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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 Does It Cost to Find a Person

    by Brian Willingham

    Post image for How Much Does It Cost to Find a Person

    Here’s a question that pops up so often, I figured I would share it with everyone:

    How much does it cost for a private investigator to find a person?

    At this point you have probably spent countless hours scouring the Web. Maybe you spent some money using one of the many online databases, reached out to everyone you know and have searched Facebook until you turned blue in the face.

    You may have even used some of our tips in How to Find Someone on the Internet.

    But you are stuck. Every lead you have found has ended up a dead end.

    So now you are considering getting some professional help and may just want to hire a private investigator.

    Of course, one of the questions that everyone has when they want to hire a private investigator is how much does it cost to find a person. The problem with answering this question, though, is that there are so many possible scenarios that the answer is not so simple.

    I am going to do my best here to give you some realistic price ranges, but keep in mind that every situation is unique. There are literally hundreds of factors that can change things.

    For example, the amount of information you have (full name, date of birth, etc.), the commonality of the person’s name (hint: finding John Smith is not going to be easy) or trying to find a person living completely “off the grid” may require investigation outside the scope of what is offered here.

    Below is a quick rundown of how we approach it with our clients. However, keep in mind that this may not be the way every private investigator does it.

    What Do We Do?

    After gathering some initial information and before even taking your case, we will conduct a 10- to 20-minute phone interview, gathering as much information as we can in order to find the person.

    After obtaining all the information, we will conduct some initial research to determine whether finding the person will be realistic. Only then are we willing to take on the case.

    What Will It Cost?

    We presume that you have searched Google and done all of the “normal” things to find the person you are looking for. If you haven’t tried tips in How to Find Someone on the Internet, go ahead, we will wait …

    For a first phase, we charge a $750 flat fee (plus tax if applicable). This covers our time and effort, database costs and any other costs associated with finding the person during the first phase.

    Keep in mind that it may take some additional work after the first phase if the person is difficult to find (see below), but we have a strong track record of finding the person in the first phase.

    What Will Be Provided When the Investigation Is Completed?

    At the conclusion of the case, in addition to providing information about the person’s address and phone numbers (if available), we will also provide some details that came up during the course of the investigation. For example, if criminal records, a bankruptcy record or court documents were identified during the course of the investigation, we will provide that to you.

    How Long Will It Take?

    Typically, it will take approximately five business days to complete the search.

    Do You Guarantee Results?

    I know that you probably want some sort of guarantee, but unfortunately, there are too many possibilities to guarantee anything. There are an infinite number of possible reasons that things may not end up the right way, factors that are completely out of anyone’s control. The person may be dead, may never answer your phone calls or letters, or may have moved halfway around the world and is living in the woods.

    Every situation is unique and it’s impossible to guarantee that the person will be found immediately. In some instances, additional research or on-the-ground investigation will be needed to find the person.

    But here is what we can tell you:

    • Our reputation is based on providing our clients with results, not giving false promises. We will do everything in our power to find the person, but we can’t make any guarantees.
    • Before retaining us, we will provide you with an open and honest assessment as to whether we think the person can or will be found.
    • We are realistic about our possibilities; we don’t take on cases that we don’t feel we can help with (frankly, we turn away more cases than we accept).
    • We have a very high success rate in finding people (you can check out our recent case study Finding a Biological Father).

    Final Thought

    We have outlined some general guidelines as to how much it would cost to find a person. We haven’t covered everything here, so if you have some additional questions, feel free to set up a time to talk to an expert in finding people.

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    { 23 comments… read them below or add one }

    Candy February 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Whats the process in finding someone in the military? Do you search on military databases?


    Brian Willingham February 19, 2014 at 3:14 am
    Richard Baldwin February 5, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I’m looking for a military friend, that was stationed at the same base as I was in 1980. I know their nickname and possibiy their full. I know the base we were at, the group they were in, and the general area of the occupation/Job. I keeping hitting brick walls, or get overwhemling info, there’s no middle ground. There is 1980, then 2014. I got nothing, what could you do with something like this?


    Brian Willingham February 10, 2014 at 3:13 am

    I am not sure we would be able to help, especially without a full name, but if you give us a call, we can help assess it better.


