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How Much Salary Does a Private Investigator Make?

The salaries of private investigators are not consistent around the UK and even more-so across the world. The differences in regulation, types of customers and other factors all mean that investigators can earn as little as £20,000 to as much as £100,000.

Private investigators who wish to earn more will need to get as many factors in their favour as possible. This means choosing the right location within which to operate, gaining experience and improving their existing skillset.


What Does Location Have To Do With Investigators' Salaries?

A private investigator in a city such as London has a number of things working in their favour. These include:

  • Presence of more clients
  • Presence of clients willing to pay more
  • Proximity to corporate and institutional clients etc.

Therefore, although they have to contend with the higher cost of living in a city such as London, they can easily earn more than investigators working in other parts of the country.

However, this doesn't apply to all locations. There are towns, such as Southend-on-Sea, where private investigators still earn more on average than their counterparts in cities. As a private investigator, whether you choose to work in a city or in the rural areas, you have to find the right balance between availability of clients and low operating costs to earn a decent salary.


Comparing Private Investigator Salaries Around The World

Salaries of private investigators around the world vary quite a bit. This is due to differences in regulation and other factors.

In the UK, the national average salary for private investigators is around £23,700. In Australia and the US, where there is greater regulation of the industry, the national average is around £34,000 and £34,400 respectively.


How Type Of Clients Affect Private Investigator Salaries

Private investigators can decide to cater exclusively to private citizens or to businesses. Private citizens normally require services such as marital surveillance and tracing of missing persons. Businesses, on the other hand, will want services such as internal fraud investigations, employee screening etc.

As you would expect, a private investigator catering to businesses will probably earn a larger salary. The bulk of work that will need to be done alone will justify the increased pay. Secondly, the work may be more consistent, as opposed to private citizens who may only need an investigator's services once or twice in their lives. Therefore, putting rates aside, catering to businesses has the potential to pay more.

However, many businesses are picky when choosing private investigators. Many will only want investigators who are licensed or may wish to hire a large agency that's able to do the work required in a short time. This means that getting such clients may not be as easy.