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PI Work: A Luxury Item?

Not a Recession-Proof Job
Apparently suspicious spouses and insurance companies alike have to put the damper on surveillance during economic downturns. In a global survey of investigators, 64 percent acknowledged some slowing of business by the end of 2008, and another 12 percent indicated there had been a major decrease in workload.
Invest Less in Advertising?
While 48 percent of surveyed agencies chose to make no changes in their advertising budget despite the recession, 24 percent lowered their advertising budget. Thirteen percent opted to spend more on advertising to attract customers.  Eleven percent of the investigators said that they do not advertise at all. It is unclear if PIs will change their overall marketing strategy to combat loss of business.
More Competition Adds to the Stress
In California there has been an upsurge in new private investigation firms, which has further impaired established firms. Forty-three percent of investigators across the globe have felt an increase in new investigator competition.  And with more competition and a slow economy, fees may need to be adjusted.  The current survey showed that 13 percent of firms have lowered their fees, 21 percent have raised their prices, and two-thirds have not changed their price structure.  
Coping Strategies
Seventeen percent of the PIs indicated that they have had to find other occupational work to supplement their investigative business because of the economy. The usual mantra applies: PIs must cut expenditures and overhead, develop innovative strategies, and increase business in order to stay robust in a recession. With over 60,000 licensed private investigators in the U.S., the trick to staying afloat may come down to being able to stay on top of emerging technology. Identity theft and other forms of fraud surge during an economic slump ... which is job security for many PIs.
The survey, conducted by Gailey Associates of Garden Grove, California, may be viewed at

By Chris Navarro
Get Private Investigator Jobs, Contributing Editor

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