    Tina January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I met a man (in his 40s) who took a picture with me at a museum in Munich, Germany in September 2013. All I know is that he was on a business trip with some of his colleagues from Holland.
    I have a picture of him, but I don’t know his name or any other details. I know this is a long shot but can you help locate him? Thanks!


    Brian Willingham January 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I am afraid that just a photo is not enough to find someone.


    Zuleimarie Figueroa December 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I’ve been looking for my biological father for a while now. I would like to know how much it would cost to find him. I heard it depends on the information and distance. I know his birth year and slightly his exact birthdate, I know his name, the state he was born in, and the country he lived in when i was born. That’s about it and I’m hoping to get some new information.


    Brian Willingham January 4, 2014 at 5:46 am

    Send an email to with the details and we can give you a better idea as to the cost.


    Collins Baffoe November 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I am seriously looking for a man who did me a favor some years back in Alaska. I only have his last known address and his full name. I guess he might have left Alaska. I have tried everified and it gave me so many people with the same name that I think using a private investigator could be the best way to pin-point him from those many names since I do not want to be calling everybody.
    Can you locate a person with just the full name and the last known address? and what will be the cost


    Brian Willingham November 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm


    Please give us a call to discuss further to see if we can assist. Based on what you provided, I am certain we can help, but would need some additional details.


    pat November 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Do you have access to DMV Records when searching for a person?


    Brian Willingham November 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    It depends Pat. You have to have a permissible purpose with the Drivers Private Protection Act.'s_Privacy_Protection_Act


    Jarris Fuller September 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Brian, I’d be interested to know your thoughts on providing an address for a client looking to locate a female. I’m a PI too (in Australia) and generally I say no to that type of inquiry, unless I either get permission from the located person to pass on that info, or I’m providing that information to a lawyer or an agent conducting a commercial (debt recovery) locate. This criteria is always spelled out beforehand.

    Do you have any guidelines/procedures in place to prevent what “seems” to be a plausible reason for locating a female’s current whereabouts, but might not be?


    Brian Willingham September 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

    These can get dicey. It’s partly a gut feel as to the reason as to why he wants to get in touch with her. I would ask him pointed questions like “is there an order of protection against you?”

    In most of these cases, I would get the money up front and tell him that you will reach out to the women first and see if they want to their contact information to be passed along. If they agree to that, I don’t see any issue with it.


    Robin September 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm


    I fancy you lot have heard this story a million times, but I have been trying to find a childhood friend online for quite some time, with no success. Which brings me here. The only information I can provide on the individual is his/her first and last name (both of which are common), the city the person lived in as a child (I do not know whether the person has since moved or not), the person’s rough age, and what elementary school the person went to and when. With this information (which I know is scarce), would a private investigation even be realistic?

    Thanks in advance.


    Brian Willingham September 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    It’s possible. Frankly you never know until you get into it. If you give me a call and provide me with all of the details, I can give you a reasonable assessment as to whether it’s possible.


    Robin September 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Is there any chance we could communicate via e-mail? I am slightly autistic, so I often have a hard time making phone calls.


    V. Contreras September 14, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I am trying to locate the circumstances surrounding my father’s death. I never knew him but recently discovered that he died and was buried in 2000 in Puerto Rico. I have some of his military records, and SS#. How difficult would it be to locate this information as well as potential relatives when it is a U.S. territory like PR.


    Brian Willingham September 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Please give us a call to discuss in more detail.


    Nikki August 18, 2013 at 8:09 am

    I’ve been looking for a friend I went to school with in the late 80′s. I haven’t spoken to or heard anything about him in 20 years. I’ve searched everywhere, for years, but he has a common name so it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. I do have some information, but not a SS#, will this be next to impossible without that? Thank you.


    Brian Willingham August 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

    No, it’s not necessary to have a SS#, but with a common name its’s certainly challenging. We’d be happy to discuss to see if we could help.


    Alpha Jenkins July 11, 2013 at 4:48 am

    I’m interested in locating my child’s biological father. He is retired military and shouldn’t be all that difficult to find. I have a social security number and other pertinent information.


    Brian Willingham July 11, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I just sent you an email.


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