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When Hiring a Full-Time Employee is Not an Option

A poll taken by the staff (Printed November 14, 2007) indicated that 44% of private investigators and 40% of process servers are sole practitioners. After taking this poll and compiling the results the staff wrote an article entitled When Should Process Servers and Investigators Hire. This article describes the warning signs that it’s time to consider hiring employees for your firm. If 44% of PI’s and 40% of Process Servers are sole practitioners then they are handling everything themselves. Of course handling everything has its pros and cons as follows:


  • No Overhead Costs
  • No Confidentiality Concerns
  • Know exactly when and how things are done
  • No need to rely on anyone else


  • Overworked
  • Loss of Clients
  • Loss of Income
  • Business Growth is slow or non-existent
  • Family Life Suffers

Some sole practitioners may be willing to accept this arrangement because they figure the pros outweigh the cons, or they may feel that hiring is simply not an affordable option. For many, this means that clients and business may be suffering. Time that is spent on day-to-day operational activities is less billable time they have to focus on their profession, helping clients.

Many investigative and process serving professionals believe the only option is to hire an employee. However, the same technology that makes their investigations and process service easier also brings about an alternative to hiring an employee called a virtual assistant or confidential assistant.

Confidential assistants are independent contractors who pay their own taxes, benefits, and expenses, so there are virtually no overhead costs to the investigative or process serving professional. Virtual and confidential assistants are small business owners so they understand that confidentiality and reliability are critical concerns upon which their employability hangs. They usually have far more to lose than an employee does, if they drop the ball or spill the beans.

Confidential assistants are just as capable of handling the same tasks an in-house assistant can, without being physically present in the office. You should take the same amount of care in investigating a confidential assistant as you would an in-house assistant, including background checks, reference, checks, and previous employment checks. Hire on a trial basis and start small. Have the confidential assistant perform simple, low-risk tasks to begin with, and as the trust blossoms, send them additional types of tasks.

An independent assistant also provides the considerable benefit of being available for very small amounts of work. Try hiring a skilled employee for less than full time, and you’ll quickly end up frustrated, especially if your business really only needs a few hours of help per week.

If your business is in the position of being too big for you, but not big enough for two, consider the benefits that a reputable confidential assistant can offer. In the long run, it may be just the thing your business needs to help it grow more smoothly and operate more effectively.

Tracy Collins has more than 12 years of corporate experiences working in the financial, retail, manufacturing, and education industries, Tracy has acquired skills and experience necessary to help businesses succeed. In 2005, she founded, Collins-Admin Services caters to business professionals who need assistance with their administrative tasks.

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