Have you ever considered becoming a Private Investigator (PI) in Zimbabwe? Many of you have heard this term a lot in movies, television shows, and the like. I suppose some of you might have never considered we can have private investigators in Zimbabwe. Well, it is possible and there are already private investigators offering their services in Zimbabwe. Though of course, there are not that many players in that domain. That in itself presents an incredible business prospect. I figured this could be a business idea you might have never thought of. That is why we shall be discussing how you can start a business offering private investigator services in Zimbabwe.

What Is A Private Investigator

As prescribed by the law in Zimbabwe, a private investigator:

…means a person who, either by himself or in partnership with any other person, carries on a business whereby, at the request of any person as a client of the business and not as a member of the public or any section thereof and for reward, he obtains or seeks for any person or supplies to any person any information relating to:

 (a) the personal actions, behaviour or character; or

 (b) the financial position; or

 (c) the business or occupation; or

 (d) the identity or whereabouts;

of any other person or to suspected criminal offences or civil wrongs, not being information which is contained in a public record.


There are many ways in which you roll out a private investigator business. There are countless niching options to consider. Basically, you can run this business solo – that is often the starting point. Then with time, you can scale it into a private investigations firm.

People who are in law enforcement, active or retired have a head start if they want to become private investigators. However, anyone can become a private investigator if they get the proper certified training. You can enrol for a Private Detective or Investigator course from several institutions. In most cases, you can even pursue such courses wholly online. (It is, however, not enough to just get trained and certified. There are due processes to be followed before operating; more on that later).

Some of the learning areas covered in such courses are, but are not limited to:

  • Types of crimes and investigations
  • Private investigation code of ethics
  • Scope of private investigations
  • Crime scene investigations
  • Handling evidence – from gathering to presentation
  • Surveillance approaches
  • Information gathering
  • Verifying fingerprints
  • Preparing case files
  • Preparing client reports

Types of clients can broadly be either corporate or individual. Possible services to offer can be, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Conducting undercover investigations
  • Video surveillance for purposes of investing suspected cheating partners
  • Investigations involving corporate or business entities
  • Tracing missing persons
  • Tracing persons of interest
  • General surveillance-based investigations
  • Tracing of stolen or lost items
  • Tracing of malicious phone calls
  • Background checks
  • Document verification
  • Intellectual Property (IP) investigations
  • Insurance claims investigations

Key Requirements

There are obviously licensing considerations here you cannot ignore. There is a Private Investigators and Security Guards (Control) Act. If this line of business is for you it is imperative you fully acquaint yourself with this act. It covers all you need to know about licensing and regulatory modalities in Zimbabwe. To operate as a private investigator, you must apply for a private investigator’s license. You will need certain operating items in doing your work. You need the basics e.g. internet connection, PC, mobile smartphone, transportation, and the like. Depending on the scope and sophistication of your services you might need surveillance equipment.

There is a good market for private investigator services in Zimbabwe. You can start solo and with minimal costs involved. I am confident with excellent service delivery you can quickly grow into a firm. With time you can even expand into consultancy and training services. There is actually a gap in terms of training programmes or courses for private investigators in Zimbabwe.