonials" page to see how others have felt about using our services.

    We encourage people to confirm the licensure status of any detective agency they’re considering hiring with the
    state.  You might also consider checking with the Better Business Bureau for a history of complaints.

    Do you require that I have an attorney before accepting the case?

    No.  Provided that we believe that the objectives and means of the investigation and / or surveillance are both legal
    and ethical – we do not require that you have an attorney.  This is a major difference between our company and many
    other agencies who refuse to work for private parties.  Of course, we encourage you to seek legal advice from a
    competent attorney whenever necessary.

    I have an attorney; will you work with him on my case?

    Yes. You must identify your attorney, and inform us of his or her interest in speaking with us, prior to their contacting
    us.  Without doing so, we will not acknowledge having a client by your name.

    If your findings are helpful to my case, are you willing to testify in court?

    Yes.  We have been called upon to testify on many occasions.    

    Do I get a report, or something, telling me what happened – how do I know what occurred?

    Clients are provided with a written narrative report either postmarked
    (if mailed), as a PDF document via email, or via fax within 7 business days
    (usually much sooner) of the completion of the case.

    Some clients prefer NOT to receive a written report regarding our findings;
    as such, no written report will be prepared or sent without your expressed

    That sounds like a long time to wait to find out what
    happened – can’t I find out sooner?

    Yes.  The report is simply the finished work product.  We provide our
    clients with verbal updates while we’re working the case.  In fact, we
    prefer that our clients are partners of ours in the investigation – that
    they’re available to speak with us while we’re out there working on their
    behalf.  No client of ours has ever received a report from us without our
    having already spoken to them about the findings.

    Do you take pictures?

    We use a variety of formats to document evidence  as deemed appropriate for the situation and evidentiary needs of
    the client.  We rely on a combination of both video and digital still photography when conducting surveillance work.  
    As of the time of this writing, our video is recorded primarily in digital format.  

    Still images are frequently captured from the video images and are oftentimes either e-mailed to our clients in a jpg
    format, or are incorporated into the final written report, or both.

    Can you get videotape, or take pictures, inside of places like restaurants and bars without
    getting caught?

    We have multiple body-worn (i.e. covert / hidden) video systems at our disposal should the subject of the
    investigation enter an establishment and there’s a need to document the activity therein.  

    There are more than a few investigators that do not have this equipment; they will either report how long the subject
    remained inside (without any indication as to what occurred therein), or will enter the establishment to observe
    activity for the sake of their report, but be unable to document it.  

    Do I get a copy of the videotape when you’re done?

    Yes – our clients are provided a copy of the videotape in DVD format.  The
    DVDs are formatted to play on either your consumer
    grade DVD player or your computer using various Windows based programs
    such as Windows Media Player, Power  DVD,  etc.   

    The original recording, like photographs, remains the property of the

    I've noticed that people shown in the images on this
    website are unidentifiable; can I assume that you’ll do a
    better job of getting videotape for me?

    The images contained on this website, most of which are stills taken from video recordings, are not part of a “best of
    collection of ours.  They were chosen for inclusion on this web site specifically
    because the subjects are unidentifiable.  In some cases, we’ve found i
    t necessary to further reduce image quality so as to increase downloading speed and to protect the identity of the
    individual shown.  All images were taken by, and belong to, Blue Heron Investigations; none are commercially
    available stock photographs.

    Some aspects of my case will involve acquiring information outside the state of Minnesota;
    will you be able to help?

    Yes.  We have a network of detectives to call upon – not only nationally, but internationally as well.  We can assist you
    with your case needs outside the state of Minnesota provided that the case originates here.  We do not offer
    investigative services where neither the client nor the subject is associated with Minnesota in some capacity.

    What are some of the primary differences between Blue Heron Investigations and some of the

    1)        We are locally owned and operated.  We are not a national firm that proclaims to have agents  

    2)        When we need assistance on a case, we call upon other licensed detectives who have
              extensive experience.  We do not employ, or train, unlicensed personnel to work your case.

    3)        We offer personalized service.  We work one on one with our clients.  You are a person to us,
              not a case number.  

    4)        We are committed to the profession – it is all that we do.  We do not provide investigative        
              services around our “regular job”, and there is nobody working here that is supplementing
              his or her pension income.

    5)        We are a detective agency, not a security guard company that dabbles in investigations on
              the side.

    What else should I consider when comparing private detective agencies?

    We understand that you may be interested in consulting with more than one private detective in your quest to find
    someone you can trust to help you.  For your convenience, we've prepared a checklist for you to use when
    comparing Minnesota private investigators.

