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How Much Does a Good Private Investigator Cost?

Private investigator costs are far from consistent. This isn't a situation that is unique to the UK. It is something you'll find all over the world.

The main issue is the nature of the work itself. It's not possible to preempt the specifics of a particular case. Something that may be stated as tracing missing person investigations may belie the fact that the person being searched for has taken extreme measures not to be located. However, it is possible to give you an idea of what you can expect the services to cost based on data from various professional agencies.

The Range Of Private Investigator Costs In The Uk

In the UK, it's not unusual to find private investigator costs in the following range for these services:

  • Tracing of missing persons: Fees starting from £150 upwards
  • Surveillance - Hourly cost of £45 to £75
  • Process serving: Flat fee of £85 to £150
  • Background checks: Hourly cost of £55 to £95
  • GPS vehicle tracking: Flat fee of £200 to £300 for historical data devices and a Flat fee of £500 - £800 for live GPS tracking
  • RTA and Incident Plans: Flat fee of £160 to £220

Prices are subject to VAT.

These private investigative costs don't always factor other costs that may be incurred over the course of the investigation. In many cases, you can expect to cover the costs of things such as:

  • Mileage
  • Minor disbursements
  • Travel time to the scene of the investigation
  • Reports
  • Time spent liaising with you etc.

Ensure that you understand the financial terms of the contract before you sign. Hidden costs can mount up if you're not keen.

Do Higher Costs Mean Better Services?

The quick answer is no. However, it's important to understand the factors behind the high costs first before making a decision.

In an investigation, higher costs may be necessitated by several factors such as:

  • Use of complex and specialized investigative tools and methods
  • Need for extra personnel
  • Need to travel to a new location etc.

In such examples, the higher costs are necessitated by the demands of the case itself.

However, there are times when an agency may try to leverage its reputation to charge clients a higher price. A reputable agency may have more experienced investigators and better equipment. These can actually help you to get results faster which can be cheaper if you're being charged per hour.

However, don't pay an exorbitantly high fee assuming that it guarantees quick or better results. A professional agency with licensed investigators and services that have a reasonable cost attached may do just as well or even better.

What You Should Expect To Pay For A Good Pi

There are no set private investigator costs for any service. However, the costs listed above should offer you a good guideline to work with depending on the service you're looking for. There are many agencies where you'll find costs that are above or below the ranges shown. This isn't unexpected. Pay attention to the other factors as well.

An agency that has low-cost services on paper may have lots of hidden costs. Some agencies may only charge high prices because they believe their reputation demands it. A good approach is to ask for an itemized list of expenses to see exactly what you're paying for. If this looks reasonable and the costs are within or just outside the stated range, it's probably worth it. You can contact us to get a more accurate cost estimate for your case.