By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
"What do you charge for your PI services," is a question most of us, at some point or another, will be asked. The person asking, which can be anyone ranging from friend and acquaintance to Facebook group contact, is probably asking because something in their personal life or in the personal life of a family or loved one needs to be resolved..
Whether or not you are a licensed private investigator --and in my case, I am not licensed and I do not want to be-- they may also need information that does not require a licensed private investigator to obtain and the question, "how much do you charge for your private investigation services?" is actually conscious or unconscious code for, 'will you help?'
"I'm just looking around for someone to do some background digging. I have to figure out how much it's worth to me to get the info. ;-)" the person responded when I informed her the firm I work for has a $500 minimum retainer for a background investigation.
When she specified she was looking for, "more than an apartment rental, less than a security clearance," I pointed out that myriad online services are available to landlords. They can obtain something that doesn't go very in depth for around $50 online. That is a background "check" as opposed to a background investigation, however. And again, a background investigation starts with a $500 retainer fee.
"That is probably more than I can justify paying for this particular project and more background check than I need," she acknowledged.
"Alright," I said reiterating that a background investigation is different than a background check and it something you can't just get from a basic online service for a $50 fee.
"Okay, that all sounds good. I suspect it's going to turn out to be more than I'm willing to spend, but I'd be happy to chat with someone about it, and my budget's not nothing," she said. So I wished her well and referred her to the Denver Public Library which offers access to online phone directory and newspaper listings.
"We often to asked to help find someone (their current phone number, current address, reverse lookup, etc.) or we help someone use something like an inmate locator. But as far as actually researching the background and history of a person, that's a bit different and we aren't really able to do that very well" said one of Denver's Central Library reference librarians when I asked. "Our genealogy department, obviously, helped people locate their family and ancestors, but that's also different."
Hiring a private investigator to do a background investigation is the route you take when you've exhausted options like the public library and $50 background checks.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
You got busy. Then you then procrastinated and now you have to figure out what to get the kids for Christmas. Too late to order by mail but look on the bright side. Kids don't know how much of your time is spent monitoring driveways, watching and rewatching slip n' fall footage and finalizing the final revision of your witness testimony reports and thanks to a robust children's literature industry --conveniently saturated with an abundance of scrappy, savvy teen and adolescent sleuths-- some kids may actually regard you as the grownup embodiment of Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown.
Read also: 85 years of Nancy Drew detective stories
We recommend leveraging this perception to help with the crisis at hand. In other words, yes literary misconception about the private investigation and security profession are at best, irritating but this this is the time of year to make the most of the trench coat, magnifying glass and fedora. Especially if you're trying to make some last minute, on-the-spot Christmas magic happen.
Read also: Valentines Day gifts for private investigators
For starters, if, in the worst case scenario, you had to improvise something on Christmas morning, you can always grab a boxcutter and turn a cardboard delivery box, pair of old socks and the kookiest witness interviews of the last half-decade into original and memorable puppet sketches for the kids to watch or even participate in.
Better yet, you could track down a couple of Unemployed Philosophers Guild Sherlock Homes finger puppets, pair them with the right music playlist (a simple google search lead us to some spy kids ones) and you'd have the option of placing Sherlock in the show!
If they're totally in love with the puppet theater progress you'll have the entire 2019 season to take them to shows at The Denver Puppet Theater, located at 3156 West 38th Avenue, Denver, CO 80211.
Unfortunately, the local independent company has a real life unsolved crime. Between $300 and $500 worth of hand puppets were stolen in May of this year for reasons that still seem to elude the owners. Who would steal a bunch of puppets from a puppet theater? Perhaps a new case assignment will also come out of it.
There is even a Denver International Airport Tattered Cover if you're headed out of town for the holiday and want to grab something on the way. Additional book recommendations are covered in our books for kids segment in our content partner, Pursuit Mag's article. .
Back to the local Denver metro area, though. Taluah Jones, located at 1122 east 17th avenue in Denver has a cubby shelf featuring spy gear, walkie talkies, fingerprint detectives, invisible writing ink and spy view specs according to a sales associate we spoke with on the phone. They have also extended their evening hours to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate -ahem- last minute Christmas shoppers.
Second Star to the Right, located at 4353 Tennyson St in Denver is another incredible locally owned store for kids. They another shop at 1545 South Pearl if that is more convenient. Their sales associate recommended the new edition of Clue because it has "more suspects, rooms and weapons." It also has the classic art of the original. "The character portraits are neat and art in general is older style which is cool." Almost as iconic as Monopoly, Clue thankfully, continues to pass the test of time in flying colors.
Also worth mentioning is we saw the Scientific Explorer, Crime Catchers Spy Science Kits, were sold out at the Glendale Target but seems to be available in area Kohl's, Walmart and possibly the Colorado Blvd Barnes and Noble.
Although the focus has been primarily on locally owned retailers the fact that we're mentioning this now should probably say a lot about how high quality of an educational tool we consider it to be. One of the many reasons we feel this toy deserves a top spot on our recommendation list --besides what we perceive to be simplicity of the educational toy, we feel it's accessibility combined with the importance of preparing kids for STEM careers so you're not supporting them through their early and mid adult years on a limited or perhaps nonexistent private investigator pension.
Whatever you end up with we hope you'll enjoy the holidays and find us on social media to let us know what you got!
Taluah Jones, 1122 east 17th avenue, Denver, Colorado
Second Star to the Right, located at 4353 Tennyson Street, Denver, Colorado
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