Flat Fee Pricing Investigation Model

February 1st, 2010 → 8:17 am @ // 34 Comments

One of the great competitive advantages we have competing against other Cincinnati private investigators is our flat fee pricing.  Most private investigators charge a retainer of at least $1,000 + expenses.  Then they charge against that retainer at an hourly rate sometimes as high as $100 per hour or more.  Once the first 10 hours are charged against the retainer, the cost to the client begins to skyrocket.  If the P.I. needs 15 total hours to complete the investigation, the final bill will be $1,500.00 plus expenses.  If the investigation takes less than 10 hours, the P.I. should refund any amount not charged against the retainer you paid.

We decided that one of the things clients disliked most about hiring an investigator was the open-ended aspect of the cost – you just never knew how much the final bill was going to be.  That’s why we developed our flat fee pricing guarantee.  The price we quote you is a guaranteed price for a complete investigation.

Our years of experience  in the field has given us a pretty good idea of how long it takes to conduct surveillance investigations.  We use that experience to project the total number of hours it will take us to complete an investigation.  If we go over that time, we eat those hours, but we guarantee we will complete the job.

Sometimes, we underestimate the amount of time it will take to complete a job, but never by much.  More often than not, when we go over our planned time, it’s due to a mistake that we made as investigators (i.e. we temporarily lost contact with the target, etc.).  Other P.I.’s will charge you for those mistakes (and yes, despite what they may tell you, they sometimes lose targets, too).  We believe the guaranteed flat-fee pricing gives our clients peace of mind about their budget, and it gives our investigators an incentive to do a good job the first time around – because we know we’re not getting paid to do it twice, even though we are obligated to our clients to finish the job.

P.I. Blog &The P.I. Life

Valentine’s Day and Cheating Spouses

January 21st, 20108:35 am @ // 85 Comments

Cheating spouses often make mistakes that get them caught on Valentine’s Day.  In fact, our Cincinnati private investigation firm traditionally stays very busy on that day. It seems that an unfaithful spouse always feels compelled to spend some time with the person he or she is cheating with, and that makes them very easy to catch.

The news clip below tells the story:

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Valentines Day is coming up fast. If you think your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner is cheating on you, a good Cincinnati private investigator can find out for sure.

Contact us immediately if you need answers. We have a limited number of investigators available and our schedules fill up fast on Valentine’s Day.

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Family / Marital Investigations

Working for the boss

January 18th, 20109:14 pm @ // 56 Comments

The boss removes snow from a target vehicle so we can run a tag

Since we’ve launched this blog, I haven’t really taken the time to introduce myself. My name is Jim White, and I work full time for a Cincinnati private investigation firm called Accelerated Solutions. I specialize in surveillance and forensic interviewing (more on that later), while others have their own specialties they concentrate on.

All of us do surveillance from time to time, often on the same job. And we all work for “the boss,” a former police officer who knows undercover work very well – he once spent a year on an undercover assignment so dangerous that even his chief didn’t want him to do it.

The boss has given me the added responsibility of maintaining the PI Blog, which you’re reading now, because he “doesn’t do computers.” The boss specializes in “problem solving.” If there’s a piece of information that you need to get – ask the boss. If he doesn’t know how to get it, he’ll sit there and think about it for a while, and then he’ll come up with a plan that seems crazy to just about everyone else. Often, he’s conjured up a crazy idea and then dragged me out into the field to help him – and when it’s all over, he makes it seem easy.

If this post sounds like I’m sucking up to the boss, well, I am. That’s one of the perks of being the designated web site content manager – I have a great outlet for sucking up, all under the guise of “marketing the private investigation firm.”

And for those of you who doubt the boss ever gets out from behind his desk, here’s a great shot of him knocking snow off a surveillance target’s license plate so we can run the tags and figure out who was hooking up with our client’s cheating wife. While I often brag that I’m the best Cincinnati private investigator, I’m not counting the boss. He taught me everything I know about this business.

P.I. Blog &The P.I. Life

Always have a “Plan B”

January 13th, 20104:19 pm @ // 32 Comments

On a surveillance job a couple nights ago and got myself in a dicey situation in a bad Cincinnati neighborhood (not far from Over-the-Rhine).  Luckily things worked out, otherwise this blog wouldn’t be updated anymore…

The client was a typical wife who wanted to know the answer to a simple question: “How do I catch my cheating husband?”  She wanted to know what her husband was up to at night.  He had recently started “working” late.  One night she happened to note that his car wasn’t where he said he was, and she got suspicious and hired me.

To make a long story short, I followed her husband one night as he left work and drove to a bar in downtown Cincinnati.  There, he picked up a woman – from what I could tell, they definitely knew each other – and after a few drinks and quiet conversation at a table, the two of them headed to his car.

I tailed them to the parking garage of a nearby motel and when they headed for the exit I snapped the attached photo.  Since I didn’t have any info on who the woman was, and I knew the client would want it, I had no choice but to hang around to find out more information.  As you can see from the picture, I was stuck in a bad area with only one exit – not exactly the way a pro like me prefers to do business.

When a couple of neighborhood thugs walked through the parking lot and spotted me, I decided to switch to Plan B.  Now, I don’t want to give away any trade secrets here, but the bottom line is that there a several ways to figure out who this cheating husband was hanging out with.  Within a few minutes, I had relocated the car and found myself in the “lobby” of the hotel chatting with the night manager.  He was still processing the latest guest registration, which, as luck would have it, was in the name of a female.

From there, it was just a matter of doing some additional investigation to verify that the name I had was indeed the same person I had seen.  I terminated surveillance and went back to the office, contacted the subject’s wife, and filled her in.  Two days later, just a few minutes ago, in fact, the case was closed.

