Dallas Ft. Worth - Washington D.C. - Seattle - New Orleans
Here I list not only questions that have been asked, but ones that I suspect some would like the answer to.
Q. You guys seem to be real strict about which emails you answer / who you invite to be members / which investigations you pick, etc. Why are you so hard nosed?
We don't mean to be, but you have to realize the volume of mail and requests that we get from authors, people wanting a ghost photo analyzed, media outlets, new ghost hunters asking a question, other groups wanting a link exchange, etc. Answering any email at all usually takes at least 10 - 15 minutes on average, and can easily take up more for involved issues.
If we had no filters at all on the site (such as those outlined on the Contact Us page) and tried to address everyone who sent in an inquiry for free, we would literally spend all day typing and getting carpal tunnel while not bringing in funds to pay our expenses. Then we would have to close shop and deprive others the benefit of our talent and experience. This, BTW, is a big reason why other groups come and go.
Over the years, we have tried to pick out the most common questions and answer them on the website. Partially for your convenience, and partially because it is inefficient to repeat information twice.
Q. What is with charging for consultations / photo analysis / etc. and generally making money off the paranormal? Other groups do this for free.
The above answer should explain some of why we have these policies, and this is further explained at Charging Polices. In short we charge because:
1) Ghost hunting and investigation services are expensive to carry out (particularly at our level)
2) We need to justify our time and expenses spent in such activities
3) We only have enough time to focus on serious inquiries and clients that will value our efforts
4) Many clients have been wiling to pay us substantial amounts of money to help them and have been GLAD to do so in exchange for the expert help we provide - why should we settle for less?
5) Charging means that we are confident enough in our abilities to do so, and that will consequently inspire trust and respect from the client
6) Other groups that perform free services typically have less experience, equipment and ability to address your needs
Q. Well, I still think it's horrible that you make money off of those in need. (in all the years that we have been in operation, we have only gotten a handful of emails that basically stated this and even fewer have the courage to leave their contact info)
The amounts are quite reasonable (starting at less than $10) and we are willing to negotiate with those that are not as well off. After expenses, we hardly make any kind of a profit at all - whereas I have seen complete charlatans charge hundreds and even thousands of dollars for very ineffective assistance. In addition, we provide at our expense a great deal of information on this site. (over 125 pages) We are also working on some reasonably priced publications to help people find solutions without having to wait for a group or professional organization such as ours to arrive onsite.
Also, we offer alternatives such as helpful publications (such as Michelle Belanger's book "The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide) which you can get on Amazon for $10 and we do not make a dime off of which is fine. We are glad to to point the easiest and cheapest direction in which to get help, but it may require effort and responsibility on your part.
But my final response is if you are not willing to listen to reasonable explanations such as these, then what kind of a person are you? With gas at $3 + a gallon, do you expect someone to coming driving out to your place to spend time and utilize their own resources when they already have a family / job / life etc.? Do you expect a plumber / computer technician / carpenter to come out to your place for free? While the vast majority of our clients are great people, we have encountered a very few individuals who seem to expect something for nothing and I suspect these are the same sort of ignorant and inconsiderate louts who write insulting emails to companies and individuals who won't cater to them.
SPI will not lower it's standards or expectations just because one person or a small collective does not know how to value a service or organization such as ours. Also, you are not compelled to use our service, any more than we are obligated to put any efforts towards your case without reasonable compensation.
In summary, there is an old saying that I have learned to be very true: "Those who pay the least complain the most." We would rather find clients that appreciate us and are a pleasure to work with, as opposed to more problematic situations.