BLUE HERON INVESTIGATIONS
Your "Minnesota Private Investigator"
Minneapolis / St. Paul 763-323-7324
If you're seriously interested in becoming a PI, then I suggest that you By visiting the sites of PIs, people like yourself hope to get a good feel
spend a few minutes of your time on this page. If you think that's too long to
spend reading something, perhaps you can go sign up for a PI school
somewhere. We'll talk in a year or two when you think you're ready to apply.
Roughly half of the people who visit this website (or any competitors'
websites for that matter) are doing so because they're interested in
becoming a PI; they're not interested in hiring one. I know this because I
track "key words" and phrases used by people when they visit a search
engine. I know the words and phrases they use to find this site, and I know
which pages they visit the most often once they get here. You found this
site the same way, and for the same reasons, as everybody else who's
interested in becoming a PI.
for the occupation. Others hope to see the equivalent of a "help wanted"
sign. That's why you clicked on the "Careers" tab above. There's nothing
wrong with any of this; it's a logical, legitimate, place to start.
Those who aren't currently looking at the websites of detective agencies
to learn more about the industry, are clicking away at the sponsored ads
that popped up when they typed in "Investigative Careers" into their
favorite search engine; right now, they're looking at the sites of PI schools
interested in making a few bucks off the dreams of others. You might have
checked out some of those sites earlier. They're the ones with good
looking young people on their sites who are holding cameras with
telephoto lenses, binoculars and badges while standing just outside their car doors in hotel parking lots.
So far, it looks like you're a lot like a lot of other people interested in
becoming a PI. What may differentiate you from all the other "I always
wanted to be a PI" visitors to this site, is what you actually end up
doing about it.
Good news for you - half of your would-be competitors haven't made it
this far down the page; they stopped reading this page after the first
line or two, and are now ordering glossy brochures from a PI school
somewhere. Let's hope they go to the school that hands out shiny
badges and window decals (BTW: Doesn't our own Blue Heron
Investigations badge look really really cool?).
Back to reality.
A few people interested in becoming a PI will, after looking at various PI
websites, actually pick up the phone and call a Private Detective or two and
ask them for insight into how they can become a PI, and what's involved in
the process. I know, because I continue to get these calls. I also know,
because I once did the same thing way back when in the age before websites.
Again - there's nothing wrong with any of this. In fact, I give these people
credit (but no real answers) for having the intestinal fortitude to pick up the
phone and call - They risk rejection, and that alone differentiates them from
But do read on.
What the callers generally don't know when they call a PI, is that the PI is very likely going to give them one of
two pat answers:
1) Where to go for an application for a PI license
2) Deliberately misleading information
The first answer gets the caller off the phone in short order. It's given mailing it out) won't tell you anything about the career as a whole - i.e. what it's like, what you can earn, how
by the investigator who doesn't want to be rude, but just can't spend a
half an hour on the phone answering questions. Some of these PIs
will actually provide the answer on their website so that they can
avoid the call in the first place.
The second answer is given by a PI who wants to discourage anyone
interested in becoming a future competitor - i.e. "Go back to school
and get a four year degree in Criminal Justice and then call me back."
I'll tell you right now that simply getting an application for a PI license
in Minnesota won't get you any closer to becoming a PI if you don't
meet certain criteria, and that the PI application (or the agency
competitive it is, etc. I'll also tell you that having a four year Criminal Justice degree won't get you any closer
to becoming a licensed PI in Minnesota. But that's not because there aren't any requirements, because there
Congratulations - you're now only one of about four people who will
open this page. 25% left because of the number of words on this
page, 25% went back to "the Google" and are typing in "PI Badges",
and the other 25% bailed when I mentioned that some PIs post the
state agency that's in charge of PI licensing applications.
Which leaves us with you and me and a fraction of those people
interested in becoming a PI.
I'm good enough at what I do for a living that I am not threatened
by your desire to become a future competitor of mine. I simply
don't believe that you will become a licensed Private Detective in
Minnesota and then put me out of business. No offense, but it's just
not a fear I have.
Since I'm not motivated by fear to provide you with deliberately false and misleading information, and since I'm
not willing to spend two hours of my time on the phone with you when you call, I want to make you an offer that
neither of us can refuse. Actually, you can refuse it if you really want to, but here's the offer just in case:
If you promise not to call me up on the phone and ask me how you can become a PI (as if the answer is nothing
more than a simple 30 second reply) AND I can get a value meal out of you, I'll tell you what you want and need
to know about becoming a PI in Minnesota. Don't worry - you don't actually have to meet me for lunch; just
ante up the equivalent of a value meal and I'll get it myself the next time I'm out.
Deal?common mistakes of resume writers (that always caused me to throw them away), contact information for our
This is what I did to get us both what we really want (you - honest
answers to questions, me - something with cheese):
While I was out doing some god-awful long days of surveillance (we'll
talk about that later) I passed the time by tapping away on a laptop
computer of mine and put together a list of answers to about 40+
questions that people either ask about the PI career, or should ask
about the career (but don't because they don't know any better). I
then (because I was still doing surveillance) included 35 certifications
that Private Investigators can earn, the inside scoop on 25 specific
areas of private investigations that you can specialize in, the 10 most
own state agency's licensing board, contact numbers for other state licensing boards, a list of 7 activities that
DON'T require a PI license, and yes - the names and contact information for various PI schools (if that's what
you ultimately choose to do).
