PI: “I dont have enough cases” and here’s why

“I don’t have enough cases”

The single most common excuse we hear from private investigators across the country. Here are a few examples:

Do you currently use a case management system or software? The single most common excuse we hear from private investigators across the country.

Here are a few examples:
Do you currently use a case management system or software?
“No, I don’t have enough cases”

Would you be interested in checking out a free trial of our software to see how it is helping PI’s? “No, I don’t have enough cases.”

Are you familiar with PI Direct Link? Yes. I like the product but I do not have enough cases to justify the expense.

What do companies like G4S, Litigation Solutions and Covent Bridge have in common? They have teams of programmers, IT specialists and consultants working on a daily basis to help improve the technological capabilities of the company. Do you have that?

PI’s often complain that large companies like the ones above get all of the cases and try to subcontract out to PI’s at a reduced rate. That is completely avoidable. Compete with them on a technological level and get those cases yourself.

In the late 1990’s, Omega Insurance Services, which was bought by First Advantage, which was bought by Global Options, which then became Covent Bridge I believe through a series of huge mergers with similar large investigative companies such as ICS Merrill, became one of the largest investigative companies in a matter of a few years.

How? Technology! There had to be more people working on the technology solutions, then there were people working in the office and in the field. Omega figured out, through the use of technology, how to deliver information to the client quicker, more efficiently, and in a more impressive manner than their competitors. Their marketing strategy leveraged and showed off their capabilities. Are you doing that?

Their competitors were sending bulky VHS tapes in large envelopes which the client would receive in three to five days. Omega was delivering video snippets and case updates on a daily basis via their case management platform. What are you doing to separate yourself from your competition?

One of our favorite quotes from industry people came during a webinar PI Direct Link did with Jimmie Mesis at PI Magazine. When discussing price, one of the attendees said they could not afford $49 per month. Jimmie responded and told the investigator if he was unwilling to invest $49 per month in his business, it was time to find another job.

This is what we at PI Direct Link do. Let us be your team of programmers and IT specialists. Let us show you how a case management system can make yesterday the last time you say “I don’t have enough cases.”

Learn more about PI Direct Link at www.pidirectlink.com or email us at info@pidirectlink.com

The Financial Benefits of Case Management Software

What does everyone want?  More money is usually the number one answer and more time for [insert personal choice here] is a close second.  The PI Direct Link case management system helps private investigators with both.  The system and is powerful features help reduce, and in some instances, eliminate the time consuming administrative tasks that most PI’s, managers and owner’s despise.

Case management software is an investment.  Not an expense.

How much time per month do you spend on the following:

  • Who worked what case last week?
  • How much time did they put in on the case?
  • What case expenses and amounts need to be billed to the client?
  • Giving case information to a vendor or subcontractors
  • Gathering information necessary to invoice a case
  • Looking for information is a case file
  • Scheduling staff or subcontractors
  • Creating Reports and Invoices

The beauty of the PI Direct Link software is that it pays for itself.  It saves you time.  Time you can spend pursuing new business, working on a case, doing tasks you can bill your clients for.  If PI Direct Link gave you an extra hour of time per month to do an investigation, would that be beneficial?  What is the software saved you 5, 10, 20 hours of administrative time per month?  If your bank said they would give you $75 if you gave them $29 back, would you do it?  If PI Direct Link allows you to bill out one extra hour at $75 and the monthly cost is $29, would you do it?  Think of software and tools for your business as investments in success and profits.   The time investigators save by having a case management system can be used for revenue generating tasks such as marketing, working a few extra hours of investigation, or taking that new client out to lunch.

Our support team is here to help.  Start your free trial of PI Direct Link today by visiting www.pidirectlink.com.  Signup is quick and easy.  During the trial, experience our awesome customer service and take advantage of webinars, video tutorials, and email support to help you along the way.

 

Private Investigators in the news. For the wrong reasons.

Private investigators in the news is nothing new. PI’s make headlines all the time for the great work they do for families of missing people.  The work they do in the defense of innocent people unjustly charged.  The wide variety of services private investigators conduct on behalf of the individuals and businesses.

In the past two weeks, investigators are in the news for different reasons. Here are a few of the headlines:

“Private Investigator pleads guilty to conspiracy and false imprisonment…..” Click here for full story

“Already incarcerated private investigator could face new sexual assault charge” Click here for full story

“Private investigator convicted for GPS tracking” Click here for full story

“Woman sues private investigator after finding tracking device on car” Click here for full story

“Family of missing boy sues its ex-private investigator” Click here for full story

Questions:

  • Are the lawsuits simply part of today’s litigious society?
  • Are the criminal charges warranted?
  • Are some private investigators taking unnecessary chances during their investigations?
  • Is stepping over the line due in part to pressure from the client to produce results?

