Before going into how much it costs to hire a private investigator, we must first figure out what they offer. Once the value of their service is clear, we will be able to understand what their prices offer.
The work of a private investigator ranges to a wide variety of activity and responsibilities. Not all PIs do all the things listed below, some do a range of them or many specialize in a specific few. So it is important when you are looking to hire a private investigator to look into their specialty. This way you can know if they will be of help for the particular service you require.
What Do Private Investigators Do?
- Locating an individual: Private investigators can help you locate someone in particular. Cases that involve tracking someone down can range from tracking down a lost relative, to a person being taken to court. A PI would track them down and serve them, for example, a subpoena.
- Investigation of private individuals: This activity can be one of the ones that differes the most from case to case. For an insurance company a PI may be looking into a potential fraudulent insurance claim, they will be investigating the claim and person who put forth said claim. They may also survey whether a parent is behaving appropriately in accordance with the law and the agreed upon terms of a child custody case. And even, surveillance of a spouse in case the interested party needs proof for specific grounds for divorce.
- Location of property: Private investigators can help you locate stolen property.
- Background checks: These are among the most requested services for PIs. They often work in tandem with companies or HR departments to help them investeigate a person for a position of particular import. Background checks also include a wide variety of checks. To mention just a few, criminal record checks, previous employment and education checks are amongst the most basic of these.
- Surveillance: This can come in tandem with the investigation of private citizens and groups. This would include setting up specialist equipment for the surveillance of a particular case.
- Case research and compilation of evidence: Private investigation agencies and individuals often specialize in this particular avenue. On cases such as these, they’ll often collaborate with attorneys, particular for the pre-case and pre-court proceedings. They will collect, find and compile evidence for proper presentation in court. This can range from intervieweing witnesses to the delivering of a subpoena and other documents.
How Much Do Private Investigators Cost?
Now that we know about some of the services private investigators offer, we can discuss how much they charge and why. The cost of a PI’s services vary very much depending on the job you are hiring them for. For example, for some specific smaller jobs they may offer a flat fee. This could include background checks or searching for a particular vehicle’s registration.
More often than not, however, private investigators charge by the hour at a specific rate. A few factors may determine the price of said rate. Your location, the cost of life and running a business in New York, for example, is much higher than in a much smaller town, this has a major influence on price. The complexity of the job you are hiring them for can also influence this, as can the expertise of a private investigator. Keeping all of these factors in mind, and speaking generally, fees for a private investigator tend to range from $40 to $100 the hour. This tends to average out at $50 an hour in the United States.
Now this could differ quite significantly too if, for example, you are hiring through a PI agency or an individual. Bear in mind that with an agency you are getting a team of people, there could be several people working on your case at once.
Before agreeing upon any rate or fee, make sure you agree upon and sign a contract. Before a private investigator changes or raises the price, they ought to inform you why and with ample time. Cases can change in complexity very quickly, and new tasks can come up, however, they should always keep you informed and updated. If they don’t provide you with one, ask for an itemized list of costs.
If you find yourself in need of a licensed private investigator, please feel free to call us. Or simply click on this link to get in contact with one of our team members.