    What’s your schedule looking like – when can you work this?

    Because of the nature of our work, our schedule changes daily – sometimes hourly.  Even if we were to tell you on
    Tuesday afternoon that our Thursday evening is open, that may change within minutes of ending our consultation
    with you.  We cannot schedule services, or keep dates open, for prospective clientele until a retainer or scheduling
    deposit is paid.  The best way to ensure speedy service is to retain our services as soon as you’ve decided to move
    forward with assigning the case.

    In general, our in depth background checks begin within a day or two of accepting the case and a
    re finished within the week.  Surveillance is usually scheduled a week out,  and skip tracing (locating missing people)
    are begun, but not finished, within 24 hours of accepting the assignment.  These are general guidelines only.  

    We don’t recommend that you equate “speedy service” with competence.  There are investigators who have nothing
    to do – they can work your case immediately; we’d ask, “Why don’t they have anything to do?”  Other agencies employ
    unlicensed “investigator trainees” that are usually available to do the job.  In this latter case, wed ask, “Do I want my
    case worked by somebody’s unlicensed, inexperienced, “investigator trainee”?”

    If I hire you to do surveillance – do you just work it when you want, or do I have some say in it?

    Virtually all surveillance needs to be conducted when the time is right to conduct it – not when it conveniently fits the
    investigator's schedule.  We work with our clients to formulate a "plan of action" that all can agree is likely to be

    Other cases, like background checks or missing persons cases, are worked when and how we deem it appropriate to
    work them.

    What is an “investigator trainee?”

    It’s a term that some investigators use to describe the inexperienced, unlicensed, employees of other agencies. It is
    not intended to be a derogatory term; we all have to learn new skills sometime.  These "investigator trainees" are
    usually the ones to work cases at undesirable times - they are the ones out there working cases at 2:00 a.m., on
    weekends, or throughout the night - not the guy you spoke to on the telephone who impressed you with his

    Blue Heron Investigations does not employ unlicensed investigators learning the trade.

    What is your minimum retainer?

    We don’t have minimum retainers.  Our retainers are based on projected costs of your particular case, whether it be
    $75.00 or $7,500.00.  The smallest retainer we've ever accepted was for less than $50.00.

    Be aware that some detectives have been known to quote clients low retainer amounts as a means of acquiring the
    case, despite the fact that their own hourly rates and billing practices will not allow for them to meet their clients'
    objectives within the constraints of the retainer.  These agencies will then either pull off the case prematurely, or
    require additional payment from you to continue (sometimes while in the middle of a surveillance); we consider this a
    deceptive practice.  Our retainers are based on projected costs to get the job done; we'd suggest that you compare
    projected costs, not retainers, when comparing agencies.

    Do you guarantee results?

    We wish we could, but the nature of investigative work is such that we cannot offer a guarantee except to make a
    serious effort toward meeting your stated objectives.  We do this by employing procedures either known or believed
    to have a high probability of success.  

    If you find another agency offering guaranteed results, you'll probably find an asterisk next to the guarantee directing
    you to the disclaimers.

    What if I hire you, but you don’t find anything – Do I still have to pay?

    Yes.  When you hire a detective agency, you are paying for the time spent on your behalf – not for specific answers.  F
    or example – while you may believe that your husband is having an affair, that doesn't make it so.  We have no control
    over his activities while under surveillance.  The same may be true for a background check; while you may retain our s
    ervices to check for criminal convictions and civil matters pertaining to an individual, there is no guarantee that a
    record exists.  Most of our clients do not feel cheated that they paid for a service but did not “get the goods.”  To
    them, they got what they paid for – answers to their questions (i.e., no affair, no criminal or civil records, etc.)

    I shopped around and found that you’re not the lowest priced PI firm in town.  Do you have a
    price match guarantee?

    The best service provider is rarely the one with the lowest price.  While our own research indicates that our prices
    are exceptionally fair, given our experience and the services we provide, you may find that we are not the lowest
    priced detective agency in town; we don’t strive to be.  We’d rather offer a better service, and be better equipped to
    do the job, than offer a low price guarantee or senior citizen discount.  If price is your only consideration in choosing
    a detective agency, then we may not be the agency that’s suitable for you.

