Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Discretion Assured!

I have commented previously, Dear Reader, on my inherent cynicism for the world of marketing and advertising.

It's just all such utter bullshit, isn't it?

From the perspective of a PI business, I think traditional marketing approaches simply are a waste of time and money.

Time I have. Money, not so much.

A recent comment from a friend reminded me of a laughably naive attempt to generate some business through an advert in the local daily rag's classifieds section some years ago.

Once upon a stakeout

Actually, Dear Reader, this post probably should have had the title from the last.

Funny how things turn out.

It all started out simply enough, as it does, with a relatively straighforward surveillance assignment on Sam's (not his real name) wife. Sara (not her real name either) was staying in town overnight after a work function, but Sam had found some evidence pointing towards Sara's plans for a risque rendezvous at a nearby motel with person (or persons) unknown.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe"

Well, be that as it may Roy Batty, there are a number of things I have yet to see while out on a long and lonely night of surveillance.

For the most part, it would seem that non-PIs out there think surveillance is all like this (a scene from Horrible Bosses):


It's more like this:

Courting Corporate Clients: Monthly Retainers v Hourly Rates

One question I have to put towards you other PIs (although, I guess, it could be asked of any other professional) out there is that concerning retainers. And by that, I'm not talking about the lump-sum paid in advance to cover immediate expenses and the like, but an ongoing arrangement between client and investigator.

How many of you have clients on retainer?

Are retainer-based engagements commonplace in your part of the world?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Monday WTF Files: Outrageous Fortunes

Gordon Gecko might contend that greed is good but I have my doubts.

Not so much doubt regarding whether greed falls on one side or the other of the good/bad divide, but how it can be justified to a seemingly willing participant?

I want to know.

Have I got a deal for you...

If you aren't at least in your mid-30s and from the UK or one of her Colonies, you probably have no idea who Arthur Daley (aka 'Arfur') is.

He is, or was, the lovably roguish but eternally dodgy wheeler and dealer in the UK TV series 'Minder', from 1979-1994.

Sadly, the archetype is not just a stereotype.

Meet our own very real-life  Arthur Daley, Mr. Patton. Not his real name.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Art of Interviewing

They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test designed to provoke an emotional response.

Investigative interviews.

It's one of those areas that I actually quite enjoy; sitting down in front of a POI (Person of Interest), whether Witness or Suspect, and engaging with them verbally to obtain their account of events and, in some cases, obtain explanations for any discrepancies in accounts.

It's not rocket science but there is an art to it.

Friday, May 04, 2012

It's not Begging if you have a Corporate Sponsor

Seriously, I have had better days! However, today not being one of them, I managed to drop my BlackBerry and, for the second time, fractured the reactive touchscreen. While the LCD itself is fine, the cracks are noticeable and also I get that horrible 'raspy' feeling when typing onscreen as my skin moves over the broken glass.


I'm not going to bother sending it in to be fixed as, last time, it took a couple of months and it came back odd with bits of black plastic sticking out and generally just not feeling 'right'.

I need a new phone.

Free Lunch?

Sometimes, Dear Reader, I wonder whether I am particularly 'special' when it comes to the quality of my prospective clients, or if my experience is typical... not just that for other PIs but also for other self-employed types out there...?

I've blogged about them before; the timewasters or tyrekickers, who I never get any work (or money) from after exhaustive emails, phone conversations, and/or personal meetings; and the tinfoil helmet brigade, who I could never take payment from anyway.

Because they are barking mad.

What I don't get, at the other extreme, is the sort of client like Kelly Rutherford although, since she reputedly doesn't pay her bills, it's probably just as well. Having said that, Banach did receive around $28,000 from her - which is about 4 times the amount I billed my single most spendy client for a case.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Monday WTF Files: The Actress and the Investigator

In case you missed the 'news', Kelly Rutherford (her real name), of Gossip Girl fame* is being sued by private investigator Edward Banach (presumably also his real name) over an unpaid bill for services rendered during her messy divorce case.

According to Rutherford, Banach was hired to prove her ex did not properly secure the pool and play areas of his home, therefore endangering their son.

Sounds simple enough, right?

So how did the investigator get to bill for $86,249.85? For less than 2 months work?

Let's look at that figure again.