Long-term commercial jobs remain one of the best ways to establish a full-time private investigation business. These jobs are reliable, tend to be high-paying, and can easily lead to more work or excellent references to use down the line.
However, the needs of industries are always shifting, and it’s important to keep track of what companies – and their lawyers – are looking for in a PI. Heading into 2022, here are several of the top opportunities to watch for, and why commercial clients are looking for them.
Expanded Background Checks for Employees
Labor forces are in an interesting position right now. The “Great Resignation” has continued and left many industries facing major changes in how they find, hire, and retain employees. As a result, we also expect to see more interest in guaranteeing employee credentials and double-checking information. Employers will have more interest than ever in making sure they are making a safe, long-term hire.
For entry-level positions, this will probably still involve background checks, something more employers may be searching for. Higher-level positions may see more expanded background checks that will dig into resumes and look for lies or exaggerations about employment, past positions, testimonials, and so on. PIs with experience in background checks or double-checking details will continue to find plenty of work here!
Tenant Background Checks
The rental and property management industry is another area where we’ve seen a number of changes in recent years, due to a combination of COVID-19 regulations and inventory changes in many locations. Landlords and the management services they use will be more interested than ever in finding reliable, honest tenants with the ability to make their payments.
Here, PIs can conduct background checks to look for signs of prior evictions or credit problems that tenants may have tried to hide. They may also be asked to verify testimonials, job positions, behavior at past rentals, and other important information. For long-term commercial work, it’s best to partner with a property management company for these checks, although there’s nothing wrong with advertising to individual landlords, too.
From garnishing wages to handling divorces or child support, attorneys are often interested in making sure there are no hidden assets involved. Lawsuits and audits may also be on the watch for hidden assets in bank accounts that are harder to find. Private investigators with experience in forensic auditing will find plenty of opportunities in 2022 to work on cases like these. It’s also a great year to expand your forensic accounting education if you have the opportunity!
There are many types of fraud for private investigators to uncover. As remote work situations rose in the past couple of years, we discussed how more employers were interested in investigations to make sure employees were actually performing their duties away from work. Remote work situations are expected to continue in 2022, so this field still shows promise for new work. However, other types of fraud investigations will also offer opportunities. That includes fraud from new business partners, subcontractors, and suppliers, exacerbated by supply chain issues and financial pressures. Companies will want to be sure that they are partnering with organizations that are trustworthy and not cheating them.
This will continue to be a key issue in the tech industry, where both code and hardware are subject to theft and imitation. Proving theft or fraud in these situations often requires the help of a professional, so PIs with experience in the tech industry should advertise their capabilities.
Special Access Investigations
Special access refers specifically to employees that are granted special permissions to access restricted areas or information – anything from sensitive customer data to server rooms or back-office safes. Business owners worried about protecting their assets are interested in making sure employees with special access aren’t misusing it in any way or acting irresponsible.
All-in-One Security and Surveillance
Many businesses that require security services are starting to prefer an all-in-one approach more than on-demand services. They are interested in companies that can offer ongoing services for surveillance and security at their locations, as well as security system monitoring and maintenance. Then, if a specific need for an investigation comes out, the client can also use this same firm to handle that case. In other words, it’s a great time to think about expanding into other security fields, especially for firms that are ready to grow. Individual PIs may want to consider partnering with larger security firms so they can enable these on-demand services, too.
Remember, in the online era, competition for private investigation is more pervasive. An online presence will help establish your business as a professional and allow you to highlight specific skills and experience that commercial clients are looking for. If it’s been several years since you’ve updated your website or thought about your social media plan, it’s a good time to plan for an update. If nothing else, make sure your contact information – email, phone number, location, etc. – are still current heading into the new year. Also remember to emphasize your confidentiality, as this is a key need for commercial partners!