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What Would a Private Investigator Cost?

How much should you expect to pay when you go looking for a service from a private investigator? This is an important question to ask since the private investigation industry in the UK isn't as strictly regulated as it should be in certain regards. This leaves room for some agencies to take advantage of their clients and charge them exorbitantly high fees.

Not all high private investigator costs are unjustified. In many cases, it is the demands of the case that warrant the high fees.

What You Should Expect To Pay For Common Private Investigator Services

Here's a list of common private investigator services and the expected costs in reputable agencies:

  • Investigations of allegations of infidelity: This service usually requires the use of surveillance which is charged per hour. Prices are usually in the range of 45 per hour to £75 per hour.
  • Locating a missing person: Private investigator costs for this service start at £150 but can be more expensive in some cases.
  • Serving legal papers: Process serving will cost a minimum of £85 per serve but could cost as much as £150.
  • Tracking a vehicle: This service is also common in infidelity investigations. If needed, you can get historical data services from £200 per device. However, live tracking costs anywhere between £500 - £800 per device.
  • Background check: If you wish to know what your prospective employee or tenant was up to in the years past, it will cost you between £55 per hour - £95 per hour.
  • Lie detector test: If you need a lie detector test for yourself, a spouse or employee, expect to pay private investigator costs ranging from £500 per test to £900 per test.
  • Fraud Investigation: Do you suspect your accountant is not being straightforward? It will cost you around £55 per hour to £95 an hour to find out the truth.

Additional Costs

It's important to remember that the service costs in question will change depending on the specifics of your case. You should also note that these are only the costs of the services. There are other costs that might be incurred over the course of the investigation that you're usually expected to pay for.

These may include:

  • Mileage
  • Dinner reservations
  • Train tickets
  • Cost of buying a beverage
  • Accommodation etc.

That means that if your infidelity case requires the private investigator to follow your spouse to a hotel in the outskirts of London, you'll have to pay for the fuel and perhaps the cost of an overnight stay. Agencies have different rates and policies when it comes to this. However, it is important that such costs are not hidden in the fine print.

As a customer, you should be well aware of the fact that you may have to cover the private investigator costs that are incurred as a result of solving your case. Be careful when an agency makes no mention of these costs. They can easily balloon and leave you with a hefty bill in the end.