Businesses owned by private investigators have overwhelming slowed down since the coronavirus struck.
However, most PIs have not received stimulus money from the government to help keep them going, according to the results of a national survey conducted by Ross Private Investigators.
Some 87 percent of respondents said they had applied for loans and grants offered by the federal government.
But of the respondents who applied, 60 percent said they had not received any money from the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) and 76 percent had not received money from the Economic Disaster Injury Loan (EDIL) Advance.
Some 84 percent said they had applied for both the PPP and the EDIL Advance but had not received money from both of the grants as of yet.
On May 19, Ross Private Investigators sent 10 survey questions to a number of Yahoo Group listservs dedicated to the private investigation industry across the US. In total, 23 PIs responded over two days. Answers were anonymous.
Here’s what PIs had to say:
However, not everyone was unhappy as several PIs said the money had been helpful.
Survey respondents gave mixed responses when they reported back on whether or not the pandemic had hurt their businesses and if the stimulus money had helped.
Regarding the question of whether the pandemic had hurt their businesses, some 87 percent of respondents said “yes” it had.
But another question asked if the stimulus money had been helpful. Some 52 percent said “yes” and 48 per cent said “no.”
Several PIs also complained they missed out on loans and grants because they were sole proprietors.
Colorado private investigators are still being asked to renew their licenses despite the fact controversial legislation to renew licensing law is stalled in the State House and might not succeed.
Emails recently went out to investigators asking them renew by the end of May. The fee is $16. If PIs don’t renew in time they are given a 60-day grace period and charged a late fee, before licenses are “deemed expired.”
However, the future of licensing remains uncertain as the Department of Regulatory Agencies, which administers the law, is opposed to the licensing regime and the legislature is running short of time to pass the required legislation.
HB20-1207 – Sunset Regulation of Private Investigators – is currently stalled before the state’s House Appropriations Committee as the legislature was forced to lock down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current law will be repealed on Sept. 1 if no action is taken by the legislature.
But DORA legislative affairs director Michael Nicoletti told this blog the government has to “proceed based on current law.”
“Current law is that PIs are still required to be licensed in Colorado. I can't predict what will happen when the legislature reconvenes as there are many variables beyond our control in that process,” says Nicoletti.
DORA has spoken out publicly against the law after releasing a scathing report saying complaints about private investigators in Colorado were “virtually nonexistent.”.
Under the private eye law, since 2015, 77 complaint files were opened and only eight disciplinary actions taken. Of those, six were conditional licenses, issued to individuals because of behavior prior to being licensed, not after. Of the remaining actions, two were dispensed to one individual who was issued a letter of admonition as well as a practice stipulation for harassment against another private investigator.
No private investigator licenses have been revoked under the current law.
Private investigators have been regulated by DORA since 2011. Requirements to obtain a private investigator’s license include being at least 21 years old, submitting an application, passing a background check, passing a jurisprudence exam, posting a surety bond and paying fees.
Three months after its professional development institute was to begin, the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) will host the institute on Zoom.
The PPIAC will hold its Colorado Investigative Development Institute on June 5 and 6, after the original event was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But instead of being taught how to be a private investigator from the Hilton Inverness in Englewood, where the original event was to take place in early April, the PPIAC now says participants can “learn from the comfort of your home or office!”
The online institute is priced at $250 for PPIAC members and $300 for guests.
An email blast from PPIAC president Andrea Orozco says the June event will feature “over 13 hours of instruction, networking, resources and valuable tips for your career as a professional investigator.”
The PPIAC is a nonprofit organization that provides education, training and legislative advocacy for professional private investigators.
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