Does a private investigator need a vehicle? This is a question I saw being searched for and I quickly thought to myself, “Of course a private investigator would need a vehicle.” But after some deeper thought about it, I believed there may be some ways around having a vehicle if someone would like to pursue a private investigation career. The quick answer is no, a private investigator does not need a vehicle but continue reading if you want to know why.
What Lines of Work Does a Private Investigator Need a Vehicle?
There are some lines of work in the investigation industry that will require having a vehicle and there just isn’t really anyway you can get around it. These things came to mind when addressing this question.
Conducting Surveillance Will Require a Vehicle
The obvious line of work is surveillance which would require a vehicle. To do surveillance in the traditional sense where you drive to a location and follow your subject from that specific location (home, business, etc..) would require a vehicle.
I am sure there are some type of surveillance that won’t require a vehicle but those scenarios are likely very far and few between.
Scene Investigations Will Require a Vehicle
There are many instances where an investigator must go to a location to photograph and interview witnesses. Those locations are not always bus friendly and might be much further than an investigator is willing to pay for regarding transportation (taxi, Uber).
There are insurance clients that request what is called an immediate dispatch to an accident scene and investigators are given very short notice to be in a location within hours of the assignment.
It is more practical to have a vehicle to travel to these types of assignments.
An Interviewer Will Need a Vehicle
Much like a scene investigation, there are some locations where interviews need to be conducted that are hours away or just not practical to take alternate forms of transportation.
From my personal experience, I have gone to some extremely remote locations to interview people that I wouldn’t have been able to get to without my own personal vehicle or without AWD (all wheel drive).
Working as a Private Investigator for a Company Will Require a Vehicle
Working in the field for an investigation company will require you to have a vehicle. This is because you will be doing all previously discussed assignments in many cases. I haven’t come across an investigation company that hasn’t required a field investigator to have a vehicle unless the company provided the vehicle.
Possible Lines of Work as a Private Investigator That Would Not Require a Vehicle
There are some things a private investigator might do that would not require them to have a vehicle. Here are a few jobs that a private investigator can do without a vehicle
Depending on how in depth a background investigator might investigate a specific individual, a lot of information can be found online, through databases or through phone calls.
If a private investigator had to go to a courthouse in the area where they live, they could take an Uber, Taxi or Bus to that location. They could also hire another investigator to check on physical records or pull physical records should it be needed.
Using alternate types of transportation can become timely and costly. Hiring someone to pull records can add more cost to an assignment than a client might be willing to pay for.
Working as an online researcher requires an investigator to be at a computer and research information. Generally speaking, this shouldn’t require a vehicle.
There are also many opportunities in the investigation industry to conduct interviews (recorded and unrecorded) over the phone. In the insurance investigation industry sometimes the subject we want to interview is out of town, has moved or is away for some reason and it is more practical to attempt a phone interview rather than meet them in their specific location. Sometimes people refuse to meet in person with an investigator but they are more than willing to participate in an interview over the phone.
Case Manager for an Investigation Company
Case managers that work for an investigation company either work from home or they work in the office of the company. Case managers in most cases are responsible for client contact (keeping clients updated on assignments), managing numerous investigators in the field, editing reports, putting together invoices, and dealing with scheduling. These are just some of the duties a case manager will have.
Final Thoughts on Whether Private Investigators Need a Vehicle
There are so many different things private investigators do in the investigation industry that I could probably not name them all. But there are different things within the industry you could probably do and get away with not having a vehicle.
There are many things in the investigation industry that just make it impossible or almost impossible to do without having a vehicle.
If you are looking to get hired by an investigation company I would highly recommend having a vehicle as it may be the determining factor as to whether you are hired or not with a company. Even if an investigation company has vehicles for their investigators it may only be for investigative work and the company vehicle might have to remain in the business when not being used for assignments.
If you are starting your own investigation business or just looking to get hired with a company I strongly recommend having a vehicle in good working order to get yourself around to clients or assignments.
If I think of anything else regarding whether or not a vehicle is needed I will add to this article in the future.