We pose these questions to gain insight from private investigators.  We open this discussion and welcome constructive comments from the industry.

 

Try PI Direct Link free for 30 days.  www.pidirectlink.com

Private Investigator Software: I’ve Always Done It This Way

“I’ve Always Done it This way.”

This could be the most well-known phrase to anyone who has ever tried to sell a product or service to anyone, regardless of the industry they are in. In the private investigation industry,  this is heard quite often from private investigators when it comes to improving business processes.

The definition of change: “the act or instance of making or becoming different”. Doesn’t every business guru tell business owners to “stand out”, “be different”, “separate your business from competitors”?

Even if something works, or is right at the time, does that make it ok?  Is that where it ends? Of course not. The business processes of private investigators should be no different. Not too long ago investigators used 8mm videotapes. They were right at the time and worked great.

What if that investigator was unwilling to change since it worked?

That investigator would be spending a lot of money on videotapes and possess a camera that records video in a lower quality. Their counterparts who prefer to advance their knowledge and change with the times are spending no money on videotapes, recording HD video, and leaving those who choose the alternative wondering why business is slow.

“The way I do it works. I do not need case management software”

The dive into the case management software pool is easily comparable. Certainly manila file folders, excel spreadsheets, homemade software, and outdated methods were right at one time and got the job done.

For today’s private investigator, case management software is advancing, readily available, and very affordable. Even for the one-man investigative agency. Try them, use them, and invest in your business. Time is money. Stop wasting it.

Try PI Direct Link free for 30 days. www.pidirectlink.com
678-620-8555

5 Things All Private Investigators Should Know About Case Management Systems

The PI Direct Link team attends Private Investigator. conferences across the country. In talking with PI’s, one of the questions asked quite often was “How do I choose a case management system?” The simple answer is to try the system out. Any system worth paying for will offer a free trial period. Use the tips below to help choose a system that is right for you and your company.

1) Mobile capabilities
One of the main benefits of a case management system is having access to your case information, photos, video, report, etc. Being able to access the information anywhere at anytime on a wide variety of devices is crucial. As we all know, it is convenient to look something up on your phone or tablet without having to drag out a laptop. Having desktop based software only allows access to investigative information when seated in front a particular computer. What happens when you are in the field or at the courthouse? Look for something that is web based and can be accessed from any computer as well as your mobile devices.

2) The Cloud
Don’t be afraid of the cloud. It is the current business model of most technology based businesses, including technologically sound case management systems for investigators. Popular software products such as Microsoft 365 and Quickbooks are moving to cloud based platforms. Anyone who uses online banking systems are utilizing cloud platforms. Online shopping retailers, email programs such as Gmail and Yahoo mail are examples of cloud computing. Online backup software such as Carbonite operate in the cloud. The cloud should be viewed as a positive. If a case management system does not operate in the cloud and is desktop based, you need to ask how old the system is. Any system worth the cost should have a cloud component.

3) Affordability
Cost is an important factor for any investigator. Look for flat rate pricing. If there are a lot of “items” listed in the pricing plan or the plan is long and complicated, buyer beware. Take into consideration the restrictions. A price can be listed at $99 per month, but additional costs can be incurred if you create too many cases, have more than 1 person logged into the system, upload a large file, create an additional report template. A $59 monthly fee can turn into well above $100. Nobody is a fan of “fees”. When you see setup fees, one-time fees, case fees, be sure you are aware of how the final price could elevate quickly.

4) Features and Tools
Good systems will save you time and in turn save you money. Investigators want to be able to save a least an hour a week on administrative tasks so the system essentially pays for itself. Business owners should want to and will receive a return on any investment. Look for items that make the job easier, save time, and cut down on time spent on reports, billing, searching for information, updating the client, and keeping up with cases and assignments.

5) Customization and Personalization
Having your own subdomain is important for personalization to your company as well as for security reasons. For example, if your login page is at XYZDetective.casesystem.com, that is a unique address for you and your users. You can place that link on your website, email signature, business card, etc. Customization is important for many reasons. The main one being one PI’s business is entirely different than the next. One may focus on domestic investigations. Another investigator may do criminal defense work. What if you are doing insurance investigations and want to decide to market and pursue legal or domestic investigations? Look for systems that allow for customization to meet the needs if your business evolves or changes in the future.

