Many investigations begin with a trail of bread crumbs, small clues or perhaps seemingly insignificant facts. Sometimes there are multiple trails, with multiple branches. Which path should be followed? Sometimes the answer isn’t so clear. Obviously, a good investigator will follow the branches which are most likely to bear an abundance of useful information first and move on from there. However, some trails give no clue as to where they might lead, or they may seem initially promising. How do you decide which trail to follow?
Once the most fruitful trails have been followed, it may be time to revisit the trails not followed. But, a quality private investigator will typically not do so on their own, rather, they will contact the client and incorporate them into the investigative process at this point. After all, it is the client’s money that is paying for it, and they should be the ones to make the decision as to whether or not certain trails are worth traveling down. An investigator should offer advice based upon their thoughts and experience, but ultimately, it is the client’s decision.
On occasion, an investigator may choose to follow a trail of bread crumbs without consulting the client first. Extreme caution should be used when doing this. Even an experienced investigator might not be able to articulate why they choose to do this (a hunch or “hinky feeling”), but they should be willing to accept the fact that it is not ethical to bill the client for this type of work unless it is fruitful. Even then, the bill for this type of work should be relative to the value of the information developed. This business is not always an exact science and a great deal of valuable information is derived by following crumb trails. The trick is to be able to develop that instinct which guides the investigator down the best trail.