The Typical Day of Private Investigator

Nearly everyone I speak to at networking events or out and about automatically thinks of how cool a job being a private investigator is so this month I want to take you all through the typical day of a private investigator.

One thing to remember about this blog is that my area of investigation expertise is surveillance so it will be much different to someone who specialising in people finding for example.

The Early Start

Almost always it’s an early start for surveillance private investigators. The main reason why is we like to do our snooping in the dark. By snooping I mean placing vehicle trackers if they’re being used as an aid to surveillance or remote accessible cameras to overlook a doorway for example. All this needs to be done covertly and therefore when most people are asleep. The other main reason is that we need to set up ready to go in place before our surveillance subject leaves the house. If the subject’s routine is out the door by 7am then we need to be there ideally from 6am or at the latest 6:30am.

The Rendezvous

If you go to a McDonald’s in the morning for your breakfast coffee regularly, I bet you have almost certainly by passed a surveillance team having their morning briefing. We will forever favour a McDonald’s as rendezvous point as it has all the essential facilities – food, coffee and a toilet… Remember this is done before we set up for the day.

private investigator

Opening Up the Surveillance and Beyond

We will always start the job before the start time. If we are to start at 8am then our first pictures will usually be at 7:55am and then from there on out we are slave to our subject.

Wherever they go we go including shopping trips, doctors’ visits and meals. All this is done whilst recording our subject’s movements to gather the crucial evidence our client’s need. We will video record as much as possible and where possible eavesdrop and record conversation. So long as it is done in the public domain it is legal before you ask. In my experience I have followed people all over Europe on trains and airplanes so it really can take you anywhere!

Closing the Surveillance

Almost always our surveillance is for an agreed amount of time such as 10 hours so once the time comes, we prepare to finish for that job and look to meet for a team de-brief if needed. We don’t always debrief but sometimes evidence and equipment need to be gathered by the team leader and if there were any problems such as a compromise for example that would have to be de-briefed for what happened and learning points for future.

Onwards to More Surveillance

Sometimes depending on your day, you can carry out multiple surveillance tasks as they are very fluid and not always are they 10 hours long some can be short sharp 4 or 5 hours of work in the morning and then another 4 or 5 hours in the evening.

Onwards to Client Meetings

I personally where my clients allow will never have a meeting first thing as 9 times out 10 the morning is always needed for surveillance as its what we call the lift off. People leave their house for work in the morning and then can be gone all day so the mornings are always the best start time I find.

Client meetings are imperative to any business so it’s typical I have at least some communication with clients whether that be face to face, via Zoom or a phone call it has to be added in.


No decent private investigator is worth his salt if he or she can’t provide his or her evidence in a smart and presentable way to a client. I have been all until the early hours completing reports some days so that my desk is clear for the next day ready to go again. It’s not always done until the late hours and ideally can be managed and squeezed in throughout my day but not always.

The Round Up

The typical working day for a surveillance specialist private investigator can be a very long one. Especially if the client is requesting round the clock observations of a subject. You have to start before your subject and you finish after your subject has sometimes waiting for lights out!

I love the work and the thrill of the cat and mouse scenario we are often in when working on subject’s who believe they are being followed.

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