    Some agencies, recognizing that cost is an overriding (or sole) concern of certain clientele, reduce their hourly rates
    to what they feel is the lowest possible; some then turn around and “nickel and dime” the client elsewhere.  We are
    even aware of an investigator who offers pro-bono (free) services, for certain clientele, if they will only agree to pay
    for “expenses.”  This investigator apparently does quite well, financially speaking, by increasing the actual costs of
    the expenses.  We are also aware of detectives who've been accused of not performing services that they've billed
    their clients for; we are unable to compete with these companies on the basis of price alone, without lowering
    ourselves to their lack of standards & ethics.

    Ask the private detective, “How much will this cost in the end?” or “What else are you likely to bill me for beyond the
    hourly rate?” and then compare the projected costs with the experience, professionalism and service that the
    detective agency is offering.

    How do you charge?  Is it by the hour plus expenses, or is it a flat fee?

    Unlike most agencies that charge by either one of the two methods you mentioned, Blue Heron Investigations offers
    its clientele the option of being billed by their preferred method (i.e. flat rate or itemized).  If you don't express an
    interest either way, then we'll bill by the hour plus expenses - our preferred method.  Once a client chooses their
    preferred billing method however, we will only bill by that method.  

    Do you bill me “after the fact?”

    New clients are required to pay an appropriate retainer before investigative services commence.  Established
    clientele may be billed afterwards (at our sole discretion) based on the length of our relationship with the client, as
    well as the amount of services performed.

    What is a retainer?

    A retainer is simply “prepayment” for services.

    How much is the retainer?

    No two cases are identical; therefore, the amount of your retainer will be based on the anticipated expenses of your
    particular case.  We will provide you with a realistic estimate for the total cost of your case, including taxes, at the
    time of consultation.  That estimated amount becomes the amount of your initial retainer.

    I understand how the retainer issue works, but I'd still like to know how and where my money
    is spent.  One detective agency I hired in the past took my retainer and then, after working the
    case for a short time, simply told me that it was "all used up" without being able to explain to
    me how.  Will you be able to show me where my money went on an invoice?

    Yes, provided that you didn't request to be billed a "flat rate".  Our itemized invoices show, line by line, where and
    how your money is spent.  It will also show when a refund to you is due.

    What if you “solve the case” before reaching the amount of the retainer I provided?

    We will return any unused portion of the retainer within 10 business days of the completion of the case, and will
    commit to doing so in writing.  

    Many, perhaps most, detectives have a “no-give-backs” rule when it comes to retainers; they keep it regardless.  Ask
    the detective agencies, that you interview, if the retainer is “refundable.”

    What if I give you a retainer, but then change my mind about going forward with the case?

    Please give careful consideration before hiring anyone, including us, to take on your case.  Having asked that, we
    allow for clients to change their minds and cancel their requests for investigative services at any time.  You may be
    charged to compensate us for our time beyond the initial free telephone consultation, investigative services already
    provided up to the time you changed your mind and, cancellation fees for cancellations made close to the scheduled
    day of services.  The remainder of your retainer will be returned.  

    While virtually any detective will allow you to change your mind and cancel services, not all of them will allow for the
    return of your retainer.  Ask questions.

    I'm having a real problem with this whole retainer thing; I'm supposed to pay you ahead of
    time, and trust that you're going to do the job?

    Your question is valid, and your concern – legitimate; we might feel the same way if we were to do business with a
    detective outside of the narrow group of professionals that we’ve come to trust in the area.

    You're encouraged to verify our licensure status with the state of Minnesota, the lack of complaints filed against us
    with "the board", lack of complaints filed with the Minnesota chapter of The Better Business Bureau, and to read Blue
    Heron Investigations' "Code of Ethics."

    Most detectives are honest and ethical professionals; if they weren’t, they wouldn’t have been able to acquire their
    private detective license in the first place.  However, we are aware of a few detectives in this area who have taken
    money from clients to do work that was never performed.  We will not provide names.

    I don’t have the money to pay you a retainer; however, my case involves a large financial
    matter, and I expect to be amply rewarded in the end.  Will you take a case on a contingency
    basis where I pay you once I get paid?

    No; we do not accept cases on a contingency basis.

    What forms of payment will you accept?

    We accept personal and business checks, money orders, certified bank checks, Western Union money transfers,
    Paypal, credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express), cash, and Traveler's Cheques.  We've even
    accepted people's unwanted store gift cards in the past.  Some methods (checks, etc.) may delay the start of
    services.  In short - we'll find a way to make things work for you.   

    Assuming that I’m willing to assign the case, and you’re willing to take it, where do I meet you
    where are you located?

    We office out of a centrally located north metro suburb.  For your convenience, we’ll come to you.  The meeting will
    take place at a location that’s both comfortable and convenient to you.

