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What Is the Cost of a Private Investigator?

Are you thinking about hiring a private investigator? Then it will be helpful to have a rough estimate of the cost of services.

Private investigator costs can vary greatly depending on who you ask and the complexities of your case. With this in mind, it's a good idea to know what you might be expected to pay on the high or low end and what factors can determine how close you are to either end.

Costs Of Private Investigator Services

Private investigator fees aren't clearly defined. For starters, you may be charged a one-time, flat fee or you may be charged by the hour. However, based on a number of agencies, these are some of the costs you can expect to pay for regularly asked services:

1. Surveillance Surveillance is the main investigative method used in many cases including allegations of infidelity, insurance fraud, employee theft etc. Surveillance is popular because it can provide photographic or video evidence that is hard to refute. Surveillance is normally charged per hour and the hourly costs start from £45 per hour in reputable agencies.

2. Background checks This service was normally associated with recruitment into law enforcement. However, changing times has made it a staple for recruitment agencies, companies that are hiring, landlords looking for new tenants, people engaged in online dating etc. This service is normally charged by the hour with hourly costs starting at £55 per hour. However, there are times when a flat fee is charged instead if the check to be done is straightforward.

3. GPS Vehicle Tracking This service has proven useful when investigating infidelity in London and other areas. Parents are also using this service when they wish to know what their kids are up to. This service normally comes with a fixed cost with rates as low as £200. However, the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of tracking you need. Use of trackers that send back live data is much more expensive and may cost you upwards of £700 per device.

4. Process Serving In most cases, process serving is fairly straightforward. This is why it's charged a flat fee in normal cases with private investigator costs starting at £85 per serve. However, if you need someone to be served urgently, you could be charged by the hour.

5. Finding Missing Persons Tracking down a missing person can cost you £150 per hour on the lower end. However, the price can get steeper if the person doesn't want to be found or is in another country.

6. Lie Detector Tests Cost of lie detector tests start from £400 per test but can be significantly higher at times. These tests are useful for in-house theft investigations and when refuting allegations of infidelity.

Factors That Affect Private Investigator Costs

There is no way of knowing how much it will cost you to hire private investigators.

This is because there are many factors that will have an effect on these costs. Such factors include:

  • The complexity of the case: It's more complicated and costly to try and locate a debtor who's gone missing than it is to locate a friend you lost touch with a few years back.
  • Equipment required: As the example of vehicle tracking reveals, it can be harder to acquire certain kinds of information. Where this calls for the use of more complex and specialised investigative equipment, you can expect hire cost of services.
  • Location: Major towns and cities have higher operating costs so services will likely be pricier. Additionally, if the investigator has to travel to another location over the course of the investigation, it will increase the costs.
  • Agency Reputation: A reputable agency that is known for getting results usually charge higher fees. You can attribute this to a higher quality of work.
  • Business hours: Some agencies have specific business hours and will charge higher costs to work at odd hours.
  • Number of detectives needed to work the case: If more than one detective is needed for the case, it will be reflected in the private investigators cost.