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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Private Detective in The UK?

The private investigation business in the UK doesn't have much oversight from the government. However, this doesn't mean that the sector isn't growing.

More people and companies are turning to these investigative experts to help them with a variety of problems from marital woes and missing persons to due diligence and suspected employee theft. Thanks to the range of services that modern private investigators offer, there are many scenarios where calling in a private investigator can make all the difference in the world. This, however, raises the issue of the cost of these services in the UK.

Average Private Investigator Costs In The Uk

Although there may be some similarities, private investigator costs can vary greatly depending on where you are in the UK. London private detectives have to contend with high operating costs than a private investigator in other parts of the country. Therefore, you can expect some differences in the costs based on this alone.

Additionally, you should also remember that depending on the type of service you need, you can either be charged a fixed cost or an hourly cost.

Services With Fixed Costs

Some of the commonly sought services that are normally come with fixed private investigator costs include:

  • Locating of missing persons - One the low end, this service can cost £150 per hour and on the high end, it can cost £350 per hour. Factors that may affect the price include whether or not the person you're looking for doesn't want to be found.
  • Process Serving - It can cost you £85 to £150 to serve legal papers to a person or a company dependent upon the number of times the service is attempted. The nature of the entity being served with the documents can affect the private investigator costs.
  • Vehicle Tracking - This service has some of the greatest variations in terms of cost, with the cost of some services going as low as £200 and others reaching as high as £750. This is because there are different types of tracking services with some only providing historical data and others providing live data. Live GPS tracking is more expensive with costs starting at around £500.
  • RTA and Incident Plans - This service is fairly straightforward and can provide you with plans that can be used in a courtroom to accurately describe events. The service can cost £160 to £220.

Services Charged Hourly

Hourly charges are reserved for services that can take up an indefinite amount of time and resources.

Services that are commonly charged per hour include:

  • Surveillance - This is the service that is most synonymous with private investigators. The hourly costs ranges between £45 - £75 in the UK and will vary depending on how complex the investigation is.
  • Background checks - Many companies and employment agencies in the UK are now carrying out a background check on every potential employee and business associate. The cost of this service ranges between £55 and £95 per hour.
  • Other Services - Because private investigators perform so many duties in the UK, it's difficult to give an accurate price range for certain services since they can vary quite a bit. Testifying in court, serving as professional witnesses, conducting lie detector tests, repossessing vehicles etc. are some of the services in question. The hourly costs range from £55 - £95 in the UK.

Other Variables

There are a number of factors that should be considered when attempting to estimate the private investigator costs for your case. These are:

  • Some services may be charged a cost-effective hourly rate instead of a fixed rate and vice versa depending on the exact nature of the case.
  • There may be hidden costs that are in the contract but not expressly quoted in the contract. Take note of these.
  • You may find prices that vary greatly from these. This might be because there are hidden costs or because the quality of service isn't the best.