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How Much Does a Private Investigator Cost Per Hour

The demand for private investigators is as high as it has ever been. More people are realizing the usefulness of private investigators as the industry shakes the reputation that it's only useful for investigating allegations of infidelity. Because of this increased interest in the industry, it's important to assess what the prevailing private investigator costs are.

Many of the services offered by private investigators are charged per hour. This is because variations in certain factors make it difficult to tell how much time and resources will be required to complete an investigation.


Hourly Rate For Private Detective Services

The hourly cost of services will vary depending on the investigator you go to and several other factors.

Here is what you can expect for some of the services that are usually charged by the hour:

  • Surveillance: Private investigators costs for surveillance start at £45 per hour when you're dealing with experienced and licensed investigators. This service is a common tool in many types of investigations ranging from infidelity to tracing missing persons
  • Background checks: This service is being requested more frequently nowadays as more companies are adopting stringent recruitment policies. The hourly costs for this begin at £55.
  • Other Services: There are many other services for which investigators will charge an hourly fee. These include appearing in court, fraud investigations etc. It's difficult to put an exact number since the figures vary greatly depending on many issues. However, according to the structures in place, you can expect to pay from £55 per hour. The starting figure can also be as high as £95 per hour in some cases.

There are services that are normally subjected to a flat fee such as process serving but these can be charged at a cost-effective hourly rate under special circumstance e.g. when delivery is urgent.


Factors That Affect Hourly Rates

Hourly costs can vary from agency to agency and even within the same agency. This is because each case presents its own unique set of circumstances that investigators have to contend with.

Depending on the potential impact of the factors in question, here are some of the things you should pay attention to:

  • Resources required: Whether it's specialized equipment or more manpower, anything that consumes more resources or requires the use of expensive resources will raise the cost of services. For example, if a surveillance van has to be used instead of tracking a person on foot, it will have a different cost.
  • Location: Areas with high operation fees or those that are far from the location of the investigation will result in higher cost of services.
  • The reputation of the agency: Undoubtedly, you may have seen private investigators offering surveillance services at much lower costs than those above. It's important to check whether these private investigators are licensed and what their success rate is.
  • Time of day: Many agencies have different cost of services for off-peak hours.