Your "Minnesota Private Investigator"
  • Licensed
  • Bonded
  • Insured
Minneapolis / St. Paul   763-323-7324
    If you're seriously interested in becoming a PI, then I suggest
    that you spend a few minutes of your time on this page.  If
    you think that's too long to spend reading something,
    perhaps you can go sign up for a PI school somewhere.  
    We'll talk in a year or two when you think you're ready to

    Roughly half of the people who visit this website (or any
    competitors' websites for that matter) are doing so because
    they're interested in becoming a PI; they're not interested in
    hiring one.  I know this because I track "key words" and
    phrases used by people when they visit a search engine.  I
    know the words and phrases they use to find this site, and I
    know which pages they visit the most often once they get
    here.  You found this site the same way, and for the same
    reasons, as everybody else who's interested in becoming a

By visiting the sites of PIs, people like yourself
hope to get a good feel for the occupation.  
Others hope to see the equivalent of a "help
wanted" sign.  That's why you clicked on the
"Careers" tab above.  There's nothing wrong
with any of this; it's a logical, legitimate, place
to start.  

Those who aren't currently looking at the

websites of detective agencies to learn more
about the industry, are clicking away at the sponsored ads that popped up when they
typed in "Investigative Careers" into their
favorite search engine; right now, they're
looking at the sites of PI schools
interested in making a few bucks off the dreams of
others.  You might have
checked out some of those sites earlier.  They're the ones with
looking young people on their sites who are holding cameras with telephoto
lenses, binoculars and badges while standing just outside their car doors in hotel
parking lots.  Please.

    So far, it looks like you're a lot like a lot of other people
    interested in becoming a PI.  What may differentiate you
    from all the other "I always wanted to be a PI" visitors to
    this site, is what you actually end up doing about it.  

    Good news for you - half of your would-be competitors
    haven't made it this far down the page;  they stopped
    reading this page after the first line or two, and are now
    ordering glossy brochures from a PI school
    somewhere.  Let's hope they go to the school that hands
    out shiny badges and window decals (BTW:  Doesn't our
    own Blue Heron Investigations badge look really really

Back to reality.  

A few people interested in becoming a PI

will, after looking at various PI websites,
actually pick up the phone and call a Private
Detective or two and ask them for insight
into how they can become a PI, and what's
involved in the process.  I know, because
I continue to get these calls.  I also know,
because I once did the same thing way back

when in the age before websites.  Again -
there's nothing wrong with any of this.  In
fact, I give these people credit (but no real
answers) for having the intestinal fortitude
to pick up the phone and call - They risk rejection, and that alone differentiates them from
many others.

But do read on.

What the callers generally don't know when they call a PI, is that the PI is very likely
going to give them one of two pat answers:

1)        Where to go for an application for a PI license

2)        Deliberately misleading information

    The first answer gets the caller off the phone in  
    short order.  It's given by the investigator who
    doesn't want to be rude, but just can't spend a half
    an hour on the phone answering questions.  Some
    of these PIs will actually provide the answer on
    their website so that they can avoid the call in the
    first place.

The second answer is given by a PI who
wants to discourage anyone interested in
becoming a future competitor - i.e. "Go
back to school and get a four year degree
in Criminal Justice and then call me back."

I'll tell you right now that simply getting
an application for a PI license in Minnesota
won't get you any closer to becoming a PI
if you don't meet certain criteria, and that
the PI application (or the agency mailing it
out) won't tell you anything about the
career as a whole - i.e. what it's like, what
you can earn, how competitive it is, etc.  I'll also tell you that having a four year Criminal
Justice degree won't get you any closer to becoming a licensed PI in Minnesota.  But
that's not because there aren't any requirements, because there are.

    Congratulations - you're now only one of about
    four people who will open this page.  25% left
    because of the number of words on this page,
    25% went back to "the Google" and are typing
    in "PI Badges", and the other 25% bailed when
    I mentioned that some PIs post the state
    agency that's in charge of PI licensing
            Which leaves us with you and me and a
fraction of those people interested in becoming a PI.

I'm good enough at what I do for a living that I am
not threatened by your desire to
become a future competitor of mine.  I simply
don't believe that you will become a
licensed Private Detective in
Minnesota and then put me out of business.  No offense,
but it's just
not a fear I have.

Since I'm
not motivated by fear to provide you with deliberately false and misleading
information, and since I'm
not willing to spend two hours of my time on the phone with
you when you call, I want to make you an offer that neither of us can refuse.  Actually,
you can refuse it if you really want to, but here's the offer just in case:

If you promise not to call me up on the phone and ask me how you can become a PI (as
if the answer is nothing more than a simple 30 second reply) AND I can get a value meal
out of you, I'll tell you what you want and need to know about becoming a PI in
Minnesota.  Don't worry - you don't actually have to meet me for lunch; just ante up the
equivalent of a value meal and I'll get it myself the next time I'm out.


This is what I did to get us both what we really want (you - honest answers to questions,
me - something with cheese):

While I was out doing some god-awful long days of surveillance (we'll talk about that
later) I passed the time by tapping away on a laptop computer of mine and put together a
list of answers to about 40+ questions that people either ask about the PI career, or
should ask about the career (but don't because they don't know any better).  I then
(because I was
still doing surveillance) included 35 certifications that Private
vestigators can earn, the inside scoop on 25 specific areas of private investigations
that you can specialize in, the 10 most
common mistakes of resume writers (that always
caused me to throw them away), contact information for our own state agency's
licensing board, contact numbers for
other state licensing boards, a list of 7 activities
that DON'T require a PI license, and yes - the names and contact information for various
PI schools (if that's what you ultimately choose to do).

