Profile: Northwest Investigations & Consulting

Startup: Vital signs of a young regional company

— Jonathan Brinckman / oregonian.com
Saturday, February 16,
2008

Northwest Investigations & Consulting 12180 S.E.
Henderson Drive, Portland Formed in June 2007

The product: Private and insurance investigation, including
missing persons, surveillance and pre-employment background
checks.

Price: Based on contract; averages about $75 an hour.

The founder: Steven Robinett, 46, is a licensed private
investigator in Oregon and a general lines insurance
adjuster in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Before
going out on his own, Robinett worked for an insurance
adjusting company and a private investigation company.

 

Employees: Three, including Robinett; Nick Cole, an
investigator with three years of experience; and
Robinett’s wife, Christina, who handles administrative
duties. Clients: Mostly law firms, including Rosenthal &
Greene, Abbott & Paris and The Law Offices of Wendy M.
Kent.

Where they work: They operate out of the Robinetts’
Southeast Portland home.

The idea source: He heard from attorneys who had become
frustrated by the lack of depth — and results — in their
investigators’ work. For example, they’d come up
blank after a computer search and bill the clients anyway.
Robinett was sure he could do better. "We still use
computers, but if we don’t find anything, we revert
back to the old gumshoe."

The money: Robinett and his wife took out a second mortgage
on their house to raise $15,000. Other money has come from
revenue.

The dream: Robinett wants to build a company that functions
well without him, sell it and retire comfortably.

The fear: "That a recession will come, affect our
clients and lead them to use their in-house people instead
of us," Robinett says.

The forecast: Expects to be profitable in three years; hopes
to have five to seven employees in five years.

Inspirational quote: "Having eliminated the impossible,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the
truth." — Sherlock Holmes

Web site: http://nwinvestigation.com

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