In South Carolina and most other states, Private Investigators must be licensed.  Licensing requirements vary, but rarely do they provide any guarantee of quality.  Beware of large national firms that simply take your case and then subcontract to local solo investigators with whom you never have contact.  Lack of proper licensing can jeopardize an investigation, so make sure you know that the person(s) who will actually perform the work for you are properly licensed.


All Private Investigators should have liability (or E&O) insurance. Don’t be afraid to ask about this, and to require proof if you have any doubts.  A professional PI will understand this concern and willingly provide you with this information.


No formal education is required to be a Private Investigator in South Carolina.  However, although college or advanced degrees are not necessary, they reflect understanding of commitment and sense of responsibility, both of which are important characteristics for any professional.  When looking for a PI, consider whether his or her educational background gives them specialized knowledge that could be applied to your specific case.  If the investigator will be required to blend in with certain people or groups to complete the investigation, level of education can be an important factor.


Detectives are professionals.  Consider whether the PI you are considering holds himself out as a professional.  Does he speak, write, and conduct himself professionally? Does he have a website?  Is it well-organized and free of spelling and grammatical errors?  Does he pay attention to detail?  Does he dress professionally?  Does he have an established office? Is his office well-organized?  Is he on time?  Does he return your call promptly?  Do you trust him? Do you have reservations about referring your clients or friends to him? Would you be comfortable having him appear in Court on behalf of you or your client?  Trust your instincts, and do not settle for a Private Investigator that does not act professionally.


How long has the PI been in business?  Is he or his firm investing in the community through Chambers of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, charity sponsorships, or other civic commitments?  Does the investigator or firm have experience with the type of case you are working on?  How much? How sure are you that the firm and the people who worked on your case will still be there a year or two in the future?  These can be important factors when finding a private investigator.


If you are considering a large national firm, how long have they served your community?  How well do they know your area?  How effective have they been?  What kind of customer service do they provide?  How do you know who will be working on your case? Do they have a local established office, or are you dealing with a voice on a well-advertised toll-free hotline?  Is the cost significantly higher than hiring a local private investigator, and if so, is it worth it?

If you are considering a solo detective or a small firm, how long has the firm been established? Can they handle multiple cases at once, and if so, how? Does the investigator work from home, or has he invested in a professional office location? What support staff does the firm have?  Does he have the proper resources (database access, specialized cameras, Tech devices, etc.) in stock or will he have to rent them?  Does he plan to subcontract any of the work on your case and if so, to whom?  Have others used the firm and recommended their services to you?  How will they maintain contact with you and your client?

In whatever size firm you are considering, look for strong management and a sense of teamwork among the employees.  A Private Investigation firm should have an established office, an administrative assistant, and its own stock of specialized equipment.  You should be able to speak directly with those handling your case, and there should be no difficulty reaching someone.  The firm’s senior investigators should be well-qualified and capable of guiding, training, supervising and directing the other investigators.  The firm should also be willing to invest in the community, so look for memberships in professional organizations, Chambers of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau.


Does the investigation firm you are considering have access to specialized equipment? Any established, professional private investigator or firm will have invested in the equipment needed to perform investigations quickly and efficiently.   Ask what equipment the firm has in stock.  If an investigator merely states that he has “access” when needed, he probably rents it.


Last, but certainly not least, consider the firm’s reputation.  What experiences have others had with the firm?  What specifically did they like?  Not like?  Ask your fellow attorneys, as well as friends and family.  And of course, ask the PI; if they can provide references, check them out.   It will be well worth your time.

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    What Our Clients Say About Us

    The private investigators at Stillinger were quick to respond to my case and very knowledgeable. I was VERY impressed with the professionalism, and discretion of their staff. Very dependable and trustworthy private investigators. Thanks.

    Lexington SC is a small town and it is hard to find someone you can trust with sensitive matters. A friend told me about Stillinger and they were incredibly professional and took care of me quietly.

    Always a had a great experience using Stillinger investigations. These guys are truly the best private investigators in the business are and I can sincerely recommend them to anyone in need of critical information. A+

    The best detective agency I’ve ever used for solving difficult and unusual cases.

    My firm recently hired Stillinger Investigations investigations for a complex litigation case and we were very pleased with the the results. They were very responsive, professional and effective. We would certainly hire them again.

