Frequently Asked Questions About Private Investigators

How much do you really know about what a private investigator in Knoxville does? If you have never needed to hire one, your knowledge probably comes from old detective movies! With that in mind, we have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions we have encountered as a private investigator in Knoxville to help you learn more about real-life private eyes!

1 - What is the benefit of using a private investigator in Knoxville?

We are often asked about the benefits of hiring a private investigator because people sometimes think they could play detective themselves! However, working with a professional private investigator will save you time and money - and may even keep you out of trouble with the law! They are highly skilled at finding information and conducting surveillance and will be able to locate the information you need much more efficiently than you would on your own. They also understand the law and what they are allowed to do in their pursuit of knowledge. This is important, especially in surveillance situations, as they know when and where it is permitted to record an individual or photograph them.

2 - What is the highest-paid private investigator?

Every private investigator prices their services differently. They should give you an idea of what they will charge if you are considering hiring one. Pricing often depends on the task you are hiring them to complete. For example, the highest-paid private investigators specialize in high-risk security situations and corporate cases. Factors such as their experience, the location of the job, and the services required will also impact the cost of hiring a private investigator.

3 - Does a private investigator in Knoxville need a license?

The short answer is yes! Every private investigator in Knoxville and the rest of Tennessee needs a license from the Department of Commerce & Insurance, Private Investigation, and Polygraph Commission. In order to obtain a state license in Tennessee and become a private investigator in Knoxville, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum age of 21 years
  • U.S. Citizen or resident alien
  • Have mental competence
  • Either own a licensed company or be affiliated with one
  • Be of good moral character
  • No history of deceit, fraud, or misrepresentation
  • No drug or alcohol addiction or dependence

If you meet these criteria, you must also submit fingerprints for processing and undergo a criminal history check. A private investigator in Knoxville must also pass an exam that is designed to measure their knowledge and competence. Once a license is obtained, private investigator license holders are expected to complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education every two years, which is the license renewal period. At least one of those hours should be related to ethics.

4 - Would I be a good private investigator?

If you are interested in becoming a private investigator in Knoxville, the first thing to consider is whether or not you have the natural traits that would make you suited to the job. You need to be detail-oriented, logical, and persistent. You will need to have an analytical mind and excellent communication skills. A private investigator in Knoxville often has to work long and unsociable hours, so it is important that you have a strong work ethic and don’t mind putting in long hours. If you feel that you do meet these criteria, the next step is to develop additional skills and acquire the knowledge you will need to carry out the tasks assigned to you. One of the most important things you need to know is how the law applies to investigative work. You must be ethical and work within the confines of the law.

5 - What Kind of Cases Does a Private Investigator Work On?

The reasons why people hire a private investigator in Knoxville are incredibly varied. They work on a wide range of cases, from background checks and surveillance to finding missing persons. Some of the common types of cases a private investigator may consult on include family law cases, including child custody, divorce, child support cases, and infidelity accusations. Insurance companies may also hire them to investigate accidents and personal injury claims. A private investigator may be tasked with forensic accounting, background checks, and fraud investigations in the corporate world. These are just a handful of the types of cases a PI might be asked to consult on.

6 - Is There Anything a Private Investigator Cannot Do?

Private investigators do often have access to information that the general man on the street does not, but just like everyone else, they are bound by the restrictions of the law. Everything that they do must be done legally. Some of the things they are not permitted to do include:

  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer
  • Wiretapping
  • Obtaining cell phone records or other information via pretexting

These are just a few of the questions we are asked about private investigators. If we haven’t answered your question and you are considering working with a private investigator in Knoxville, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Uncover the truth!


Ken Shull served as a Special Agent with the FBI for almost 25 years and was head of the FBI Polygraph program until his retirement in 2001. At that time he set up the Kendall Investigations practice as a private investigator in Knoxville, TN offering Polygraph services, private investigations, and security guards. Ken is a member of the American Polygraph Association and The American Association of Police Polygraphists.

The Truth is Still the Truth Even if No One Believes it, A Lie is Still a Lie Even if Everyone Believes it.