What Do Private Detectives Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties

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daily life of a Private Detective and Investigator
are Private Detectives and Investigators happy with their job

Private Detectives and Investigators

Other names for this job might include Alarm Investigator, Asset Protection Detective, Background Investigator, Bonding Agent, Cash Shortage Investigator, Certified Legal Investigator, Detective, Detective Investigator, District Agent, Field Investigator

  • $52840
  • 73%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
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Being A Private Detective: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Private Detectives and Investigators do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Private Detective and Investigator or not.

Job summary

Private Detectives gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

We asked Private Detectives how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


73% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Private Detectives Write reports or case summaries to document investigations. They Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.

A typical day for A Private Detective look like this:

Prepare investigation or incident reports.
Examine records or other types of data to investigate criminal activities.
Use databases to locate investigation details or other information.

We asked some Private Detectives a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?94% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?80% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?31% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?49% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?43% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?53% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?5% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?46% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Private Detectives do, they Obtain and analyze information on suspects, crimes, or disturbances to solve cases, to identify criminal activity, or to gather information for court cases. They might also Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Private Detectives Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals’ character or financial status. and Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.

In addition, they Alert appropriate personnel to suspects’ locations.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Expose fraudulent insurance claims or stolen funds.

To some Private Detectives, it is also their responsibility to Confer with establishment officials, security departments, police, or postal officials to identify problems, provide information, or receive instructions.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Examine records or other types of data to investigate criminal activities.
Investigate personal characteristics or activities of individuals.
Interview people to obtain information about actions or status of individuals.
Observe individuals’ activities to gather information or compile evidence.
Record crime or accident scene evidence with video or still cameras.
Communicate situation details to appropriate personnel.

Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as A Private Detective, you can expect to work More than 40 hours per week.

Do Private Detectives work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Private Detectives work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Private Detectives work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Persuaders and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

You also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

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Career type

Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
Security and Protective Services

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Related to Private Detectives and Investigators Job Description

Private Detectives and Investigators job description, what do Private Detectives and Investigators do, typical day for Private Detectives and Investigators, what is it like to work as a Private Detective and Investigator, how many hours do Private Detectives and Investigators work, day to day work of a Private Detective and Investigator

Additional resources

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