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  • Diligentia Group is a boutique investigative firm dedicated to providing law firms, financial institutions and decision makers with comprehensive background investigations, due diligence investigations and legal investigation services.
  • How Much are Private Investigator Fees?

    by Brian Willingham

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    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.

    Complexity

    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.

    Objective

    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.

    Location

    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.

    Skill

    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.

    Closing

    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.

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    { 7 comments… read them below or add one }

    Teresa November 1, 2013 at 6:29 am

    I have spent years being lied to and made to feel crazy, how much would it cost to follow him for an entire twenty four (24) hours? We live in Brooklyn, ny.

    Reply

    Brian Willingham November 1, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Rates around the New York City area are at least $100 per hour and even more for the higher end firms. In many NEw York City cases, you are talking a two-man surveillance given the challenging layout, which will run you close to $5000 without out-of-pocket expenses.

    Reply

    Angel September 26, 2012 at 3:11 am

    I know this dude off the Pacific Coast Highway, lives in a beat up old trailer by the beach, name of Rockford, charges only $200 a day plus expenses & he just might throw in a free taco or two w/that. Not a bad sort as far as it goes. Just make sure he shows you all the receipts — a guy can’t be too careful these days.

    Reply

    Brian Willingham September 26, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for the comment Angel. Of course there are exceptions, but as the old saying goes, you pay for what you get…

    Reply

    harry kirkbride December 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    what would it cost me to find some to find some one that has changed there name. I live in Wa and the persone lives in Wy. Thanks

    Reply

    Brian Willingham December 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the comment Harry. I suggest you send us an email at info@diligentiagroup.com or give us a call to discuss.

    Reply

    Private Investigator October 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Boy that is a true statement that “You get what you pay for” when you hire a Private Investigator .

    Reply

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