Is Your Private Investigator Qualified?

Many licenses regulated by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) require a Qualified Manager (QM).  Some of the licenses that require a QM are Private Patrol Operator, Alarm Company, Repossessor Agency and Private Investigator.

California Business & Professions Code section 7536 requires that each private investigator license have a QM.  More than 95% of the time the individual private investigator is his or her own QM.  This means they meet all of the qualifications to be licensed by the state.  Qualifying factors include a clear background check, meeting minimum experience requirements, passing a written examination and paying required fees.

Section 7536(c) permits a Qualified Manager to act as a QM to five additional licensees.  A typical scenario involves a person who wants to enter the private investigation profession in California, but lacks the required experience.  This person can apply for a private investigator license if they have someone who agrees to act as their QM.  In this arrangement, the QM will enter into an agreement with the applicant, track their hours and collect a percentage of their net earnings.  BSIS requires an additional written statement that details the level and degree of supervision the QM will provide to the licensee.  In the ideal world the level of supervision is adequate to ensure the licensee does not violate the law and learns properly.

Anyone who owns their own business knows it takes more than 40 hours per week to operate the business.  Taking on the supervision of a second, third or fourth business is a monumental task.  I know QM’s who are properly mentoring and supervising licensees.  I also hear of those who are not.  The licensee is left to flounder.

Is your private investigator one of these licensees?  Is your private investigator sharing confidential information with another party without your knowledge?  Ask them.