    What if all I want you to do is locate a witness to an accident, or do a background check on
    somebody – do we have to meet?

    No.  Most clients, with these types of case needs, prefer to simply provide the necessary details and payment by telep
    hone.  Even many clients with larger cases prefer not to meet.

    It's not that my case is a small one like the kind referenced above – it's that I'm halfway across
    the country from your company; can I assume that we can take care of this by phone?

    Absolutely; we do so all the time.  Give us a call, and we'll make it work.

    Do you provide nationwide background checks?

    We invite you to read the article: Complete Nationwide Background Checks - An Open Letter To An Angry Woman to
    learn more about "Nationwide Background Checks" and what you need to know about them; It's an article that we

    I paid for a state-wide background check on somebody, but he came up clean; I found out later
    that this guy had been convicted of various offenses; how did this happen?

    A check for gross misdemeanor and felony convictions through our state repository will only yield felony, gross
    misdemeanor, and a few types of misdemeanor convictions.  Other convictions will not be on file at that repository.  
    Other times, convictions aren't located because the law enforcement agency and / or courts haven't reported them as
    they're required to do.  Other offenses go unrecorded because of the estimated 500,000 case backlog at the
    repository.  Then too, there are those who plead down their case to a lesser crime.  

    We often find convictions (as well as non-conviction data) that others don't, by conducting a more thorough search.  
    In a recent (as of this writing) case, we found that a man had been jailed and charged for felony drug, felony weapons,
    fraud and a DUI that was not reported at the state level.  He hadn't been convicted of the crimes yet, so there was no
    record of it at the state.  We found these "alleged" crimes by taking the "next step" in the background check.

    I’d like to hire you, but I’m concerned that you may be working for “the other side.”  How will I

    If we do our job properly – you won’t.  However, we will not take a case where there’s a conflict of interest.  To
    maintain our client’s confidentiality, we’ll simply refuse the case on other grounds.  

    I’m filing a claim against a guy in conciliation court.  They need an address for him in order for
    me to file and for them to serve the papers, but I know he’s moved.  I don’t know where he is;
    can you find me a current address?

    Enter the defendant’s last known address when filing, and then provide us with the court documents to be served.  
    We will handle both the locate and process service on your behalf.  Thereafter, you will be provided with an “Affidavit
    of Service” by us that will reveal the location that the service took place.  You will then file this affidavit with the

    I’d like to find my old buddy from the army.  We lost contact awhile back, and I’d like to give
    him a call and get together.  I’ve already paid $25.00 to an online database that wasn’t helpful
    at all; what do you charge?

    More than $25.00.

    Private parties, who wish to have us locate another private party, must agree to our “Rule of First Contact.”  This rule,
    that virtually all reputable investigators have, simply means that once the “lost” party is found he or she will be
    contacted by the investigator on your behalf.  Some clients prefer to have us forward a sealed letter, which the client
    has written, to the confirmed address of the other party.  Other times, we will contact the other party and simply
    provide him or her with your name and number.  By doing this, the “lost” friend is given the right to make first
    contact.  The rule is intended to prevent stalkers from employing investigators to locate their victims – something
    that has resulted in the murder of others.

    This guy’s really aware of his surroundings, he notices everybody, and he’s a lot smarter than
    most people are – won’t you get caught doing surveillance?

    Our surveillance is not conducted “as seen on TV”. We do not sit in red sports cars parked at the base of the
    driveway in front of the subject’s house, and then simply raise a newspaper to cover our face when he backs out of
    the driveway.  We do not follow people ten feet off their rear bumper down deserted country roads, and we do not
    hold 35 mm cameras with foot-long telephoto lenses up to our eyes while standing just outside our car doors in motel
    parking lots.

    We are aware that some people are more observant than others, and that some people are actually looking for
    surveillance.  We’ve even witnessed subjects peering into vehicles with tinted windows in parking lots in an effort to
    find the investigator they think is inside.  While we won’t disclose our surveillance methods, many of which are
    unique to Blue Heron Investigations, we can assure you that we are more than capable of conducting surveillance on
    virtually anyone.  We have long since learned to dismiss claims that “this guy can’t be watched.”  In very rare cases,
    we may need to use two investigators.

    Speaking of using two investigators – why do some of the other agencies require “two man
    surveillances” on all of their surveillance cases?

  • It’s more profitable to bill for two investigators than just one.

  • The day goes by faster when you work with another investigator, as opposed to being out there by yourself.

