FAQs

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What are your business hours? Are you really local?
Normal case intake and business hours are Monday through Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 (9am to 5pm).

We'll schedule unusual hours to suit your availability, and of course weekends are a prime time for some types of investigative work.

The phone has a fabulous answering device on it; if no one is in office to take your call, feel confident when you leave a message that your information is confidential and no one other than the Agency has access to the inner office.

We are very local. All the associates and Agency Principal live here in Puget Sound, we've been doing business in University Place Washington since 2007.

How does this work? Do we need to come to you?
Most of the time, we work with clients on the phone, through emails and by delivering reports online. Sometimes large media files
and DVD authored media are sent by Priority mail to you, or at your option, download from a server.

Occasionally we may meet your for consultations, or visit your business site; but those are somewhat rare and seldom necessary unless we are evaluating a location for loss prevention or to set up security penetration testing.

What does it cost to hire an investigator?
Depending on what you need done, here are some ranges:
  1. Investigators in Puget Sound range from $55.00 to $150.00 per hour.
  2. We're about in the middle.
  3. Liston and Associates work on a deposit basis for most clients.
  4. "Background Checks" are billed for actual time expended. That depends on how wide a search, and how specific the data needs to be. The range is usually 3/4 hour to 4 hours casework time.
  5. Asset Profiles typically take 1 to 3, perhaps 4 hours of casework plus expenses. We only charge for the actual time it takes.
  6. Surveillances are booked at a 4-hour minimum so count on at least $400 with media and report for a one-agent half day.
  7. Court Records usually take between 5 and 15 minutes for each case's dockets for locally available online cases.
  8. Check the PDF Downloads for a Financial Services menu.

How many agents are needed on a surveillance?
If the surveillance is static (not moving) one agent can usually suffice. It's also possible to legally augment your agents with a live GPS tracker as a "force multiplier".

Generally, when subjects start driving (go mobile in spy-speak), at least two agents are needed for a better-than-50% probability of success.

In Washington State, the WSP uses four police agents per one subject; DEA uses six to twelve per surveillance subject. This is a good time to wonder why they don't use just one.

In rural areas where unusual vehicles will instantly stand out like neon signs, several agents may be required to cover all possible routes, because having direct view (eyes-on) a subject house may not be tactically possible or would compromise the investigation before it got started.
It is not extravagant to properly staff a live surveillance with two or three agents if the situation calls for it; your consultation will include a job evaluation to recommend adequate staffing. Ask your point of contact about coverage requirements.

Where can I verify a P.I.'s License status?
Washington State's DOL page HERE and select Private Investigators from the "Type of License" drop-down menu to start. The link opens a new tab. You may verify our Agency Principal's license by clicking here. (opens a new tab)

Who are some of your clients?
Meet some of our clients


How much surveillance experience do you have?
Combined, the two lead surveillance agents have performed more than 10,000 hours of live in-field experience.

What is the main key to a successful investigation?
Client communication and participation. In other words: you!

When clients put forth the effort to participate by promptly providing their investigators with the information they need, they save money: first, because the investigators are more efficient, second, because casework time is not spent re-discovering that which the clients already know.
Finally, the casework is finished sooner. That benefits you most of all.

But, "helpfully" inundating your investigator with irrelevant information is usually a waste of everyone's time. Your investigator must know LEGALLY why the work is being done, but does not need to know the whole backstory; it distracts from the assignment and takes valuable energy away from the task at hand.

We'll return briefly to the airline ticket analogy we use in the Private Clients Section: Your airline's ticket agent needs to know where you are going and when you are going there. They don't have to know about someone who once had flower beds in Salt Lake City. Similarly your investigator must know the objective and when you need your report.

A great question to ask your investigator is, "what do you need to know that I might already have?"

Can I "help out" on surveillances?
The best way to assist in your surveillances is to keep the investigation quiet and strictly confidential between the Agency and your attorney.
Family members and friends can learn of the activities later, if necessary, but during a field assignment, the success of the surveillance and the very safety of the investigators can be compromised by seemingly innocent gossip.

The worst thing a client can do is "help" by driving by the location under surveillance or by distracting your agents by asking for phone updates and texts.

This type of "help" is called client interference. Don't do it.

What can I expect from my investigation?
Though it's become a corny cliché', "just the facts" is really what this is all about.

The job of your investigator is not to find only what you wish them to find. Their job is to find whatever there is, then report that finding to you, promptly, accurately and succinctly.

Investigators are in the information business. We aim to obtain the information you need. It may or may not be what you hoped it would be; but bias is not part of a successful investigation's recipe. Drama has its place in the movies, perhaps, but it has little use in professional investigations.

How many times can surveillance agents be "made"
(as surveillance) by a subject?

Exactly once. As BATF surveillance specialist Gene Robertson once said to me, "...so it'd better be worth it."

Can we place our casework deposit online?
Yes. The link for your secure deposit is right here.
We use PayPal so all major credit and debit cards are accepted. No additional fees are charged to you.