And then I went home for the day because I was tired of doing surveillance and my client's money ran out.
When I was done, I had an ebooklet (I really do hate that term, but what else can we call it?) that's about 77
pages long if printed as a 5 1/2" X 8 1/2" book. It's written in an easy to read (assuming that reading is easy for
you), no nonsense, question and answer format. Some of the questions covered include:
- What’s the difference between a private detective and a law enforcement detective?
- I’m an introvert; would I find this a rewarding career, or just be a miserable failure because of my quiet
- What are some of the things that Private Detectives do, and what’s involved in working them?
- Is this a dangerous occupation?
- Is the PI field highly competitive - is there room for others?
- What can I expect to earn as a Private Detective?
- This seems like a male dominated occupation, are there many female investigators?
- I need structure in my life - set hours, set days, set pay - is this the job for me?
- What’s the “one thing” I need to have to succeed in this field?
- Are there any associations I can join in Minnesota as an investigator?
- Can I do sub contract work for a licensed investigator if I’m not licensed myself?
- What will I need to work as a private investigator for an agency?
- How do I get an interview?
- What are the traits that a PI will be looking for when I interview?
- Is there anything I should be aware of before going to work for a detective agency?
- What can I do if I can’t get hired by another investigator?
- Do I have to take an exam?
- Do I have to go back to school?
- Do I need any “on the job” training before getting licensed?
- What are the mandatory “pre-assignment” training requirements that I’ve heard about?
- Where do I get these “pre-assignment” training hours?
- I have a criminal record, will that keep me from becoming a PI?
- Do I have to have insurance and, if so, for how much? What will it cost?
- Do I need to be bonded and, if so, for how much? What will it cost?
- Are there “loop holes” that will allow me to work as a private investigator in Minnesota without being
- Where do I go for a Private Detective license application?
- What will it cost to start my own business as an investigator?
- What else should I know before starting my own agency?
- Where can I go, as a new PI, to get advice from more experienced investigators?
- Any final observations about the profession that you can tell me?
Now that I've written this ebook, I want you to buy me lunch. If you call me on the phone, I'll just tell you to go
back to school for four years. I want something with cheese. So here's what we're going to do (unless, of
course, you don't want to):
- You decide that $5.50 is a fair price to pay given the fact that you're thinking about entering a new
career. If it helps you any, $5.50 is less than 4 1/2 minutes of investigative work billed at $75.00 an hour.
Or, as I like to think of it - it's about the price of a value meal.
- You pay that $5.50 by clicking on the Paypal button below (or have a friend or relative with a Paypal
account do it for you)
- I send you the e-booklet, as a pdf document, by email within 24 hours (usually sooner)
- You read it, and come to the conclusion that being a PI is either a good thing to pursue, or a terrible
career choice (and BTW - it's a good career choice for some, but a miserable one for others).
- Next time I'm out driving around the cities trying to find someone who doesn't want to be found, am on
my way to a surveillance, going home after serving papers, etc., I go through the drive-through of some
artery clogging fast food outlet and get myself a cheese something with fries.
And we both live happily ever after. Or not.
Or, you can be like a lot of people who think $5.50 is too much to invest in a career, and I end up telling you
when you call that you ought to go back to school for four years. Your choice.
Here are some unsolicited comments that others had to say about the ebooklet...
"...I am so glad to have spoken to you. This information packet on INVESTIGATIVE CAREERS - BECOMING A
PRIVATE DETECTIVE IN MINNESOTA is very detailed, informative and I like the sense of humor. ....you have
answered all my questions and I am happy to have invested my [money], it is worth it...." S
"...I found your paper to be a real positive and informative paper. The format was set for easy read[ing], it
flowed very nicely. I really enjoyed reading it. I think you did an awesome job of responding to the commonly
asked questions. I was extremely impressed that all my questions were answered in a complete manner...."
"I would like to thank you for your EBOOKLET. It was highly informative and has fueled my interest in finally
taking the next step...I mostly wanted to extend my gratitude for disclosing such helpful information. I look
forward to one day working with you in the future." P.R.
"THANK YOU so much for writing this eBook. I sat down right after downloading it and read the whole thing
over my lunch break today. It was the best "lunch" I ever bought.....The investigative area is very interesting
to me and I was just looking into schools and how I can get started, and then I found your site through
Google....Well, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this eBook. You will be hearing from me
again as I move forward in my career change and get more involved in this field." M. L.
Your e-booklet will be sent to you in pdf format, easily downloaded, to your e-mail address within 24
hours (if ordered during the work week) of receipt of payment.
©2006 Blue Heron Investigations, MN. All rights reserved.
HOW TO BECOME A PI
Thomas M. Goodpaster