  • It’s less stressful or dangerous when you have a partner a block away.

  • The investigator requiring assistance is not confident in his or her own abilities.

    We do require assistance from other detectives from time to time; however, the vast majority of our surveillance
    (approximately 95 - 98%) does not require two investigators or vehicles.

    Can you bug phones?

    The question shouldn't be "can you", but rather, "will you."  We're capable of doing much more than we’re willing to
    do.  The surreptitious recording of a two party conversation, of which you are not a part, is against both Minnesota
    and federal law – it’s a felony.  The mere fact that you own the telephone or pay the bill makes no difference.  There
    are limited exceptions to the law, primarily in employment situations, which are best left discussed with your attorney.

    I think my spouse is having an affair, and would like to install hidden cameras in the house to
    document the infidelity.  How much would that cost?

    People, including those who may be having an affair, have a reasonable expectation of privacy while in their own
    homes.  We do not install covert video recording devices in residences unless all parties that reside there are aware
    of the recording device.  If your spouse is having an affair, we can help you in other ways.

    We will install systems in residences to document unauthorized entry (landlords & former spouses), theft by
    employees / contractors (maids), or child care providers (nannies).  You may either call for more details, or click here
    to learn more about our hidden camera installation services for our Minnesota clientele.

    I’m involved in a child custody litigation, and I’d like to document what’s going on in the other
    parent’s home.  Do you have a bug or camera that can be hidden in a child’s toy so that
    “Bobby” can carry it into the other parent’s house?

    No.  Electronic eavesdropping (which you’re describing) is a serious state and federal offense.  Your former spouse,
    who has a reasonable expectation of privacy in his / her own home, may make an example out of you in court should
    the “bug” or camera be found (and it would be found if we were hired by your former spouse to check the house for
    such devices).  Even if you were to proceed on your own with such an attempt at eavesdropping, you would likely find
    yourself very disappointed with the overstated claims of “teddy bear cams” sold on the Internet.  Save your money;
    call us to conduct an appropriate surveillance and investigation that will hold up in court – not land you in jail.

    Are you available 24 hours a day?

    We're available to work assignments 24 hours a day, but are unlikely to accept your call in the middle of the night.

    Other agencies are available to answer 24 hours a day, and advertise such in their advertisements as if it’s a benefit
    to you.  These “24 hour a day” agencies are likely to employ office personnel, outside answering services, and even
    sales personnel to take your call – regardless of the time of day you choose to call.  As they are not investigators,
    these parties are almost always unable to intelligently consult with you regarding your case; in many cases, they are
    there to take a message only.  Some are instructed to tell all callers, “yeah, we can do that” until the actual
    investigator chooses whether or not to call them back.  Some calls are never returned.  Some of the national “we-got-
    agents-everywhere” agencies are now employing sales staff to consult with prospective clientele.  Some of these
    marketers are paid on a commission basis and are highly motivated to sell you services without regard to the merits
    of your case.

    You may need to wait for a “live voice” if you call us, but your consultation will be with the detective who will work
    your case.  

    I interviewed another detective agency – I think it was one of those out of state ones with a
    slick web site.  Anyway, they allow their customers to sign in to a customer access page on
    their web site to read about the investigator’s findings.  Do you offer this service?

    No; nor do we ever intend to.  We believe that client access pages are a convenience for the detective agency – not
    the client; they’re designed to save the agency the time necessary to update the client regarding case findings.  It
    also allows them to avoid having to call a client with bad news.

    Several Department of Defense computers and hundreds of state agency web sites have been broken into by
    hackers over the years.  If hackers can get into these government systems, what’s to prevent them from accessing a
    password protected “client login” section of a private detective’s web site to read your most personal of information?

    We have the means to provide a customer log-in section on this web-site too, but choose not to.  Security concerns
    aside – we prefer to speak with our clients, as opposed to telling them to go read about their case online.

    I interviewed one of those out of state agencies that say they have investigators everywhere.  
    They told me that even though they charge so much more per hour – that I’d actually be
    saving money because they’re so much more effective in what they do; is there any truth to

    Well, it sounded good didn’t it?  

    If we charged our clients well above industry norms, we’d have to come up with a justification for it too.  The real
    truth is that the out of state agencies know that they’re going to have to pay a Minnesota licensed Private Detective
    to actually do the job; they’re interested in the profit margin between what you pay them, and the invoice they'll have
    to pay to the Minnesota agency.

