What PI equipment do I really need to get started?

What PI equipment do I need?

In our experience, this is one of the first questions many aspiring PI’s ask. If you are thinking about starting a career in private investigation do not run out and buy loads of PI equipment. Resist the urge. Sure, you need some, but you should buy the equipment as you go along. Build your inventory as you build your experience level. No private investigator ever used all their equipment on the first day, week or even month of their PI career.
The basics you will need to start with include:

  • Good quality digital camera with zoom lens
  • Torch
  • Digital recorder
  • Pen & Paper
  • Binoculars
  • Laptop, printer and internet connection

Other equipment you can pick up as you go along. We don’t recommend spending £400 on a GPS tracker until you get a job that you need to use it for. Likewise for covert cameras, build them into the price of your initial jobs and it will help you maximise your budget. Save the money for marketing and remember the principles of the business triangle. At the beginning you need to invest your money into marketing to make your phone ring…..equipment sitting on the shelf not being used is not smart use of your budget.

Where should I buy PI equipment?

If you are serious about wanting to become a PI – do not buy cheap overseas (typically Chinese) equipment online. Yes, it is cheap, but often there is not an English version of the instruction manual and even if you can work it out it will probably break after one or two uses. It will cost you more money over time – buy once and buy properly. The better suppliers will provide warranties for when things go wrong, plus give you advice on what is the right tool for the job. For GPS trackers we recommend www.bluetrackgpstrackers.co.uk

Do I need a surveillance vehicle from the beginning?

Simply, yes you will need one, not many PI’s remain in business for long without one. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on your first one, but it will be the biggest investment you make in PI equipment. We give further advice and demonstrate the perfect starter surveillance vehicle on our PI taster course.

Read the instruction manual!

One last recommendation, when you do buy a new piece of kit, take the time to read the instruction manual. So often, people rip it out of the box and start using it without knowing the full potential of what it can do – to the stage of where we have seen PI’s who have five or six cameras and video recorders when if they read the manual properly they would have realised one would suffice for all their needs!