What this Texas PI needs most are tools for solving flat tires, backaches, and organizational office madness.
1. Clio Manage
By the time another PI recommended Clio on Twitter, I’d been looking for a PI firm management suite for a while, without much luck. We are perhaps not your typical private investigations outfit — we mostly do corporate work, with a side of industrial security consulting at executive level. This, in effect, requires software that lets us keep track of everything we do on both sides of the company, produce very specific invoices tailored to a given client’s requirements, track finances in various tax jurisdictions, etc.
Clio Manage delivers on all fronts. It’s an all-encompassing suite of tools, able to successfully deal with practically every issue that might arise, with a really neat companion app attached for remote work. Sales and customer support teams are superb, and I’ve been, so far, unable to come up with something that Clio can’t do. (Well, it can’t brew coffee, but that wasn’t included in the plan I bought.)
Cons? Cost. Clio Manage is expensive and will likely be out of reach for many investigators. For those who can afford it, however, it’s a tool that turns hours of paper pushing into a few clicks.
Any Texas PI will back me up on this: driving around our state is great until you hit a stretch of road where all you see for about two hours is cows, salt flats, and lone oil rigs.
Notice that I did not mention a lone gas station. Preparation for such drives is crucial, and while all the obvious things such as an ice chest, snacks, a flashlight, a collapsible shovel (don’t judge, I don’t question what you do out in the desert) are easy to think of, there’s one thing that I left off my list: a portable air pump.
Not having one in the car taught me two things: One, you can be religious about keeping your tires pumped and one will still decide to be a rebel. Two, finding a gas station with a working air pump seems to be nothing short of a miracle lately.
The EPAuto portable pump I got doesn’t take up much space, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it does the job well.
Cons? It doesn’t come with a magic fairy to do the work for you.
Be it on surveillance, in court or at the office, what do we PIs do best? Sit. Car seats, couches, benches, whatever it is that they put in courtrooms at the Federal courthouse — all this sitting has one nasty effect on all of us: hurt backs. I’m not an exception. What I got from it was a back so aggravated that I ended up in extended physical therapy.
My therapist suggested I purchase an office chair that did not look like a medieval torture device. Shortly after, a member of my dragon- slaying MMO guild suggested investing in a gaming chair, on the premise that since I needed comfort and I was a gamer, it would be like killing two Necromancers with one Piercing Javelin.
A member of my dragon- slaying MMO guild suggested investing in a gaming chair, on the premise that since I needed comfort and I was a gamer, it would be like killing two Necromancers with one Piercing Javelin.
I’m not gonna lie, OPSeat was running a sale when I found them. I bought one chair, we put it together…and now we’re planning to outfit our entire office with them. We’ve also purchased several for our house. The chairs are downright comfy, well balanced, adjustable in many different ways and won’t break your wallet.
Cons? You’ll need to buy an extra chair if you have pets. OPSeats doesn’t disclose this, but I’m pretty sure they carefully hide cat and dog magnets inside.
About the author:
Drowsygeek is a former programmer who enjoyed working in infosec before she became a private investigator. She’s got 10 years of time in grade as a PI, and close to 20 years of hands on experience in hardening against online threats. She offers her services primarily to the corporate sector, while most of her pro bono work is centered on providing education and resources to victims of online scams. A rabid hater of all things golf and foster mom to hordes of abandoned kittens, she lives and works in Texas.