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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Private Investigator?

Private investigators allow you to benefit from skills that you'd normally have to go to police officers to find. However, police officers may not be able to work on your case especially if it has nothing do with public interest. When you hire private investigators, you'll be able to get these services but you'll have to pay a fee for them.

The private investigator costs you'll be required to pay will vary depending on the specifics of your case. However, it's possible to get a cost-effective estimate depending on the needs of your case.

Average Private Investigator Costs Per Service

With regards to cost, private investigators offer two types of services:

  • Services with fixed costs
  • Services with hourly costs

However, the specifics of a case may result in changes to the cost of the service. For example, background checks are normally charged at an hourly rate.

However, if the matter is a straightforward issue that requires looking at a specific source of information, you will be charged a fixed cost. With this in mind, you are now ready to glimpse what private investigator fees look like on average.

Fixed Costs Services

The following types of services are usually charged a one-time fee:

  • Tracing Missing Persons (£150 per hour - £350 per hour) - The exact agency that you hire will be a determining factor. However, there are other factors that may raise the cost of the service such as whether the person being searched for is trying not be found and whether the search is being conducted locally.
  • Process Serving (£85 per hour - £150 per hour) - The cost of this service may vary depending on whether it's an individual or a company being served. If you need the papers served urgently, you may be charged at a pocket-friendly hourly rate instead.
  • GPS Tracking (£200 per device - £750 per device plus additional charges) - There are different types of cost-effective tracking services depending on the type of GPS tracking devices being used. A vehicle tracking service that only provides historical data will only cost you from £200 - £300. However, if you need minute by minute information, you'll need live vehicle tracking services. This can easily set you back £500 - £750 initially.
  • RTA and Incident Plans (£160 per hour - £220 per hour) - These plans can be useful in court proceedings when trying to explain exactly what happened. They may include sketches, photographs and measurements of Locus. Witness statements may also be included.

Hourly Cost Services

The following services are usually charged an hourly rate since there is no telling how much time or resources will be needed to conclude the investigation. Agencies may also have a minimum number of hours that can be charged.

  • Surveillance (£45 per hour - £75 per hour) - Surveillance is a standard in many types of investigations. The private investigator costs vary depending on the circumstance of the investigation, type of equipment needed, no. of detectives needed etc.
  • Background checks (£55 per hour - £95 per hour) - This service is normally required by firms during recruitment or before conducting business dealings. Some companies may be harder to look into than others. However, some checks may also be straightforward, warranting a cost-effective one-time fee instead.
  • Additional services (£55 per hour - £95 per hour) - The range of investigations carried out by private investigators is vast.

There are also other services which are not part of the investigation e.g. testifying in court, acting as professional witnesses. Agencies may also be involved in polygraph testing, repossession of vehicles and equipment etc. The cost of these services vary sharply but on average, the hourly cost will be as shown above.

Note The Following

These figures are just averages and the actual private investigator fees may vary sharply compared to these. Be sure to ask about any added on costs. Certain agencies may have hidden charges that can greatly inflate your final bill.