Try a case management system free for 30 day.  Visit www.pidirectlink.com

A Private Investigators Take on Case Management and PI Direct Link

I started my firm four years ago and delayed in using a case management system until I could “justify” the purchase. I tried a system last year, but wasn’t happy with it. I was referred to PI Direct Link by a friend, and am finally in control of all of my assignments, clients, and investigators.
Not only is the interface user friendly, but the system keeps track of everything I need. Every morning, I login to the system, and the Dashboard shows me everything I need at a glance. I can read my investigator’s notes, update a client, and see if there is anything urgent due that day.
Additionally, I tried logging in remotely, and could not locate my password. My office manager emailed Brad, and within five minutes, he was on the phone with me troubleshooting…great customer service.
I would recommend the system to any PI firm, large of small…
R. Torres – Torres Protection Group

PI Direct Link Testimonial Provided by a Private Investigator

We often obtain testimonials from our users to help other investigators that may be looking for a case management system.  It also gives us valuable information on how to improve our service.    With that said, we recently receive a testimonial from one of our users in New York that was simply above and beyond anything we had received before.  See for yourself the amount of time and thought Andrew White of Trident Recovery and Investigations Group put into this review and we will let him take it from here.  This is his unedited testimonial.  Andrew, we thank you!

I came across PI DirectLink about 3 months ago.  I had been looking for a case management software that had the ability to be multifunctional yet user friendly, with an intuitive user interface.  I am technically proficient and computer savvy but I wanted those clients or employees who weren’t as computer literate have the ability log in and review the status of their cases so it had to be simple for the average user as well.

Scalability was also important because right now my firm is small but, we are experiencing modest growth and foresee the need for additional investigators and other resources in the future and the flexibility of a software platform to easily incorporate new users is preferable to adopting an entirely new system.

The invoicing of clients is a necessity but can also be one of the more tedious parts of the job, having to switch from database program to accounting software and importing this or that billing item, or worse yet, having to key all the information in from scratch if the two programs do not talk to one another or accommodate the accounting platform you use.

I am happy to say that PI DirectLink is the answer to all the above.  PI DirectLink case management software is a web based software platform, easily accessible from any desktop, laptop, mobile device, or tablet that has access to the internet.

I know what some of you are thinking, “what if I don’t have access to the internet?”  My friends, if you do not have access to the internet, I literally do not know how you are making your living as a private investigator and/or process server.  It is simply a necessity to have access to the internet and you have so many options, even if you live remotely (cable/DSL/satellite/4G-LTE network).

Certainly, you are impeding your ability to provide your clients with valuable information that can be obtained from any number of proprietary database/public records providers; state motor vehicle, criminal, and civil records; and Open Source Intelligence (OSI) like Google, Facebook, and Twitter et al. simply put: the internet is a crucial, mandatory tool for your tool box.  Sticking your head in the sand and saying, “Who needs the internet? I’ll keep doing it the old fashion way!!” is like saying you prefer horseback riding everywhere you go instead of using a car.  Preferable? Maybe.  Practical? Not unless you live in the mountains. But, I digress.  Back to the story!

As I was saying, PI DirectLink is web based and can accessed by initially going to http://www.pidirectlink.com . Once there, you can then download and try the software FREE (No credit card required or asked for) for 30 days.  If you do not like it, you do not have to continue and no one has your information on file to “accidentally” charge your account on a recurring basis. Once you have downloaded the software, it will walk you through setup and provide you with your own unique URL (that’s internet talk for website address) where your clients and employees can access your particular database using individual user names and passwords you assign to them.

Now some of you may be saying, “I’m ok with my employees/vendors having access to the system but I don’t want my clients to have access.” No problem.  PI DirectLink gives you the ability to choose who has access to the database and even to who views certain types of information.  Maybe you are ok with one client having access but maybe not a different client.  PI DirectLink gives you the keys to the car to decide who to let in and who to keep out.  It’s completely up to you and easy to do.

As far as interface goes, this one is very straightforward and easy to use, but still has a slick feel to it.  This means it’s not overly confusing to the novice but also doesn’t look like it was created on your old Commodore 64.  There is a dashboard that quickly summarizes your cases and case status; allows you to quickly see paid and unpaid invoices; and a calendar view that allows you to see what investigative action or activity is scheduled to be taken by the investigator assigned.

It is also where you initially create and enter your cases.  When doing this, the system allows you to assign it to an investigator who can be notified by email (automatically generated at your direction) that they have been assigned a case.  The system will also generate a notification to your client if you so choose, so that they know the case has been assigned and is being worked on.  This allows the investigative manager to assign, notify, and track the progress of the case all in one step.