And then I went home for the day because I was tired of doing surveillance and my
client's money ran out.

When I was done, I had an ebooklet (I really do hate that term, but what else can we call
it?) that's about 77 pages long if printed as a 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" book.  It's written in an easy
to read (assuming that reading is easy for you), no nonsense, question and answer
Some of the questions covered include:

  • What, exactly, is a PI?

  • What’s the difference between a private detective and a law enforcement detective?

  • Who is the typical PI?

  • I’m an introvert; would I find this a rewarding career, or just be a miserable failure
    because of my quiet nature?

  • What are some of the things that Private Detectives do, and what’s involved in
    working them?

  • Is this a dangerous occupation?

  • Is the PI field highly competitive - is there room for others?

  • What can I expect to earn as a Private Detective?

  • This seems like a male dominated occupation, are there many female investigators?

  • I need structure in my life - set hours, set days, set pay - is this the job for me?

  • What’s the “one thing” I need to have to succeed in this field?

  • Are there any associations I can join in Minnesota as an investigator?

  • Can I do sub contract work for a licensed investigator if I’m not licensed myself?

  • What will I need to work as a private investigator for an agency?

  • How do I get an interview?

  • What are the traits that a PI will be looking for when I interview?

  • Is there anything I should be aware of before going to work for a detective agency?

  • What can I do if I can’t get hired by another investigator?

  • Do I have to take an exam?

  • Do I have to go back to school?

  • Do I need any “on the job” training before getting licensed?

  • What are the mandatory “pre-assignment” training requirements that I’ve heard

  • Where do I get these “pre-assignment” training hours?

  • I have a criminal record, will that keep me from becoming a PI?

  • Do I have to have insurance and, if so, for how much?  What will it cost?

  • Do I need to be bonded and, if so, for how much?  What will it cost?

  • Are there “loop holes” that will allow me to work as a private investigator in
    Minnesota without being licensed?

  • Where do I go for a Private Detective license application?

  • What will it cost to start my own business as an investigator?

  • What else should I know before starting my own agency?

  • Where can I go, as a new PI, to get advice from more experienced investigators?

  • Any final observations about the profession that you can tell me?

Now that I've written this ebook, I want you to buy me lunch.  If you call me on the
phone, I'll just tell you to go back to school for four years.  I want something with
cheese.  So here's what we're going to do (unless, of course, you don't want to):

  • You decide that $5.50 is a fair price to pay given the fact that you're thinking about
    entering a new career.  If it helps you any, $5.50 is less than 4 1/2 minutes of
    investigative work billed at $75.00 an hour.  Or, as I like to think of it - it's about the
    price of a value meal.

  • You pay that $5.50 by clicking on the Paypal button below (or have a friend or
    relative with a Paypal account do it for you)

  • I send you the e-booklet, as a pdf document, by email within 24 hours (usually

  • You read it, and come to the conclusion that being a PI is either a good thing to
    pursue, or a terrible career choice (and BTW - it's a good career choice for some, but
    a miserable one for others).

  • Next time I'm out driving around the cities trying to find someone who doesn't want
    to be found, am on my way to a surveillance, going home after serving papers, etc.,
    I go through the drive-through of some artery clogging fast food outlet and get
    myself a cheese something with fries.

And we both live happily ever after.  Or not.

Or, you can be like a lot of people who think $5.50 is too much to invest in a career, and I
end up telling you when you call that you ought to go back to school for four years.   
Your choice.

Here are some
unsolicited comments that others had to say about the ebooklet...

    "...I am so glad to have spoken to you.  This information packet on INVESTIGATIVE
    informative and I like the sense of humor. have answered all my questions and
    I am happy to have invested my [money], it is worth it...."  S

    "...I found your paper to be a real positive and informative paper.  The format was set
    for easy read[ing], it flowed very nicely.  I really enjoyed reading it.  I think you did an
    awesome job of responding to the commonly asked questions.  I was extremely
    impressed that all my questions were answered in a complete manner...."  A. E.

    "I would like to thank you for your EBOOKLET. It was highly informative and has
    fueled my interest in finally taking the next step...I mostly wanted to extend my
    gratitude for disclosing such helpful information. I look forward to one day working
    with you in the future."  P.R.

    "THANK YOU so much for writing this eBook.  I sat down right after downloading it
    and read the whole thing over my lunch break today.  It was the best "lunch" I ever
    bought.....The investigative area is very interesting to me and I was just looking into
    schools and how I can get started, and then I found your site through Google....Well, I
    just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this eBook.  You will be hearing
    from me again as I move forward in my career change and get more involved in this
    field."  M. L.



    By Paypal:

    Send $5.50 via Paypal                                                        

    Your e-booklet will be sent to you in pdf format, easily downloaded, to your e-mail
    address within 24 hours (if ordered during the work week) of receipt of payment.  


                                                     ©2015 Blue Heron Investigations, MN.  All rights reserved.  
Thomas M. Goodpaster