Cost to Hire a Private Investigator

I’m sure that if you ever searched for a private investigator, you probably asked yourself and Google, how much do private investigators cost? Some of the new clients who come to us, either those who have never hired a private investigator before, or those who have hired someone else before, and have now come to us, just like you also wonder about the costs and the difference between our fees and other firms’ fees. These questions usually fall under the following two categories:

  1. Why do you charge so much more than other firms? What is it that you provide that others don’t?
  2. Why do you charge less than other firms? Is it because you don’t provide the same type of information or provide less than others?

While questions from the first category are quite understandable and happen more often, questions from the second category are also not uncommon. But whichever category you fall into, make sure you understand what you’re paying for.

Generally speaking, private investigator costs across the globe range between $55 and $375 dollars an hour (either in CAD, USD, EUR or GBP). Different services cost differently, and also vary from country to country, province to province and state to state, and even city to city. Moreover, costs also vary between agencies, and while one agency may charge $55/h, another agency in the same city may charge $125/h for the same service.

So “what’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Juliet’s speech in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare).

– Would services and quality ‘smell’ differently if costs differed?
– Is the fee amount a reliable indicator of quality?
– Should you choose an agency based on the amount of fees they charge?

Well, the variation in cost depends primarily on the size of the agency and the experience and expertise of the investigators conducting the services. An agency consisting of only one person who provides services by himself/herself may not necessarily be cheaper. However, they will surely have less resources, less operational capabilities, and in emergency situations, which do happen, this one-agent-show will not be able to withstand the pressure and provide their clients with appropriate response and support.

On the other hand, agencies where there is enough stuff to discern between administration, research, specialists to handle various types of investigations, operational managers, technical experts, etc. while generally tend to charge more, sometimes are on a par with smaller agencies because they make up in volume and diversification of services.

Nevertheless, an expert and someone with extensive experience, regardless of the size of the agency, will not undermine his/her costs or performance just to compete with the rest of them. True professionals know their own value, provide superior precision and results, and deliver services in a cost-efficient and timely manner.

Consider this, when we can solve your problem with a simple answer or action, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the problem was easy. It simply means that we have enough knowledge, experience and expertise to solve it quickly and reliably. It means that we understand your needs and know how and where to obtain answers to your questions. We’ve been in similar situations before, we’ve seen things, we’ve experienced them, we’ve learned from it and we have excelled at it now. We know when to pull out cannons or when to use silent darts. But most importantly, we have variety of tools and we know which and when and how to use it to obtain necessary results. That’s why we’re experts and charge what we charge. Sometimes it’s not about the time that it took to complete the task, but rather about the depth of the insight that allowed us to deliver the most sensible solution in the given circumstance.

Someone with less experience or with less operational capabilities may cut corners on various phases of investigation (preparation; execution; reports; number of databases checked; or quality of equipment and personnel; etc.) in order to achieve ‘the same results’. They may work longer and harder, thus putting the risk of jeopardising the investigation, or may not obtain results altogether. But the worst part is that the less experienced investigator ‘gambles’ with your case, your business and your life, and depends more on luck than on stringent processes, strategy, resources, and calculated risks.

The less experienced investigator will not possess the depth of understanding of a situation; will not gather evidence properly; will not store your personal information securely; will not ask proper questions to obtain proper answers; will not have the ability to analyse the evidence; and in general might not be able to deliver you the most comprehensive solutions. The seemingly similar actions on their part and the seemingly similar ‘results’ may appear to be like a great idea and cheap alternative in their limited vision or in the short run. But in the long run will most likely prove to be weak, inefficient, erroneous, or a burden on your reputation and future entirely.

The probability of a long-term success is simply not the same. When it comes to serious files, or one-time opportunity actions, or for files that may or will definitely one day end up in court, it’s better to do it right with an agency that understands quality, has inherent processes to minimize liability, and provides objective deliverables. Such agency employs seasoned and trustworthy professionals, has ample resources, understands the law and its various applications, and will provide their clients the best representation possible. That’s what their fees will reflect. Because it takes more than just a fedora hat to provide investigation services. It takes a well-structured team of professionals working in unison to provide insightful implementable objectivity.

Therefore, fee itself is not an accurate indication of quality of course, and clients must always look for other indicators. You can read more about that here: Choosing a Private Investigator

The benefits of a correctly conducted investigation, and the objectivity of intelligence and evidence gathered, will eventually by far outweigh any costs associated with it. When things MATTER, letting costs affect your decision-making process, is a straight road to disappointment. If you may recall, Juliet didn’t end well, she put a dagger through her heart.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments about the costs to hire a private investigator.