    These guys are the best ! Me and my family will be forever grateful for their amazing service. Very professional and honest . Thank you so much . I highly recommend them.

    I’m used different private investigator companies over the years and this by far has been the best experience and produced the most results for me. I definitely recommend Stillenger over the competition in SC!

    I had never consulted a private investigation service before so I consider myself extremely lucky to have found Stillinger and its devoted owner. They helped me uncover the truth about a very deceitful person and prevented me from incurring substantial losses in my business!

    There are so many private investigators out there i went by ratings and honestly top notch work. i was so pleased i sent a thank you gift, 10 stars in my book! i would use this company again without a second thought!

    I needed help with a messy divorce and child custody case and Stillinger was the perfect fit to help in a difficult situation. THX!!!

    I spoke with Brian Stillinger over the phone and they immediately got to work on my situation. They were very helpful and the cost was extremely reasonable. I am an attorney who practices in another state I needed them to do some investigatory work in Rock Hill and they were very thorough.

    Stillinger Investigations has the best private investigators your money can buy. Thanks for all you guys have done for me and my company, I’ll be sure to use you again in the future.

    The best private investigator agency I’ve ever used, especially when reliability and confidentiality are of the utmost importance.

    Best in the business delivered the results I wanted under budget and faster than expected ! Would recommend them to anyone wanting results.

    Discreet, professional and confidential. Very pleased with my results. Thank you Stillinger Investigations.

    After calling a few different PI’s in Rock Hill and Charlotte, i realized this firm had their stuff together. They answered my call right away and spent about 30 min on the phone with me helping guide me without even talking/asking about money.

    Stillinger Investigations is quick, efficient, and professional. A+ company!! I totally recommend them if you ever are in need of a private investigator .

    Incredible staff. They came highly referred by a colleague and I am glad that I chose Stillinger Investigations to work on my case. I also really liked how everything was handled with such high level of professionalism and discretion, and how they had an expert for each complex task.

    We needed some sensitive data recovered from an employee hard drive and Stillinger’s digital forensics was amazing!

    Stillinger Investigations handled a matter for a close family member. Great customer service, timely responses and attention to detail in understanding the situation. Completed exactly what was asked with the utmost thoroughness and would highly recommend to anyone.

    Five stars for Brian! I think he is doing a great job, especially given the nature of this ongoing case. I couldn’t ask for a better criminal investigator.

    As a busy litigator, I rely on Stillinger Investigations to provide comprehensive and thorough investigations for and on behalf my clients. Stillinger Investigations consistently provides excellent services in a discreet, professional manner.

    Stillinger was recommended by a close friend for having unique resources and being very discreet. I am glad that I chose them.

    As a large business owner who often hires new employees and forms new partnerships, having a resourceful investigator on your side who can find any information on anybody is an incredibly valuable asset to my company. If you’re in need of accurate and reliable truth finding to make strategic decisions, hire Stillinger Investigations.

    Finding a great private investigator wasn’t easy. I initially hired one company due to their low rates – which should have been a red flag. Well, it turned out that they were completely unqualified to handle my case causing me even more of a pain, so learn from my mistakes and hire the best private investigator in Columbia SC the first time. Hire Brian Stillinger and his team of veterans to do the job right!

    I highly recommend Stillinger Investigations in Columbia. They are very professional, quick to respond and helpful.

    These guys are very good at what they do. My child custody issue over my daughter was rough. Thankfully my attorney suggested talking with Stillinger Investigations about my situation.
    After making the decision to move forward, it was smooth sailing. They provided the evidence needed to prove my case and get legal custody of her!

    Stillinger Investigations are probably the best private investigator company in the Richland County area if not South Carolina. Their private investigators are professional, efficient and compassionate to your case needs. I would highly recommend Stillinger Investigations ! thx!!

    Call Us Today! (888) 699-3350 
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    Disclaimer: At Stillinger Investigations our private investigators strive to conduct investigations with integrity. At no time, can we guarantee the results from our investigations. On every case, expense and court appearances are in no way contingent upon or related to the outcome of any legal, court action, or proceeding.  Also, if the Client does not have an attorney, they should be made aware that the outcome of the investigation may or may not have any bearing on their case.