    They’re going to have to pay a Minnesota agency to actually do the job?!  But they spent 10
    minutes on the phone blathering on about how big they were, and that the local agencies here
    were just a bunch of “mom and pop” companies.  You mean to tell me that they end up hiring
    a Minnesota company to do the job anyway?!

    What can we say?  Almost makes you want to hire a Minnesota licensed detective agency directly doesn’t it?  In most
    cases, you would do better to hire a Minnesota company (yes, even if it's a competitor of ours) than a company
    outside the state.

    But the agency I spoke with told me that they "only use licensed investigators directly under
    our control"; doesn't that mean that they're a firm with employees / detectives here?

    No - the "licensed investigators directly under out control" is meant to give the impression that the company has
    employees / agents here, but really means that they intend to subcontract the work.  Ask them, "Is this an employee of
    your company?"  

    This out of state agency said they have so many cases that they have “case managers” to act
    as a “liason between the customer and the detective.”  Do you?

    No; never intend to either.  Consider us old fashioned, but we believe it’s best if the investigator and client speak
    directly to one another.  If you’d rather speak to a case manager, sitting in an office a thousand miles away, than the
    detective actually working your case then Blue Heron Investigations isn’t the company to handle your case needs.

    This one national detective agency told me how a Minnesota detective agency may only work
    five child custody cases a month, whereas the national agency that I talked to took in that
    many cases per day.  What do you say to that?

    We’re speechless – that they would actually market this to you.

    Five child custody cases per day?  Then they probably take in five domestic cases, five theft cases, five insurance
    defense cases, etc. per day.  Let’s say they provide five different services and take in five of each kind of case per
    day.  According to our math, that’s over 750 cases per month.  Kind of makes you wonder whether you’re just a
    number with them doesn’t it?

    I don't really care if an outfit subcontracts my case to another detective, or that I'll pay twice as
    much as I need to.  Is there any other reason for me to be wary of an out of state agency
    proclaiming to have agents everywhere?

    If unlicensed within the state of Minnesota to engage in investigative work, the out of state agency is likely in
    violation of Minnesota law simply by soliciting work here in the first place - regardless of whether they intend to
    subcontract to licensed investigators here.  

    Perhaps more importantly - you'll have little recourse should the agency not perform as promised.  What will you do -
    fly to California or New York to file a claim against a "Worldwide" agency in small claims court?  

    Hiring an out of state agency proclaiming to have agents here eliminates (or at the very least decreases) your ability
    to deal directly with the PI doing the actual work, and increases the chances of miscommunication caused by the
    interfering layers of management between yourself and the person doing the work.

    There are several fine detectives here in Minnesota besides ourselves; why not hire one of them if Blue Heron
    Investigations is not for you?

    My husband is the kind of man to cheat on me.  Do you have a pretty female investigator that
    can go into a bar and flirt with him to see if he asks her out?

    We consider, as do most professional investigators, this baiting activity to be highly unethical.  Call us when you
    suspect that your husband is currently involved in an affair, and we’ll be happy to assist.

    My brother’s wife’s sister’s boyfriend has a problem with…..

    Our experience has shown that if your brother’s wife’s sister’s boyfriend isn’t willing to pick up the phone for a free
    and confidential consultation, then your brother’s wife’s sister’s boyfriend probably isn’t all that interested in hiring a
    detective at this time.  Additionally, you are unlikely to be able to answer all of the questions we have for you
    regarding the issue.  For these reasons, and because we’re offering our consultations for free, we choose not to
    consult with you regarding your brother's wife’s sister’s boyfriend.  Of course, he’s welcome to call us anytime.

    There are three exceptions to our policy of not providing free consultations to “middle men” – we will speak with an
    attorney regarding his client’s needs, an attorney’s paralegal, or the grandparents of a child who’s parents are
    involved in a child custody suit.

    I’m calling on behalf of my boss who wants me to call investigators to find out…

    Have your employer call us.

    But he's a busy man, and doesn't have time to......

    Tell him that we understand, and that we'll look forward to his call.

    I always wanted to be a PI; can you tell me about the profession and what I need to do to get
    hired or work as a licensed PI?

    Your question is both common and understandable; however, like most investigators who've been in business for
    even a few months, we've found that we simply don't have the time to answer these questions for everyone who calls.

    If you're interested in a career as a Private Detective, you may wish to visit our Career Options link at the top of this
    page; you'll find a link to an e-booklet we've written for people like yourself.

                                                                  ©2006 Blue Heron Investigations, MN.  All rights reserved.  
Your "Minnesota Private Investigator"
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Minneapolis / St. Paul   763-323-7324