How does he manage?

Private Investigator Peter Heims (trading under his own name). I joined a private investigation agency in 1953...

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

When did you become a manager?

I joined a private investigation agency in 1953, and bought it two years later for £200. I was 25 and ambitious - I didn't have a holiday for my first 10 years. I built up a 30-strong firm and 10 years ago, at 65, I'd made all the money I wanted, so I sold it. I'm still trading in my own name as a PI.

What does management mean to you?

The chase may be thrilling, but I ensure my people obey speed limits and red lights. You also have to be able to delegate - I was never any good at that. A lot of people hire investigators to confirm what they think, and don't like the truth. I learnt the hard way to get the money upfront. I once applied to a management institute and they asked me to take an entrance test; I sent them my balance sheet instead. Now I'm a member. Nowadays, I work for pleasure, so if I'm reaching my client's budget I'll carry on and swallow the expense. That's no way to run a business.

What do you love/hate about your job?

The work is mainly weaving together strands of information to build a picture - an interesting occupation. There's the frustration of watching someone for three hours then losing them in three minutes. It's a world of paranoia. If I see someone on my tail for 20 minutes, I shake him, just instinctively. It's not a cosy nine-to-five. You need a thick skin and a strong bladder.

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