Monday, June 28, 2010

British Columbia PI firms hit hard

Being a licensed Private Investigator in British Columbia since 1980, I have seen the good times, the slow times, the bad times and now the "when will things turn around" times.
Yes, PI's in BC, for the most part have been feeling the slow down of the economy and some more than others.

In British Columbia, many PI firms conduct assignments for our Provincial Automobile Insurance company-ICBC. Many of those firms also have applied to conduct investigations and surveillance on behalf of Work-Safe BC (WCB). Firms that rely primarily on those two sources of assignments are definitely seeing the "when will things turn around" times. Slow?? Heck no!! Almost non-existent is a closer term.

ICBC has a moritorium on and has in one shape or another for about a year. It has been in the last few months that they have totally closed the door to PI's and IA's. When will this be lifted? Nobody seems to be really sure and they (ICBC) are not giving us a potential time frame either. Some people think it will be a few more months but others are looking at some time next year. Either way, the PI's that rely on ICBC as their main stay for work are feeling this in a BIG way.

Work-Safe BC only approves a limited number of firms at any one time to be on their vendor list. It is a long / lenghty process where everything must be completed in triplicate just to apply. They only take applications during set time frames each year and even if your firm is accepted, there is no guarantee you will get a file.

Golden West Investigative Group Ltd, has been one of the lucky ones. Yes, our primary source for assignments has been ICBC but we were fortunate enough to see the writting on the wall a bit ahead of many of our colleagues. As things began to slow down on the insurance side of our work, we targeted other avenues to take up the slack and it worked.

What did we do? We marketed in a BIG way to law firms. Not just for investigation and surveillance files but with an emphasis on Process Serving.
Process Serving not only pays the bills but also keeps us in front of the lawyers without constantly conducted sales calls looking for the regular assignments. Also, a lot of our Process Serving clients are law firms that, when the work starts coming out again from ICBC, will be the same lawyers that will be acting on behalf of ICBC at trial. Hence, we get a double opportunity to be assigned a new file when they start happening again.

Our secondary focus for law firms has been the Family Law lawyers. Yes, they have a constant flow of Process Serving but they also, from time to time, have divorce surveillance work. Granted, in BC (and across Canada), divorce surveillance has dropped off with the changes in the Canada Divorce Act but there are still those few that want to know exactly what is going on and with whom.

The second avenue that has really picked up for us is our Investigation Equipment and Personal Security products web site. Even though investigations may be slow in BC, the sale of low to high end counter-measures equipment, covert cameras and dvr's, GPS vehicle tracking equipment and much more has not stopped on a global scale.

So you see..if you think about it.. and really want to work without getting into Criminal Defence work, there are plenty of opportunities for a PI in BC to keep busy. The secret is to look outside the first avenues of work and see what other opportunities are there.. and there are many.

There are other areas that we have also expanded on, including Custody Access and Access Supervision but to be truthfull, we really don't have a lot of time right now for those.

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or call us at (604) 318-8545

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