If you are looking for investigative services, one of the burning questions is “How much are private investigator fees?” The answer is not so simple.
In general, private investigators typically charge fees at an hourly rate. While some firms may offer flat-fee packages for a background check or surveillance matter, for the most part every case is different, and it’s difficult to put a standard flat fee on anything.
Like any other line of business, the hourly rate differs, based on various factors. Below, we have outlined below some important factors that determine private investigator fees.
Just like any professional service firms, the rates of different investigative firms will vary depending on the complexity of the matter.
A private investigator retained for a complex legal matter with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake will cost you more than finding an address for a long-lost friend.
Are you trying to find out if an individual has a criminal record, or is there something in a person’s past that could potentially discredit that person?
Logically speaking, if you are seeking any piece of information to discredit someone, you may have to dig deep. Needless to say, the deeper you want to go, the more expensive it will get.
Rates vary depending on specific area of expertise and the jurisdiction in which the case is being worked.
For example, a surveillance investigator in “Anywhere, U.S.A.” may charge half the rate of a metro New York-based surveillance investigator who is conducting exactly the same investigation but charging upwards of $150 per hour for each investigator.
Investigators who are trained to conduct a complex asset investigation will demand higher fees than investigators those who conduct surveillance.
The most prominent New York investigative firms charge more than $500 per hour.
Rates for private investigators vary widely, from less than $75 per hour to more than $500 per hour.
The old adage “You get what you pay for” applies to the investigative business, just as it does to almost anything else.
Ultimately, private investigators are hired to find information to help you make more informed decisions and need to be comfortable with the information you are getting and the people with whom you are dealing, regardless of what fees they are charging you.