Another cheating spouse busted by the best Cincinnati private investigator (if I do say so myself).  And yours truly was safely blogging away from the safety of my office, which is way better than staying out on surveillance in a bad neighborhood.

If you think you have a cheating husband or cheating wife, contact us today.  We can get to the bottom of the matter right away.

Family / Marital Investigations &P.I. Blog &The P.I. Life

Who’s that girl?

January 6th, 20102:34 pm @ // 30 Comments

whosthatgirlOne of the most common requests I get as a private investigator is not just to find out what a client’s spouse is up to, but also figuring out who the spouse is spending time with.

The case usually starts out with doing basic background research on the subject in question.  The client was a woman who’d been married for more than 20 years.  Her husband had only recently started working late – or so he told his spouse.

A sudden, unexplained change in work schedule is one of the potential signs of a cheating spouse.

But no single sign should ever be taken alone as a solid indication of infidelity.  In almost all cases, more than one sign is present – and when there aren’t more signs, it’s important not to jump to conclusions.

In this case, however, there were more than enough indicators that something fishy was going on.

The client told me that her husband had been exhibiting several of the classic signs of a cheating partner:

  • Working much later than usual
  • Frequent business trips to the same place (when nothing else changed at work – i.e. no promotion, no new project, etc.)
  • Important calls he would only take in private

Perhaps the most significant factor that prompted her to hire me was the fact that his cell phone bill no longer was delivered to the house.  She noticed that she used to always get the phone bill at home on the 15th of the month, but in December, it didn’t show up.  When she asked about it, he said the company was going to reimburse him for business calls so he had it delivered to the office.

But when she noticed a debit out of the checking account to pay the phone bill (in the same amount as always), she knew something wasn’t right.

After she hired me, I gave her instructions to to alert me the instant he called and warned her he would be coming home late for work.  After only three days on standby, I got the call around 4:30pm and raced over to his office building.   From experience, I knew he likely wouldn’t be at the office for long, despite what he told his spouse.

I was right.  At 5:05pm, I snapped the photo above when he came out of the office with another woman and got into her car.  I assumed she was likely a co-worker, but it’s important to never assume in this business, as I soon found out.

After tailing the car to an apartment complex a few miles away, the subject followed the woman into the apartment complex.  They remained there until 7:30pm, then she drove him back to his office where he got in his car and drove home.

Knowing the client wouldn’t be satisified to know that her husband wasn’t merely at work, the next step was to find out the identity of the woman.  As a private investigator, that was the easy part – but what I found out was that she wasn’t a colleague at all – she was the man’s divorce lawyer!

Needless to say, when the client found out what was going on, she was able to take measures of her own to protect herself.

When you hire a private investigator, you should expect to get a thorough report – not just confirmation of the things you may already intuitively know, but also additional information you could never guess.

Family / Marital Investigations &P.I. Blog

Cats have 9 lives, PI’s only get one shot…

November 15th, 20095:56 pm @ // 2 Comments

Today I was working a surveillance job for a worker’s compensation investigation, and the company had warned me that the guy had told a co-worker he expected the company would put a tail on him.  As usual, they wanted me to use extreme caution or they’d never be able to prove the guy was faking a back injury.

When I headed over to the target’s house this morning around 6:30am, the temperature was in the low 40′s.  Since I had driven about 30 minutes to get to this location, my engine was pretty warm, and I soon had an uninvited guest:

pi blog catFor a lot of reasons, I didn’t want this guy on my hood.  I tried everything – windshield wipers, pounding on the windshield, you name it, nothing worked.  The little rascal just sat there and looked at me.

I finally decided my antics to get rid of him were far more attention-getting than just letting him sit there.

And so he sat.  And so did I.

After an hour, the engine must have cooled off enough that he decided to go elsewhere for warmth, and he jumped off and left me to do my job alone.

The target didn’t come out of the house all day…

But I’ll get him eventually, and when I do, I’ll post the pics here (with an Accelerated Solutions “gotcha” logo across his face, of course).

Insurance and Workers Comp &P.I. Blog &The P.I. Life

Discretion is the better part of valor

November 13th, 200912:00 am @ // 3 Comments

Just a quick blog update to give people an example of how we work at Accelerated Solutions.  On a recent surveillance job to investigate a cheating spouse, the client’s partner was discreetly tailed to parking garage at a local hotel.  During a meeting earlier in the week, the client made it very clear that the target of the investigation was very paranoid and would be difficult to photograph without being spotted.

Of course, being an investigator with over a decade of experience, this wasn’t the first time I heard the client say something like that, but it doesn’t matter how often I hear it, I take it seriously every time.

The client simply needed solid evidence that his spouse wasn’t telling the truth about where she was during the day.  A quick call to the client confirmed she had told her husband that she was headed for the grocery store and would be gone a little more than an hour.  I quickly determined that a shot of her in a parking garage (which the grocery store didn’t have), and another shot of her entering the hotel would be all the client needed to confirm his suspicions.

Keeping in mind the client’s warnings about his wife’s paranoia, I pulled my vehicle into a spot perpendicular to her SUV, on the driver’s side, then waited for her to come back out.

An hour later, I used my left side mirror to shoot a number of hi-resolution images that could later be cropped.  In the second shot below, the target looked in my general direction, giving me a great shot of her face, but in the darkened garage, it was impossible for her to see me through the mirror and the window.  Here’s a couple of examples of discretion in the line of duty.  And up tomorrow, proof that she actually went into the hotel…

IMGA0558

IMGA0565

Family / Marital Investigations &The P.I. Life