In 2020 and beyond, the private investigation market looks like it will grow increasingly competitive – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any room for growth, too. Several segments of the industry are expected to see new growth as market forces shift. PI companies that look toward expansion and diversification can expect to find many new opportunities: Here are some of the best areas worth growing into in 2020, and why they are favoring PI companies at this time.
1. Trademark Investigations
One trend following private investigation companies into 2020 is the growth of commercial demand for PI services. Businesses are expanding their security goals, addressing specific issues within their industries, and spending more on protecting their brand or reputation. This means that a growing number of companies are willing to consider third party investigators as part of their strategy.
That’s good news! This trend will help bolster PI companies that offer commercial services and provide a way for others to increase profits when the private consumer side of the market isn’t doing as well. But where should investigators focus their time? One area of strong potential is trademark investigations – watching for other businesses using trademarks, logos, or designs illegally. This involves knowledge of many different industries and a combination of digital and traditional investigations.
There are a couple of different ways PIs can get involved in this business if they have the commercial experience necessary. Finding a suitable trademark lawyer to work with as a partner is a great option for long-term growth. Advertising trademark investigations on your website is also a good start. And yes, there are intellectual property training programs that PIs without as much experience that look into.
2. Competitor Research
Another area where companies may be looking for PI services is in competitor research. Most companies, especially larger businesses, are able to conduct their own competitor research without trouble. However, there are situations where they look for an outside investigator to help out – they may suspect a competitor is doing something illegal, or they may want more information about certain processes or activities.
This field is related to trademark investigations, but much broader, and not as likely to be routed through an attorney. When announcing that you can help with competitor research, make it clear what exactly you can do, including employee contacts, active surveillance, data intelligence, brand history, and more.
3. Fraud Investigations
Both internal and external fraud investigations are expected to see growth in 2020, too. Internal fraud investigations are typically about an employee that has been accused of creating fake accounts or falsifying information to improve their own status. Employers want a thorough investigation of these issues and actionable evidence if necessary, but they don’t have enough resources on their own.
External fraud investigations tend to involve insurance: Someone is making a claim on their insurance policy, and the insurer believes the claim is fraudulent and wants proof. In other cases, there is a suspicion that an insured party is lying about the assets they have, or damage done to assets in order to try and make more money.
These can both be lucrative areas for private investigators, and tie in well with traditional investigative skills. If you do not yet offer services for these types of fraud cases, 2020 is a great time to start. Any testimonials you can provide can be particular useful here.
4. Employment Screenings
Employment screenings can be an excellent new area to grow in, but with an important caveat: There are likely already employment screening and hiring services in your area, so a lot depends on demand. An investigation company can differentiate itself by advertising services that go above and beyond typical employment screenings that others provide. Mention if you do more than just background checks, or if you have experience investigating higher-level employees. Underline how discrete and versatile your company is. Developing this part of your business can yield results for many years to come.
5. Cybersecurity Consultations
Cybersecurity investigations are increasingly common, and more companies are worried about data breaches, vulnerabilities, or potential theft. If you offer digital investigations in these areas, there’s powerful synergy with other services, such as cybersecurity consultation. For example, if you find a data flaw or access point vulnerability, you can offer consultation services to create a plan to address that problem. This may be especially attractive to companies that don’t have the internal IT resources to develop a fast response on their own.
6. Sexual Harassment Cases
The era of #MeToo has certainly raised awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace, and it’s no surprise that many companies are responding with new guidelines – and more strict investigations. Businesses that don’t have the resources to do this themselves may request the services of a discrete private investigator to help narrow down the details or activities in a particular case. This is one area where experience in the private world can come in useful in business scenarios as well. Emphasis on interview skills, surveillance experience, and similar abilities can be very helpful here.
While it may be challenging to consider diversification at first, private investigators will ultimately benefit from expanding in the coming year. Consider new possibilities, look at local demand, and create your own strategy for new growth in 2020!