“ Trustify will damage the investigations industry, we should never sell our services for $30 per hour. We are offering professional investigations at a premium. ”
I agree 100% with this concern, but the fact of the matter is that we’re working as subcontractors for another company that is selling their service at $70+ per hour. The only way that Trustify could hurt our industry was if they were undercutting our services and selling investigations at $30 per hour. If that were the case, then yes, our industry would be hurt and our services would be devalued. But advertising competitive rates to their clients means that we can compete against Trustify – assuming we can attract the client base.
“ Trustify is not licensed in every state, they will get our companies sued”
This is what I thought, too. Turns out, Trustify is no different than a Craigslist or Angies List. They are a middle man. The process works like this:
- Trustify receives an e-mail from a client.
- Trustify screens the client.
- Trustify puts their client and the investigator in contact with each other.
- Investigator works out investigation specifics directly the client.
- Investigator lets Trustify know what the client needs and begins the investigation.
- Investigator turns in all evidence to the client and tells Trustify that the investigation is complete.
- Trustify pays the investigator for the investigation.
- Trustify takes all the risk of getting paid and deals directly with the client after the investigation is finished.
To my understanding, Trustify doesn’t have to be licensed in the state since all they’re doing is sending leads to the investigators. According to a College Professor at a local University, “If they needed to have a license to send out referrals, it would be illegal for anyone to refer private investigators to each other”. Not to mention, according to Mike H. They’re working with every state’s regulatory board and have been working within the states’ laws.
I was in direct contact with the client and handled the investigation entirely by myself. I updated my Trustify contact regarding the investigation and they handled the rest. I told the client, “this is what happened and here is the proof.” I told Trustify, “This is what I told the client and here is my proof.” Trustify then closed off the case, sent me my money, and the case was done.
“Trustify pays too little, they keep all the money while we work hard”
This is an argument that can go both ways. When I was actively subcontracting cases and taking subcontracting cases for my PI agency, we averaged $30-40 per hour as an “investigative privilege” and we paid $30-40 hours for the same reason. The split was always 55/45 (I kept 55% of the income for sending out the lead and taking on the risk, the investigator kept 45% for doing the work and not having to worry about the client afterwards). Trustify’s payment structure is just about the same. They charge $70 per hour and pay out $30 per hour (at least that was the case with me).
With that being said, however, I like to think that my experience, work results, and knowledge is worth more than a novice investigator. Likewise, the experience of a 30 year veteran is worth more than mine. So this is something that they have to work on for sure.
“Trustify doesn’t screen their clients, they could be stalkers”
From my understanding, Trustify screens all of their clients individually prior to sending out the case to an investigator. Once it makes it to us, we have to screen the clients and make sure they are legitimate, the investigation will be ethical, the investigation holds merit, and we’re not going to shoot ourselves in the foot.
I didn’t run background checks on the two cases since everything added up on my end. I’m not sure if Trustify would allow you to charge for a background check on the client, I wish I had asked when I was working the assignments, but that’s definitely something to ask about if you do any cases for them in the future.
“Some areas cost a lot more than $30 per hour”
This is something that I really have a problem with. In South Texas, $30 per hour can go a long way. In New York, Miami or San Francisco, $30 per hour is not even going to cover the cost of gas. I wish that Trustify implemented a sort of percentage payment structure or gave investigators the ability to negotiate prices with the client to make more money per hour.
If that’s not possible, they should at least have set minimums based on the areas of the US where the investigator is located.
“My experience alone is worth a lot more than $30 per hour”
Again, I agree 100%. It would very nice if Trustify had a way to charge their clients for the experience of an investigator. If Trustify is really trying to become the Uber of Private Investigators, I feel they should offer Uber style services to their clients. A 2 door Chevy Cobalt is cheaper than a 4 door Bentley. Likewise, a 5 year seasoned investigator is going to be more affordable than a 30 year veteran with specialized certifications.