How Much Does a Private Investigation Cost?

If you are looking up the cost of a private investigator, chances are you consider hiring one. Before rushing to any decisions, research your available options to make sure you’re getting a real deal. Private investigators, like other professionals, come in a variety of shapes and colors. Until you conduct your fair share of investigations into the nature of the industry, you won’t be able to distinguish what makes an excellent private investigator in the first place. So, let’s talk about it.


The Traits Every Private Investigator Needs

Private investigation is the type of profession that relies on various skills, many of which require a degree of intrinsic and natural abilities. After all, the experts are expected to show diplomacy skills in every field of work, conducting an ethical and professional investigation while keeping in mind sound judgment and utmost confidentiality. So how can we distinguish one PI from another? Here’s a trimmed list of qualities the best private investigators possess:



It goes without saying: an effective private investigator must have adequate experience. Establishing a PI career is a rigorous path, often arising from a past occupation, such as law enforcement. In Florida, securing a Class “CC” Private Investigator Intern license, the candidate is required to complete 40-hour professional training related to the standard investigative procedures. This can be done at a community college, school, or even university, all within the scope of the Department of Education. Obtaining a full license demands additional training and experience.

While more experienced and in-demand private investigators may cost you more, you are positively sure that the task they receive will be thoroughly and professionally conducted with expected results. Hiring a freelancer based on price alone is a risky tactic that may or may not deliver a definite outcome, and you might be losing money in the process.


Professionalism and Integrity

We combine the two because they highly correlate with one another, specifically within the industry. The measure of success relies on a degree of professionalism and integrity to carry out assignments ethically and maintain progress in community affairs. Whenever you’re seeking private investigation services, always inquire about the license. Licensed professionals usually have established credibility, making them reputable industry experts. Professionalism is also reflected in their drive toward excellence and commitment to continued education.


This one is huge. Because PIs are not by law required to maintain the same level of confidentiality as attorneys or doctors, finding a highly esteemed agency that sanctifies the quality is of utmost importance. Keep in mind that most work done by private investigators revolves around delicate matters, such as collecting evidence for court, helping you make an important life decision, or detecting fraud. When pursuing any private investigator, make sure you receive a written confidentiality agreement that will guarantee your rights.

Ingenuity and Resourcefulness

Solving a case has never been easier, provided your private investigator operates an assortment of innovative and highly-advanced technologies. While having up to standard equipment and outstanding resources may boost your cost, utilizing these necessities means less time, better solutions, and consequently, satisfactory results. As we will discuss next, most PI agencies charge an hourly rate. Cutting the time of the investigation by employing a wide range of smart technology will allow you to stay within your budget while getting the most out of your money.

Reputable private investigators have specialized databases, gain access to court records, social networking portals, civil litigation, or criminal records, managing all available resources to deliver the best outcomes. Ingenuity also means a creative mindset. While technology is a crucial component in the field of private investigations, without the ability to find productive solutions that will enable effective information gathering, access alone to innovative tools may be futile.


So How Much Does a Private Investigator Costs?

It may all come down to your unique needs. Hourly and flat rates are often offered depending on the specifics of the case. When the assignment is straightforward without the need to accommodate special procedures, your private investigator may charge a flat rate, which is essentially a fixed amount required to complete the task. If your case demands specialized surveillance or in-depth research, such as missing persons or infidelity assignments, you might be asked to pay an hourly rate.

Hourly and flat rates will depend on your location, the traits described above, and other factors that often bump the price. Hourly prices can start at $40, ranging to $200 per hour, with the national average of $50-$90 per hour. Some private investigators may negotiate the price – if your case is lengthy and may require more hours, they may reduce the cost.

Keep in mind that while you are paying an hourly rate, this usually does not include other spendings, such as gas, renting equipment, or hotel stays. Some investigators will provide you with a flat rate for collected photos and videos. If the case turns out to be exceptionally challenging, your investigator may increase the cost of the procedures. You should be informed prior to proceeding about any additional expenses and changes in your investigation.

Reputable private investigation agencies will design a contract outlining the costs, providing you with vital information on what to expect. It should be noted that hiring a professional expert who possesses adequate experience and means of technology will significantly reduce your total cost despite having a higher hourly rate.