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How Much Do Private Investigators Cost Per Hour?

If you're considering hiring a private investigator, it probably helps to have an idea of how much the services cost. The first thing you need to know is that there is no cost that can be described as 'one size fits all'. The fees that you'll pay will be dictated by a number of factors. There are services that are subjected to a flat fee.

This is usually limited to services that are properly defined and unlikely to cost more time or resources than anticipated such as process serving. Many services are offered at a cost-effective hourly rate because investigations can be unpredictable and there's no telling how much time it'll take to gather evidence.


Hourly Cost Of Services

There's no telling how much you'll actually be charged per hour when you go to a particular agency. However, these are some of what you can expect for the following services in terms of hourly costs when you go to a professional agency:

  • Surveillance: Starting costs are in the range of £45/hour. However, this can be much higher if you go to certain agencies. Other factors can further raise the hourly costs.
  • Background checks: These start at £55/hour. However, the complexity of the investigation can take these costs much higher. A straightforward investigation may also result in a one-time charge rather than an hourly rate.
  • Non-investigative jobs: These usually cost around £55/hour on the low end but rates can vary dramatically and can go as high as £95/hour if not more. These include other tasks that a private investigative agency may be performing such as vehicle repossession, polygraph testing etc.

Other services such as process serving may also be charged an hourly rate depending on the circumstances. However, services such as locating of missing persons and GPS tracking are usually charged a flat fee. Tracing a missing person usually costs £150 per hour on the low end, while GPS tracking can have a low-end cost of £200 per device for historical data and £500 per device for live tracking.


Factors Influencing Private Investigator Costs

There are certain standard factors that are known to affect private investigator fees.

Take these factors into consideration in your case:

  • Location: Cities have high operational costs and you can expect higher fees in any business as a result.
  • Nature of the case: A case that will expose the investigator to more risk or require more effort to unravel will have higher costs.
  • Skills and equipment: Investigations that require complex and specialised investigative skills or equipment will have higher costs than normal.
  • Reputation: Private investigator costs are higher when you're dealing with experienced investigators. However, they may have the means to solve the case faster which may be more cost-effective.
  • The subject of the investigation: Look into certain companies or individuals can be harder or more complicated which means more time and resources will be needed and this will raise costs.

Few agencies still use the no trace no fee policy. Even attempting to find a person can consume a lot of resources especially if they're not eager to be found.


Why You Need To Call For A More Accurate Quote

As the factors above show, private investigator costs are not consistent even if you're considering the same type of service. Each case has its own complexities or factors that may make it simple or a little harder to solve.

When you contact us, we'll be able to analyse your case better and get a more accurate picture of the situation. At that point, we'll be able to give you a quote that is more accurate.