When going to the Case window, there are a number of options and functions available to you. Incorporating your filing/number/tracking system is easy. PI DirectLink allows you to create your own filing format broken down any number ways you prefer (YY-Case #) (Investigation Type-YY-Case# etc.) and allows you to set the starting point so that you do not have to restart your case numbering system.

The Case window has the standard pedigree case information at the top which continues to flow down to a Case Data section that is inclusive of just about any category or piece of data you could think of that might be relevant to investigations. It has a tab for Vehicles; Images (where you can upload images/photos), Audio/Video (upload interviews you may have recorded or surveillance video for a claimant; a must for those that do workers comp/AOE-COE work), Documents (where you can upload the accident report or other relevant documents you’ve received or obtained in the course of the investigation; Reports (Where you can upload your report); Information about the Insured, Doctors, and Attorneys and tabs for individual billing items and invoices.

A side note about the Billing and Invoice tabs.  You (or your employee) can input the budget set by your client and then, as you go along, enter individual billable items into the system. At the conclusion of the case, when it comes time to get paid, you can go to the Invoice tab and it will automatically pull the information you input into the Billing Section and create an invoice that is customizable with your information and company logo.  This feature is very helpful when trying to remotely track the expenditures on the case and allows for transparency with your client’s money which should ease their mind about how the money is being spent.  You can then print the invoice or email it to your client.  The invoices are viewable in the dashboard for quick reference to see who has outstanding invoices and who is paid.

After the Case Data, there is a section for Case Notes where the Investigator can input daily updates that can be used later for preparing the report and also allows for greater oversight by investigative managers.  The notes need to be approved before becoming a permanent part of the business record so a manager who sees something that maybe doesn’t make sense or is better off being reworded can follow up with the investigator who authored the note and allow them to revise/edit the note. The note also has an option to be emailed to the client once it has been approved so that they can be kept up to date on the case status without being interrupted with phone calls.

You also have the ability to input case reminders in the event you are so busy you don’t remember which investigative action or meeting you have scheduled for a particular case.  This will also show up in the dashboard for a quick view.

Finally, although I haven’t used it yet, the system has the functionality to allow you to create individualized report formats using a report generator.  This allows you to create reports that can be used as templates on a recurring basis.

Behind the scenes, there are a variety of functions that let you customize the look and feel of the software (to include placing your company logo on everything) so that anyone looking at the system and byproducts would believe that it was created just for you with your direct input.  It lends credibility, professionalism, and transparency to your investigative firm.

Pricing is reasonable and is based upon the number of users/licenses needed.  All information is stored to the cloud with storage space based on the number of users. I have spoken with the people at PI DirectLink and they advised that there is redundancy built into the system in the event there is a failure with one of the cloud storage devices.  Security is also paramount as there is obviously legally protected information being saved and people’s personally identifying information (PII).  I always advocate saving your information to multiple, secure locations for redundancy.  You should save everything to cloud storage, on your computer, and on removable media such CD-R/DVD or USB Drive.  This will ensure your data and forms are safe in the event of a catastrophic failure of one of your formats.

This brings me to support.  The folks at PI DirectLink are very responsive to your needs.  First, in the form of training, PI DirectLink created a series of training videos on YouTube that can be accessed and reviewed at your leisure.  These are not 2 minute videos that leave you scratching your head saying, “That wasn’t helpful in any meaningful way” but rather in depth and easy to follow along (think Denzel Washington in the movie “Philadelphia”: “Explain this to me like I’m a two year old”).  There is a training video that is comprehensive and a little over an hour long.  Don’t have that kind of time? The video is also broken down into shorter vignettes based on subject. Additionally, the folks at PI DirectLink want and need your input.  They strongly encourage users to submit ideas and issues for improvement that can be incorporated in future updates/builds.

If you are looking for a multifunctional, cross-platform, easy to use, comprehensive PI case management software at an affordable price, I strongly encourage you to try PI DirectLink.  As I stated before, it’s free for 30 days and you do not have to provide any payment information until your trial is up and you decide to continue using it.  I’m certain you will.

**Contact Kyle Propes at PI DirectLink with any questions at: 678-620-8555 or kpropes@pidirectlink.com .

***Full disclosure: I wrote this testimonial voluntarily however, I will likely get $5 off my next bill.  They only asked if I was willing to provide 4 lines of testimonial. I’ve gone and written 6 pages because I like it so much!  It took me an hour or so to write and review it and I can assure you my hourly rate is way higher than $5 an hour, so I wouldn’t call it compensation!

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