Expectations for Success, Private Investigator

A common question we are asked when meeting with prospective clients is, “How often are you successful?” To be honest, this is a tough question to answer because with different perspectives comes a different definition of success. What they generally mean is, “How often do you bust people doing things they say they are not doing, or cannot physically do?”

How do you measure a successful investigation?

We can’t make people behave in a certain manner just because we are doing surveillance. Success to an investigator should be to accurately obtain documentation of a person’s activities for the prescribed amount of time without compromising the investigation or altering upcoming behavior.

Investigations don’t always impact claims favorably, but if your investigator can answer the following questions with a “yes”, then your odds of having success are greatly improved.


Seven questions to evaluate the “effectiveness” of an investigator.

  • Are they obtaining significant amounts of surveillance video and when they do, is it clear enough to identify the claimants and the specific body parts or activities in question?
  • Are they avoiding getting burned and losing claimants at a reasonable rate?
  • Do they possess the ability to perform a thorough background and most importantly, are they able to interpret that information and its potential impact with regards to the planning and execution of the investigation?
  • Are they reliable? Are they where they say they are going to be when they say they’ll be there? Are they Flexible? If you call and say I NEED this done tomorrow or even today, can they generally accommodate you?
  • How’s their communication? Are you getting regular, real-time information regarding your case and is the turnaround for the work product prompt?
  • Do they have to ability to professionally and confidently defend the information obtained?
  • Can they do more than simply obtain information? Can they help you leverage the information by presenting film to doctors or preparing a file for review by your state’s governing body?

Success can also vary depending on the type of investigation. For a worker’s compensation claim, success might be the investigator’s surveillance demonstrating the person doing things they should not be able to do. For child custody, it might be footage confirming terms and conditions of the parenting plan are not being followed. This is why the experience of our investigators, and their ability to interpret the information obtained, is so pivotal to the success of McDonald and Associates and to your investigation.

For additional information regarding our complete line of investigative services, please visit our website at www.mcdonaldservices.com or contact us via email at requests@mcdonaldservices.com.